Sunday, August 01, 2004

While You're At It...
...Or Shows In A Similar Vein

Intoxicated by the power and rhythm of dance in...
On The Beaded Fringe 2: Traveling In Hip Circles?

The Queen of Block E
Heidi House
Red Eye

I owe Heidi Arneson a phone call.

And I'm kind of bummed it never took place because, had I had my act together, I'm sure it would have been a delightful phone call. Even Heidi's emails are full of enthusiasm about the possibility of theatre to address important topics in our lives at the same time it entertains.

And her Fringe show is sure to be no different. The Queen of Block E had an initial workshop run at Red Eye back in March and Pulse was all over it (and has been liberally quoted on the show page here on the Fringe site, so I won't repeat it here - effusive praise is an apt descriptor).

No nudity warning, so I'm assuming this means Heidi will be wearing more than in the last show of hers I saw, in which she wore a long brunette wig, manacles, glitter, and...well, that was about it. And though that show unsettled me a bit, when I was reading scripts a few years later for my service on the Minnesota State Arts Board's theatre grant panel, and I read two of Heidi's scripts, I fell in love with her writing style. She has sort of a cockeyed poet's way with language, and in addition to all her strongly held political beliefs and clear view of things that need fixing in society, she is, at heart, as most passionate thinkers are, a romantic. Her work connected with me in a way I never thought it would. And I am grateful for the laughs and hope as well as the food for thought.

She was originally planning to do a new solo show, called "Ten Bedroom Heart" (a title which I love). But when The Queen of Block E got such an enthusiastic response from audiences, she had second thoughts. Though it's a much greater degree of difficulty to mount for the Fringe (a dozen performers as opposed to the solo outings she is best known for), it's also a very timely piece about government interfering with and invading our private lives, and how private citizens can reclaim their liberties. Fringe in an election year seemed to be an ideal opportunity to bring the show to a wider audience at a time it most needed to be heard.

Topping it all off is her signature whimsy - "The homeless are flying over Nicollet Mall, and crashing the Presidential Ball, dressed in finery they found in the trash can" - that is as amusing as it is politically charged.

It has all the earmarks of an E-ticket ride (you'll pardon the pun). So I'll be standing in line to hop on board.

While You're At It - other shows that, if you like any of the other top ten/sure thing shows I mentioned, should also be of interest to you:

The Valets (for the Plants and Animals crowd)
Punk Rock Awesome (for the In Defense of Sin crowd)
Delaware, And Other Lies (for the Kevin Kling crowd)
Osama Kincaid, Painter of Terror (for the Death Penalty Puppetry crowd)
Pipes (for the Origin of Consciousness crowd)
Lokasenna (for the Metamorphoses crowd)
EAT! A Generous Buffet of Karen Carpenter's Songbook (for the Philosophy/Ben Folds crowd)
Tequila (for the Philosophy/Ben Folds crowd)
VISION'S TALE: Curse of the Machine / Cycles of Social Haunting / Birth of Vision (for the Judas Cradle crowd)

(For more of my writing - plays, past blog entries and more - visit

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