Sunday, June 05, 2005

Fringe 2005 - Bring Your Own Venue

Live Action Set hits The Soap Factory

One of the things that bummed me out about the Fringe lottery this year was seeing groups that I really liked, whose work I wanted to see, end up far down on the waiting list with little or no chance of getting a slot on the regular slot. All's fair, of course, everyone had an equal shot, but still, sigh.

One of the great things is about the Fringe, however, is that it only seems to have the boundaries that all the performing artists in the Twin Cities allow it to have. Didn't end up with a slot on the schedule in one of the standard spaces? Find a space of your own, apply with the Fringe to be a "Bring Your Own Venue" act, and join the party. The Fringe grows and the Fringe audience still gets a chance to see you in action.

One such group I'm very happy to see getting their own venue to share their own unique style with another year of Fringe audiences is Live Action Set.

In 2003 they didn't have their handy new name yet, but the main players were all in place - Noah Bremer, Megan Odell, Galen Treuer, and Vaness Voskuil - and presented one of my favorites of the Festival that year (5 stars) - Exposure ("It was stunning to see, or I guess be reminded again, of just what the human body is capable of doing").

In 2004, I wasn't aware of the Live Action Set name and nearly missed them - but I luckily caught the final performance of Before Dark ("Fourth wall, why have you forsaken me?").

Now I'm on the lookout, and noticed in making my way around the internet the other day that they're at it again for Fringe 2005, strutting their stuff over at The Soap Factory.

If you haven't seen the Live Action Set in...well, action...I highly recommend them. They have a whimsical way of combining dance, clowning and other forms of physical and musical storytelling that's quite delightful to watch. It doesn't always make literal sense, in an everyday fashion, but it always has its own sort of emotional sense with which one can connect. The variety of bodies in motion in their ensemble, doing things both amusing and often amazing, is another of their unique strengths.

Here's what they're up to for this year's Fringe (August 4th-14th)

"Please Don't Blow up Mr. Boban" - A site-specific collaboration with British clowning director, Jon Ferguson, to premiere at The Soap Factory (2nd Street SE in Minneapolis). Created with support from the MN State Arts Board.

To get more information on Live Action Set and get on their mailing list, there are a couple of places you can go.

They have a page at which has current listings on upcoming shows - here's a link - Live Action Set at Minnesota Artists Online - or you can search them up in the Dance companies section of that site.

And they have their own website, still currently under construction but amusing and functional. One of the most fun bits is a constantly cycling series of words and phrases that have to do with their work that go flying by on the lower half of the home page. when you hold your pointer over the words, they freeze on a particular word or phrase you catch at that moment, and it's almost always completely different. Kind of a fun way to noodle around online. Go play for yourself at

Between now and the Fringe, Live Action Set has another project planned (and I just missed yet another in Red Eye's Works In Progress series). Still upcoming...

July 17th - Bastille Day cellebration at Cafe Barbette (in Uptown, 1600 West Lake Street in Minneapolis)

Live Action Set will present a show in the style of Bouffon, a French form of grotesque clowning. Society's misshapen castoffs seek out the jolly-making crowd, and the chaotic romp culminates in a ludicrous re-enactment of the storming of the Bastille. Viva la (twisted) France!

To see my past reviews of Live Action Set in their entirety, click on the links below:

For Exposure

For Before Dark

And see them in this year's Fringe. They're great.

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

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