Monday, August 16, 2004

Fringe Day 8, Part 3 - August 13, 2004, 4:00pm

Maximum Verbosity
MCTC Whitney Stduio

This show is very much a work in progress. But they warn you about that right up front. They're using the Fringe as an elaborate workshop opportunity, putting their fledgeling show up in the midst of a community where the largest number of people out looking for new and unusual work might just trip over it and stop to take a look.

It's a gutsy strategy and I applaud them for it. They're not from the Twin Cities either. They came in from Rochester to run this thing up the flagpole and see who salutes it.

The performance is basically just a series of unconnected scenes, run in relatively linear fashion, but with nothing tying one to the other. There are songs, there are sketches, there are dances and chases. There are quick changes and wooing. There are also musicians on keyboard and flute who occasionally get drawn into the action in additional to providing the musical accompaniment and rimshots to indicate the end of a sequence and beginning of the next.

Some things work, some things don't, some fall in between and just need a little polishing. The scenes are too numerous to pick off one by one but they all concern Loki, Norse god of mischief, and those closest to him - friends, family, and enemies alike. Loki is a walking/talking vaudeville act. He's always "on." Some of his supporting players are better at keeping up than others. Since Loki is one the characters that pops up most often in Norse mythology, and cuts across all manner of legends, no doubt it will be a daunting task for this troupe to figure out which things to keep and focus on, and which to toss. It's an embarrassment of riches, some of it easier to dramatize on stage than others.

After this Fringe marathon, I think they have an idea where to focus their energies, where their most promising material lies. The audiences have told them through their responses while in the seats, and also with their reviews online.

I can't think of a better incubator for new work than the Fringe. And I'll be curious to see where this piece goes next.

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