Friday, July 31, 2009

Fringe 2009 - OOTS - Like A Virgin

"Porn is one of the few things you can actually unfurl."

Jimmy Hogg

Like A Virgin

The cheeky Englishman returns with his comedy about the trials of youth, love and loss (of virginity). Physical, fast-paced, hilarious storytelling with at least one dance routine and tangents within tangents.

Another returning favorite, relentless yet damn friendly self-promoter and comedic storyteller Jimmy Hogg is back again. And since he's regaled us with stories of his day jobs and life of crime (which landed him on my 2007 Top 20 list), it's only natural that his sex life should be next.

His preview snippet recounted the incident where he accidentally stumbled upon a stash of porn in the family garage as a young boy and immediately nipped off the woods to spend a little quality time alone with it.

If you saw it, or are familiar with Jimmy's work, you know it was damn funny. If not, well, it's high time you discovered what all the chuckling is about. And he's not just going it alone this Fringe. In addition to his solo show...

Solo show page

He's also teaming up with some local comedians of note...

His other show page - for "Hogg and the Humors" - sketch comedy blending Mr. Hogg, and his friends at Four Humors Theatre (aka, Artists Without Borders)

Go to one, better yet go to both, and you can kick back and have a lot of laughs on your Fringe journey this week.

Fringe 2009 - OOTS - casebolt and smith - Speaking Out

"They're in the front."

Casebolt & Smith

Casebolt & Smith - Speaking Out

Table dancing, ball and boob grabbing, potty mouthed dynamic duo casebolt and smith deliver complicated, unexpected, quirky and humorous dance theater. "The Nichols and May of Dance." (LA Times)

These two are extremely funny. Another one I'm going to have to try and get on my schedule somehow. They danced silently for a few moments, and then stepped back to start deconstructing how the routine could be improved. Starting with the boob grab. Placement, angle of attack, etc. Each succeeding move, also with sexual overtones was picked apart clinically, with conversation continuing through a suspended crotch grab, one person squatting above another's face, and so on. Neither of them phased at all. One, two, three, it's just blocking notes. The more awkward and ridiculous the positioning, the funnier their calm detachment became. Another smart, graceful, goofy set of dancers. Judging from the video clips below, there's more where that came from. Sample them, and then get out and see them. The beauty of dance, and the welcome release of comedy, all in one show. Can't ask for better than that.

(In the "It's A Small World After All" category, Liz Casebolt dropped me a note and it turns out that her husband is Troy Conrad, who brought us The Comedy Jesus Show a couple of Fringes back. That's a whole lot of oddball comedy in one marriage.)

Their website -

Their show page

Their video trailer

And just 'cause they're funny, how about some more...

After Words (the full routine from which the preview came - hee hee)

In Other Words

Having Words

Fringe 2009 - OOTS - Concord, Virginia - A Southern Town In Stories

Peter Neofotis

Concord, Virginia - A Southern Town in Stories

from New York, NY

Neofotis performs his prize-winning stories, published by St. Martin's Press. With tales of interracial lovers, moonshining old ladies and gay trials-it's kinda like Garrison Keillor, except Southern.

I tagged this performer earlier in a post on that other Fotis we know so well. So I was looking forward to hearing what he had in store for us. His website and coverage of his previous outings there indicate it could be pretty captivating.

Unfortunately, this was kind of an aborted preview. He got up on stage, told us he wanted to share two short previews with us from the stories he'll be telling. The background noise at that point in the evening at Bedlam (near the end of the showcase) was becoming its usual Bedlam brand of boisterous, but not too overwhelming. In that big space, though, it was a little hard to hear Mr. Neofotis.

So Robin, our host for the evening, suggested using her microphone. This seemed to throw the guy just a little. But he seemed to recover, and though using a mic in his act doesn't seem to be standard for him, he seemed to be adapting pretty well. We were plunked down in the middle of a Southern courtroom drama in progress. It was interesting stuff.

But then he just kind of stopped. Said that was all he wanted to do this evening, and quickly exited the stage.

I felt kind of bad for him. I guess the mic was restricting what he'd planned to do more than I realized. That's a shame.

Thankfully, he's at the Gremlin stage, which is a more intimate black box space (and there's no bar right next to the stage area). So, no sound troubles there.

I'm still curious. Wish we got just a little more to go on, but given the background I can glean from his website, he's definitely worth a look. (He's got one more book published by a major press than I do, after all.)

His website -

His show page

Fringe 2009 - OOTS - Sure to Cure, Dr. Amelia's Medicine Show

"A stick, a skull, a hat, a jar, and a rope..."

Sigal Shoham

Sure to Cure, Dr. Amelia's Medicine Show

Pay Attention! This is crucial for your health, love and success. I am not a doctor, but I do claim to be one. Losing memory, hearing or underwear? Need money, love or weight-loss? Guaranteed Transformation!

Old-time snake-oil huckster meets new-age self help guru--all in one doctor! She offers salves for all of life's ailments--including her own. Her healer's pitch is punctuated by banjo tunes with sweet melodies and biting lyrics. Forcefully and ironically honest, charming Amelia has something for anyone who's ever wanted things to be different or better.

from Berkely, CA

Now this lady is a hardcore Fringer. She was almost the last show in the door this year (absolute last show in the door honors I believe go to Livelihood, but Sigal I think is indeed the last out-of-town artist in the door). Called up off the wait list out in California with just a couple of weeks to spare, she said yes, and proceeded to get her act ready to take on the road.

I really enjoyed her preview. Her banjo ditty, with lyrics composed of diseases both physical and spiritual, was kind of hilarious. The litany of ailments set to her bouncy melody was as much fun as things like syphilis or sexual dysfunction are likely to get - in song anyway.

Her sales pitch after the song blended together business plans and tantric yoga, and all sorts of other mismatched duets of healing methods and get-rich-quick schemes. Her character is most definitely a modern day snake oil salesperson, but a beguiling one.

Plus, there seems to be a personal backstory lurking around the edges. The stick, skull, hat, jar and rope she kept invoking each seem to have their own special significance to her life. I don't think there's another Mortem Capiendum-style plot brewing - she's up on that stage all alone, after all - but I get the feeling around the sales pitch that more will be revealed.

Between the comedy and the music, this looks like a most pleasant way to spend an hour of Fringing. Definitely consider an appointment with this doctor (just be careful of your wallet.)

(Side note, this is Banjo Show #2 - Fearsome Critter being Banjo Show #1 in this year's Fringey calvacade of banjos. Robin Gillette says there are four shows in the Fringe featuring banjos. If you can name all four, she'll buy you a beer. [No, I can't think what the other two are at the moment. But if you can help me out, I may need that beer later.] Personally, I think the banjo shows should band together out of solidarity and form their own Fringe posse. The banjo, after all, will not be denied.)

Her show page

Fringe 2009 - OOTS - Passage

"Rock & roll has got to go, and go it does. That's the best way I know to get rid of it."

Back & to the Left Productions


from Galesburg, IL

a. A movement from one place to another
b. The process of elapsing: the passage of time
c. The process of passing from one condition or stage to another;
(transition: the passage from childhood to adulthood)
d. A section of text; particularly a section of medium length

The multifaceted performing artists of Back & to the Left Productions bring you Pas'sage, a collection of six different movement-based performance pieces, each with its own essence and energy. Using text, movement, improvisation and audience participation, Pas'sage is provocative and challenging, moving from a visceral understanding of what it means to be human today.

Back & the the Left productions, founded in 2000 believes in fostering creative collaborations between artists with an eye towards reaching out to non-dancers and incorporating them into the performance experience. The work created by the company is generated through collaboration, with each performer playing a vital role in the development of core ideas. The goal of Artistic Director, Jennifer Smith, is to provide a supportive environment in which these ideas can be explored and later, defined. The outcome of this process is the creation of performance pieces based in personal exploration, that touch audience members on a deeper level.

First off, I just have to give a shout-out to anyone with the peculiar sense of humor to call themselves back and to the left (warning, that link is to the Oliver Stone film "JFK" so... it's a little gross - think Zapruder film, enhanced, and you can just skip on by). On to the preview...

Mom and I refer to this one as "the drunken bridesmaids" - mostly because many of the ladies dancing in this preview were in hideously colored dresses of a matching style. They stumbled in, and stumbled out at the end, from various directions. Their sound mix was an elaborate conglomeration of classic 1950s-era rock & roll music clips, plus sound bites from news and those much-maligned social behavior films of the same time period ("if you find yourself outside during a nuclear explosion...") The audience and the dancers didn't get any one piece of music to latch onto for very long - just recognizable blips in a tossed salad of sound. When the music became slow and distorted, the dance moves did the same. It was a really interesting way of approaching the notion of context. The visuals, the movement, could have meant any number of things. But because we had that aural commentary going on underneath it all, it guided the audience into certain areas of contemplation. I'd be interested to see how this mode of performance plays out over an hour long Fringe slot. If you're looking for dance, they're definitely worth considering. These folks know what they're up to.

Their show page

Fringe 2009 - OOTS - Winnemucca (three days in the belly)

"I don't mind intimacy either. There are worse things out there in the dark."

Shelby Company

Winnemucca (three days in the belly)

Jonah wakes up bruised, bloody and trapped in a seedy motel room on the outskirts of Winnemucca, Nevada. Big Chet's extreme motivational tactics and a powerful encounter with a dancer named Suede Lucy compel Jonah to complete a task he cannot fathom. This darkly funny re-imagining asks, "How do three days in the belly make a man a prophet?"

This was another kind of weird "non-preview preview," though a little more germane to the show to which it was related. One of the characters, Big Chet, drunk but friendly (to us), armed with an aluminum baseball bat, badgered (not so friendly) a "stranger" (actually fellow cast member Grayson) up onto the stage to entertain the crowd. Big Chet was of the opinion that the audience couldn't really get into the show until they learned a little bit about the performers first. So Grayson stumbled into a story of when a bug flew into his ear when he was a child, and how his sister lured it out with a flashlight. He couldn't actually finding meaning in it, or an end that was satisfactory to Big Chet. Grayson would keep thinking he was done. Big Chet and his baseball bat lurked nearby to assure him he wasn't. ("Don't stop the magic.") When the task was considered complete, Grayson asked, "Now what?"

"Now the show can begin," Big Chet replied

And we got our only blackout cue of the night.

Like I said, weird, but in keeping with the character dynamics of the show itself, as I know it from the script. I'm just wondering what other people who had no information about the show thought. It was intriguing enough to get someone's attention, certainly. But was it enough to get them in the seats? I hope so. The production's in my Top 10 list this year, so I'm really rooting for it to succeed and be seen by a lot of people. (And that's before I've even seen the actual production myself. Strong hunch.)

There is a bit a sampler of the actual show in their video trailer (at the end of the post), plus their travel mini-videos on the road to Minneapolis, which are pretty funny even if they have nothing to do with the story.

After the showcase, I finally got a chance to meet the whole crew and they seem like great people (Mom was particularly fond of Jenni's Yoda backpack). I told the playwright Dan that I really should hate him because he's so damn talented he's giving me a playwright inferiority complex. I'm hoping Fringe is good to them. I can't wait to see the production myself. Friday night (tonight).

Meantime, as we waited for our very first Fringe show to start yesterday, a friend in a Fringe show of his own asked, "I've been so in rehearsal/tech mode that I haven't really had a chance to get any of the buzz about what's good. What do you recommend?"

"Winnemucca (three days in the belly)," I said, without hesitation. "Amazing script. Probably one of the best in the festival this year."

So he headed off there for their opening performance that night. I was with them by proxy, at least, for their opening. I hope a lot of other people were, too.

Their website -

Their show page

Their video trailer

Travel video #1

Travel video #2

Travel video #3

Fringe 2009 - OOTS - The Morning After The Summer of Love

"I'm clumsy, but I've never dropped acid."

Scream Blue Murmur

The Morning After The Summer of Love

from Northern Ireland

Back to rock the Festival for a second time, the artists previously known as the Belfastpoets touring group, bring you a new show, a new name and a drummer! These international poets stunned audiences into all (and only) five star reviews at the fringe in 2007 with "Pack Up Yer Troubles". Now Scream Blue Murmur presents their new show tackling the legacy of 1968 with hard-hitting and humorous words, chants and beats. From civil rights, riots and revolution to sexual freedom and liberation, the group promises a show to rock you from your seat. Not quite poetry but not quite anything else!

Here's another entry on this year's Top 20 List that didn't disappoint in preview.

In fact, the whole audience liked them and wished to applaud them so much that we jumped the gun before they were finished a couple of times. ("We love you. Oh, you're not done. Keep going!")

There was just a whole bongo, flower child, hippie vibe going on. Song, and poetry, clever toying with words and audience expectation.

A green acoustic guitar.

Irish accents.

I don't know these people but they feel like people I want to turn into old friends as soon as possible.

Lovely, funny, good good stuff.

Can't wait to spend a whole hour listening to them.

Their website - - complete with poetry/song snippets - give a listen

Their show page

Fringe 2009 - OOTS - The Gayer Show

"For all you bitches out there doing the math, I'm 43 years old."

The Adventures of Les Kurkendaal and Dan Bernitt

The Gayer Show

from Los Angeles, CA & New York, NY

Coming out is never easy. Come join Les and Dan in the journey that all gay men have to take: the path to acceptance of being gay. You will laugh, you will cry and, in the end, you will love this show.

It's Les and Dan. It's Dan and Les. I'm going. So is Mom. We love these guys.

Two different generations of gay men, culling their respective pasts for humorous anecdotes around the subject of coming out. Sure, you've probably seen it before. But not by these guys. Which is why we're going, Mom and I.

Dan and Les both landed on my radar in 2006. Dan was part of my Top 10 that year for his solo show, Thanks for the Scabies, Jerkface!. Though Les was a regular visiting Fringer in the past, I finally got a chance to see his work, with his solo show that year, Christmas In Bakersfield.

That landed Les on my Top 10 list for 2007, when I took Mom to the remount of Christmas In Bakersfield. Dan took that year off from Minnesota.

Last year, they both were back for Fringe 2008, Les with the charming solo show The Attack of the Big Angry Booty, Dan with a non-autobiographical turn this time, with the powerful solo outing, Phi Alpha Gamma (which he's brought back again this year).

These guys are great storytellers on their own. In tandem, it should be a hell of a lot of fun. A great way to spend a relaxing hour of Fringing. Can't wait.

Their websites - and

Their show page

And don't forget Dan's solo show, the return of the really great

Phi Alpha Gamma (I saw it twice last year, but I'm tempted to go back again, just to see how it's grown. It's that good.)

Fringe 2009 - OOTS - The Vegas Project (#1)

"I don't gamble."
"Because... I know... I won't win money?"

Maythinee Washington

The Vegas Project (#1)

Sin City native, Maythinee Washington, thinks Las Vegas is the most American city in the U.S. Her new show contrasts the bizarre and the surprisingly conventional to examine this unique metropolis.

She. was. fantastic.

This is an example of how the showcases really can work in a performer's favor.

Because I came into this rooting for her in the general, vague "out-of-towner" sense, but not really thinking I'd go to her show. From the little bit of info available, it didn't strike me.

But she nailed this preview. Big time.

She was basically just up on that stage, fielding questions from the audience about her subject - Las Vegas - where she was born, where she still lives and works.

The worst solo shows ignore the sage wisdom, "Just because it happened to you, doesn't mean it's interesting."

The best solo shows know how to cull from a person's specific experiences and create something specific, yet universal.

I get the sense this is one of the good solo shows out there this year.

The first couple of questions, I thought, "She must have set some of these up ahead of time with friendly audience members."

But the longer the question and answer style preview went on, the more convinced I became that she really was just winging it, depending on the questions she got. Some questions were dumb, some were clever, some were great. Her answers to all of them were, as I noted above, fantastic.

What's the best night of the year to be in Las Vegas? Do you recommend hookers in Vegas proper or the outlying areas? What happens to all the stuff that stays in Vegas? What's the best way to get a room comped? What's the weirdest thing you've ever seen in Vegas? Do you gamble? (answer above)

She has a very winning personality, a great sense of comic timing, and she thinks on her feet in a way that would completely elude me.

I still don't know much about the show. I'm assuming it's scripted but who knows? After seeing Maythinee Washington, I honestly don't think it matters.

This young woman knows how to put on a show, no matter what way she chooses to do it.

I now have her on my short list of shows I really want to find a way to see this year. From nowhere to on my radar in less than five minutes.

*That's* a great preview.

Her website -

Her show page

Fringe 2009 - OOTS - Was My Brother In The Battle? Songs of War

"And the band played 'Waltzing Matilda'..."

Stephen Swanson & David Gompper

Was my brother in the battle? - Songs of War

from Iowa City, IA

A concert of songs about the individuals involved in America's historic military conflicts, their friends, and their families - harsh, ironic, funny, patriotic, poignant, disturbing - images of America at war.

This was a classic example of why these guys are on my Top 20 List for this Fringe. After seeing this, maybe I should have ranked them up in the Top 10 instead.

This was a beautiful moment of theater. One guy on keyboard. One guy singing, amazing voice.

It was the only time all night, that the entire rowdy Bedlam Theater building got completely quiet. As the song progressed, a calm settled over the place. Everyone was rapt in their attention. It was gorgeous. We were all right in the palm of their hand.


This was just one song. Can you imagine what the full show's gonna be like?

Do not miss this one.

The kind of spell they cast over that boisterous ramshackle scrappy little theater palace - that doesn't happen too often.

I get chills just thinking about it.

Their websites - and

Their show page

Fringe 2009 - OOTS - Auntie Dorris' You May Not Wanna Know but I'm Gonna Tell You Anyway A-thon

"We have a habit of seamlessly transitioning from witty banter to great musical numbers."

Zoe Schwartz

Auntie Dorris' You May Not Wanna Know but I'm Gonna Tell You Anyway A-thon

from Chicago, IL

Dorris is turning 80 and sharing her birthday with you through a night of nostalgia, whiskey and song. Part vaudeville, part your drunk aunt at Shabbat dinner, Dorris is sure to charm anyone with a heart.

Apparently, according to the above, I don't have a heart.

Well, you gotta hand it to her. She certainly wasn't shy.

I knew from the title and show description this wasn't my thing, and the preview didn't prove me wrong, so I'm not gonna belabor it.

There is an audience for this show. It's essentially character-based sketch comedy. Drunk, horny old Auntie Dorris (another former cheerleader, like the nuns in the first half of the out of towner showcase) and her Russian keyboardist friend alternate between their own personal version of a vaudeville comedy act, and old song standards with their own particular spin on them. At one point Doris bounded into the crowd and demanded random words from bewildered audience members to incorporate into a bizarre extra chorus of "Let's Call The Whole Thing Off."

Not for me, but perhaps for you. Check out the following...

Her website -

Her show page

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Fringe 2009 - OOTS - Bedroom Stories

"And brick by brick, the fruits of their labor were dismantled at their feet."


Bedroom Stories

from London, UK

From the intimacy of the bedroom emerge these three darkly humorous stories, innovatively told in a physical and vividly imaginative way that interweaves music, movement and text.

Bedroom Stories is a trilogy of three pieces set within a bedroom, where movement is given equal billing to text and a contemporary soundtrack as part of these strange and beautiful stories. The pieces are a mixture of dramatic storytelling with dream sequences and thoughts made visible, embodied through stylised movement that draws its inspiration from modern dance, mime and clowning. Bedroom Stories is a piece of 'theatre that dances'.

This was an odd, kind of ballsy choice for a preview opportunity. The performer chose to do nothing from the show. Instead, clad in black, and a tiny top hat strapped to his head, he regaled us with a tune on his accordion. A father and son build a magnificent sand castle together, and then watch the tide take it away. He asked the ever-gracious tech for a little soft mood lighting, and away he went.

His show, from the look of the video preview below, is based as much on movement as it is music or the sheer force of his personality. The preview was designed to... maybe charm us into seeing his show? He was certainly charming. I would have enjoyed seeing a little more of what he had in his bag of tricks for the performance, but maybe the thing is hard to excerpt.

I lean toward the out-of-towners a lot anyway, particularly the way-out-of-towners, out-of-the-country even, just because they've come such a long way to share their art with us. Of all the friggin' places they could have come, they came to Minnesota. Seriously, think about that for a second. It isn't Charley from down the block. They had to coordinate a hell of a lot of logistics to get here, and then when they arrive, they have the uphill battle of not being familiar to local audiences. So crowds and word of mouth are much harder to come by. I've got a soft spot for these folks, I really do.

The kind of work he does, from what I can learn from his website and the video, linked below, is the kind of thing I like. So I'll be looking to see if I can work him into my viewing schedule. Check out some of the online content, and see if you agree.

Their video -

Their show page

Their video trailer

Fringe 2009 - OOTS - Storm Still

"The prosecution doth protest too much."

The Nonsense Company

Storm Still

Outside an abandoned school a war rages.

Inside, three kids have been performing an unsupervised rendition of King Lear for years.

Further inside, the mad King debates the purpose of theater with his Fool, a licensed therapist.

Another returning favorite and thank God they're back. These guys are amazing - and more than a little intimidating to me, personally, as a playwright. Nicest guys in the world. It's not a personality thing. But they are so smart, talented, informed, politically savvy and artistically versatile that... well, for instance, their first Minnesota Fringe outing in 2006 - Great Hymn of Thanksgiving/Conversation Storm - was so good it made me feel like a hack for a good 24 hours. Took me a while to bounce back from that one. It was mind-bogglingly good. Their follow-up in 2007, due to a technical disaster, ended up being The Prince Myshkins - comic and dramatic songs of politics colliding with humanity that were hilarious and gave your brain and heart a workout at the same time.

And now they're tackling King Lear.

If anyone can wrestle the old dog to the ground, it's these guys. A pantsless singing lunatic, a jester turned lawyer, and a mad king. Shakespeare makes a cameo appearance in the form of a nutcracker. (No, really.) As always, funny, smart, enormously entertaining. They're a must see. As they always are. (They're probably the only out of towners we should ban for making us locals look bad. But then, if we did, we'd miss such great theater. Aw, let them in, and keep challenging us to up our game, I say.)

Fair warning - this is one of the only exceptions to the Fringe's 60 minutes or less rule this season. It's one of the reasons they're performing in the last slot on the schedule at their bring-your-own-venue each night (well, that, and it's spookier at 10pm. For Lear, you need the spooky). 95 minutes. No intermission.

You have to see this. Trust me.

Their website -

Their show page

Fringe 2009 - OOTS - Like You Mean It

"We normally have a DJ with us, but he's in Berlin."

Like You Mean It Trio

Like You Mean It

from Ohio, Massachusetts, Hawaii

Like you mean it will keep you on your toes. We dance we talk. We have a cool DJ. Sometimes we stand on our toes. Sometimes we make jokes. It's different every night. You'll probably want to come back twice. You get to mess with us. --you'll make an installation for us. We'll navigate it. You won't have to do anything embarrassing. We might embarrass ourselves. Apparently we're like an acid trip--a guy in the audience said that once. We make sense. We make no sense. We mean it.

This was fascinating. It's improv. But instead of comedy, it's dance. The three performers have a shared vocabulary of moves to mix and match. They also work with a live DJ/sound mixer who takes sound effects (the horns of a charging cavalry, the busy signal of a phone) and layers them together with music (here with a latin flavor). The resulting pastiche of sound triggers movement, as do the interactions of the movements, and the personas of the dancers moving. They all feed off each other, in ways very similar to improv comedians building off a shared riff. Plus, they had to deal with a stage of multiple layers they'd never seen prior to the day of the preview. Intriguing concept, both funny and lovely in the execution. I'd really like to see more of this. And I'd love to be a fly on the wall if some improv comedians got together with these dancers and talked shop. That'd be kind of mind-blowing. And fun. This one's also highly recommended, particularly if you're looking for some dance in your schedule mix.

Their website -

Their show page

Their video trailer

and another video sample

and another

and another

Fringe 2009 - OOTS - Cherry Cherry Lemon

"Uh uh. All kinds of no."

Keira McDonald

Cherry Cherry Lemon

from Seattle, WA

A twist of fate brings together an awkward woman and a party girl. Their friendship develops through erotic stories about love, sex and how one doesn't always mean the other. Accompanied by live solo guitar.

This was great. Funny and sexy and naughty and just a little bit sad. Wonderful comedic performances. The preview makes you long to see the scenes these two characters share together. Alone, they're enormously entertaining. Together, the chemistry is sure to be combustible in the best way. Megan Hill recounted how her mousy administrative assistant character set herself free in the supply closet at work, while Keira McDonald demonstrated how easily someone can undo the good work of foreplay with a more aggressive agenda. All this, plus a hilarious soundtrack of live guitar reinforcing the solid script and performances - not at all intrusive, almost more like a third member of the ensemble. Well done all the way around.

This should count as a returning favorite from Top 10 lists of the past (2003, to be exact, my very first), because the playwright Keri Healey, is the woman who directed
Gilgamesh, Iowa - one of my all-time favorite Fringe plays, and one I couldn't seem to stay away from. Invoking the spirit of that play has a powerful pull for me.

In addition, Megan Hill, one of the two actors in this show, was in the 2004 Fringe follow-up by Gilgamesh's playwright Scot Augustson, Plants and Animals - yet another comedic two-hander of which I went back for seconds.

This play was a big hit with the Seattle theater critics in its first run and it's easy to see why. The pedigree plus the preview really pushes this one toward the top of the list of things I need to find a way to wedge into my schedule. Good stuff. Well worth putting on a schedule of your own.

Their show page

Fringe 2009 - OOTS - Habitat - A Documentary Theater Project

"So, what comes to your mind when you think of home?"

Rachel Anne Johnson

Habitat - A Documentary Theater Project

from Duluth, MN

Stories composed by those living in the shelters and on the streets and shores of Duluth, examining the meaning of home. Desires and hopes are revealed when one answers the question, "Where do you live?"

When Rachel Anne Johnson moved to Duluth she immediately noticed the prevalence of poverty and homelessness. only 19 years-old, Rachel decided to document the stories of those living in the shelters, on the streets, along the shore - even in a bar - in Duluth. Through in-depth interviews that illustrated where people live, how people live and why people live she revealed their hopes and desires.

This was kind of an odd preview because it started with someone telling us what the show was about, and then she and three other actors performed the first scene from the script which - well, told us what the show was about. I almost wish they'd dumped the introduction to the introduction and allowed themselves a little more time to give us a bit more of the script. But what we got was pretty straightforward. As it says above, and even in the title, it's documentary theater - culled from the transcripts of interviews with homeless people about the nature of homelessness and home. Big cast, about a dozen in all, worthy subject, good intentions. Nothing fundamentally wrong in the execution. Didn't thrill me, but my interests tend to lie elsewhere so that's probably a big part of it. There's an audience for this play. I hope they find their way to it.

Their website -

Their show page

Fringe 2009 - OOTS - AfterLife

"I just don't think I can fit in this life anymore."

SunsetGun Productions


from Brooklyn, NY

AfterLife is a dramatic, yet darkly funny take on the evolution of women in modern society told through a 'karmic lens'. Drop in on a significant day in the life of three different women in three very different eras of time. Ruth, a 1928 Appalachian midwife, would kill for a family. Marion, a 1950's homemaker, needs to discover her true yogic nature. And Karma, a slowly unraveling film producer, would settle for a bit of sanity. What do these three seemingly disconnected women have in common? Nothing...and everything. Do you know where your karma's been?

This one was a big hit on the Canadian Fringe circuit and I can see why. The actress is very effective. The character she chose to share with us was the perfect housewife of all the publicity images - bright pink apron, pearls, not a hair out of place, the works. Her vague sense of unease fought with the cheerful exterior of her life. Just got to see through the cracks beginning to form. Nice work. I'm not sure the show itself cries out to me personally as something I have to see, but there's plenty to like here. If you want to see a Fringe show examining the multiple sides of three very different women, well-written, well-acted, this might be your ticket.

Their website -

Their show page

Their video trailer

Fringe 2009 - OOTS - Holding Patterns

His sign - "I'm a great lover"
Her sign - "I'm sexually frustrated."
His sign - "I'm a liar. I'm OK."

Monica Rodero & Daniel Schuchart

Holding Patterns

from Milwaukee, WI

The charmingly clever Milwaukee-based powerhouse, Monica Rodero and Dan Schuchart, are coming back to the Minnesota Fringe Festival for the third year in a row with new work. After five years of collaborative creation, this innovative and unpredictable pair is at it again and pleased to bring their lively dance show to the Southern Theater.

Holding Patterns waltzes through stories interrupted by puzzles, predicaments and physical drives. Wit and humor prevail in this dance show featuring an original music score by Seth Warren-Crow, music by NY-based Love Like Deloreans, guest choreography by Debra Loewen of Wild Space Dance Company and dancer Kim Lesik, former Milwaukeean turned Twin City transplant. Mike Mathieu of The Cody Rivers Show lent text for a solo entitled, "Prelude to the Maestro," which the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel aptly judged "insane and hilarious."

I really enjoyed their dance show Gone, Gone, Gone in last year's Fringe. Judging by the preview, they've got the same quirky sensibility going on. And it's not strictly dance. They began, in matching red T-shirts, with a series of dialogue cards. One particularly amusing sequence were the quotes on their cards noted at the top of the post. Then they took turns setting each other's bodies in motion to the music that was going through a set of false starts. She'd bounce him up and down by the shoulders. He'd set her hips gyrating. Eventually, because they're both so damn graceful as well as goofy, they got going in fluid motions based on the initial bits and pieces. It was a lot of fun to watch. I hope I can squeeze their show onto my schedule again this year because I really like the comic sensibility running underneath their beautiful series of movements. This one's definitely high on the recommendation list.

Plus, collaborating with Cody Rivers, bonus points!

Their show page

Their video trailer is whimsical (just as expected)...

Fringe 2009 - OOTS - Stroke Is No Joke

"Where was my lost time? I didn't have time to go back to find it."

Mary Helena

Stroke Is No Joke

from Racine, WI

An entertaining,informative,inspiring journey into the world of one woman's stroke and the reactions of others to it. A dramatic testament to the resiliency of the human spirit. Engaging, Comedic, Touching. Real!

This was one of those previews where I was afraid the artist was so much on a roll in her own performing world that she was just gonna keep going until someone physically stepped up to cut her off. She burned through a lot of time at the start pretending to put on makeup, and then there was a sequence where she was setting up the convention of the audience serving as her mirror. Then she actually got to the beginning of her story - the day of her stroke, the trip to the hospital, the struggles with insurance. This may be a case where the person is still too close to the subject matter to be able to edit it into the streamlined, effective story they want it to be. If the content interests you, it might be a show to check out. Probably not going to make the cut for my schedule, I'm afraid.

Her show page

Fringe 2009 - OOTS - The Tenth Muse

"She decided if the students wouldn't be cheerleaders, the nuns would have to do it."

Elisa Korenne

The Tenth Muse

Did you know that the first female presidential candidate was a former fake psychic who bedded Cornelius Vanderbilt? How about that Dr. Bronner (the verbose natural soap king) began his career in an insane asylum? Did you ever meet the Root Beer Lady, a wilderness woman who served rootbeer to tourists from her cabin in the Boundary Waters? Featuring biographical songs penned by nationally-acclaimed songwriter Elisa Korenne, the Tenth Muse explores the question: "How fringe can a person get?"

This was very pleasant. We didn't really get a song with a melody per se from the artist. This was her number about the cheerleading nun, which was a rap along to her tiny keyboard's beatbox function. There are clips from some of her other songs on her Fringe show page and her website (links below). It was an amusing story about a squad of cheerleading nuns (no, really). She got the audience to cheer along at the end. I tend to like the whole singer-songwriter vibe, so I'll give this one a second look.

Her website -

Her show page

Fringe 2009 - OOTS - Tech Support The Musical

"If you're calling in a favor, press 4 now. If you suspect foul play, dial M for Murder."

Boll & Hertel Productions

Tech Support - The Musical

from Eau Claire, WI

A deceptive company, clueless customer service representatives, and one angry caller make for a roaring good time in this original musical comedy written by UW-Eau Claire alumni Adam Boll and Josh Hertel.

When Carl Rogers' high-tech refrigerator malfunctions, he calls the manufacturer for help and is plunged into a world of frustration as he is transferred from one phone operator to another. He endures endless hold music and butchered variations of the English language - not to mention the pointed sarcasm of his unsympathetic wife - until the inevitable explosion occurs.

Tech Support: The Musical will strike a chord with anyone who has ever called for help and wished they hadn't. It's fast, it's funny, and it's much shorter than your average tech support call!

This was a decent way to kick off the Out of Towner Showcase (OOTS), but honestly, I'm not the audience for this one. You can check the video trailer below and their website and know pretty quickly if it's for you. I answer the phone in both my day jobs, so I have less than no desire to sit in the theater watching someone else's frustrating phone calls, or misadventures in customer service. Ninety percent of the reason I don't answer the phone at home is that if I just pick up when it rings, I'm going to answer it as if I was at work, and that just confuses the hell out of me and everyone else. Both performers in this were fine, the script was clever. Just not for me.

Their website -

Their show page

Their video trailer

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Fringe 2009 - A free ticket - who wants to join us?

Mom's an UltraPass holder (of course), and this year, UltraPassers get to bring along one guest for free to any show on the first two days of the festival - Thursday and Friday, 7/30 and 7/31.

We already have an extra button, so you don't even need to buy one of your own. (Although, they are mighty handy.)

So one free ticket is currently available for the show listed below (all in this year's top 10, top 20 or a returning favorite from years past on this blog).

Comment on this post or send me a message - - if you're interested.

We hate to let free theater tickets go to waste.

Thu., Jul. 30
5:30 p.m. That Chair Was My Wife @ Minneapolis Theatre Garage

7:00 p.m. Fearsome Critter @ Bryant-Lake Bowl

8:30 p.m. Parry Hotter and the Half-Drunk Twins @ Augsburg Studio

10:00 p.m. Jurassic Dork @ Gremlin Theatre

Fri., Jul. 31
5:30 p.m. Needs, Wants, Desires! @ Augsburg Mainstage

7:00 p.m. Love Me Or Die! @ U of M Rarig Center Xperimental

8:30 p.m. Winnemucca (three days in the belly) @ Minneapolis Theatre Garage

10:00 p.m. Food Shelf Follies @ Playwrights' Center

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Fringe 2009 - Top 10

If you put a gun to my head and I could only see 10 Fringe shows, what would they be and why?

(In the Twin Cities Daily Planet versions, some of them are clumped together more than one in the same post, so you may have to scroll around to find them. Once I get them crossposted to the archive on my website, there will be individual posts as well for each show)

#1 - Love Me or Die! - Savage Umbrella
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

#2 - Rumspringa The Musical - Best Weird Dog
Twin Cities Daily Planet version - single post
Twin Cities Daily Planet version - group post

#3 - June of Arc - Sandbox Theatre
Twin Cities Daily Planet version

#4 - Food Shelf Follies - Lane McKiernan
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

#5 - Harold Pinter's The Dumbwaiter/The Underachiever's Manifesto - Paul von Stoetzel
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

#6 - Thin Mint - The Bakery Theatre Company
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

#7 - Visions of Johanna - Pont Media
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

#8 - Winnemucca (three days in the belly) - Shelby Company
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

#9 - Bard Fiction - Tedious Brief
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

#10 - Applesauce Fiction - Jeffrey Shockley
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

Fringe 2009 - Top 20

If you removed that gun from my head and I could see 10 more Fringe shows, what would they be and why?

(In the Twin Cities Daily Planet versions, some of them are clumped together more than one in the same post, so you may have to scroll around to find them. Once I get them crossposted to the archive on my website, there will be individual posts as well for each show)

#11 - Jurassic Dork - John Skelley
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

#12 - Alice Unwrapped - Nautilus Music-Theater
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

#13 - Fearsome Critter - Mother/Destroyer
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

#14 - Something Witchy - Partizan Theater
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

#15 - Death Camp Diaries - Howard Lieberman/Jaded Optimist Productions
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

#16 - The Morning After The Summer of Love - Scream Blue Murmur
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

#17 - That Chair Was My Wife - Deaf Blender Theatre
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

#18 - Was My Brother In The Battle? - Stephen Swanson & David Gompper
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

#19 - Livelihood - Urban Samurai Productions
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

#20 - Agamemnon - Shadow & Substance Theatre
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

Fringe 2009 - Returning Favorites

Clearing the decks for a new Top 10 and Top 20 for 2009, here's a rundown of all the returning favorites from Top 10 and Top 20 lists of years past - 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004 and 2003 (phew) [there's a bunch, this list will continue to grow, check back]...

(Some of the Twin Cities Daily Planet versions of these posts are multiple posts grouped together, so you may have to scroll around. Once I get them all crossposted to the archive on my website, there will be individual posts available as well.)

7/26/09 - Returning Favorites - The Mechanical Division (aka LICK!) [2006]
Twin Cities Daily Planet version - single post
Twin Cities Daily Planet version - group post

7/26/09 - Returning Favorites - Kari Jensen [2008]
Twin Cities Daily Planet version - single post
Twin Cities Daily Planet version - group post

7/26/09 - Returning Favorites - Tim Uren [2004]
Twin Cities Daily Planet version - single post
Twin Cities Daily Planet version - group post

7/26/09 - Returning Favorites - Nancy Donoval [2007]
Twin Cities Daily Planet version - single post
Twin Cities Daily Planet version - group post

7/26/09 - Returning Favorites - Walking Shadow Theater Company [2005]
Twin Cities Daily Planet version - single post
Twin Cities Daily Planet version - group post

7/26/09 - Returning Favorites - Ben San Del [2006]
Twin Cities Daily Planet version - single post
Twin Cities Daily Planet version - group post

7/22/09 - Returning Favorites - Ferrari McSpeedy [2007]
Twin Cities Daily Planet version

7/20/09 - Returning Favorites - Mike Fotis [2007]
Twin Cities Daily Planet version

7/13/09 - Returning Favorites - Laura Bidgood and Curt Lund [2007]
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

7/10/09 - Returning Favorites - Allison Broeren - Mumble Mumble Ink Productions [2007]
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

7/9/09 - Returning Favorites - Empty S Productions & Tom Reed [2008]
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

7/8/09 - Returning Favorites - Dean Hatton [2008]
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

7/4/09 - Returning Favorites - Maximum Verbosity [2007]
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

7/1/09 - Returning Favorites - Rockstar Storytellers (Rik Reppe [2003], Dave Mondy [2006])
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

Fringe 2009 - Fringe-For-All preview recaps

The two-night, two-venue, 60-artist barrage of Fringe previews tried to give us the kind of good first impression that makes us what to see someone's show. Some succeeded. Others, not so much...

Many of the Twin Cities Daily Planet Fringe-For-All posts are monster posts (often 10 shows in a bunch, so you may have to scroll around to find the show in question). Once I have a chance to cross-post them to the archive on my website, they will be individual posts over there again.

Some of the artists in the Fringe-For-All 2 were lumped instead into the posts regarding Returning Favorites, or this year's Top 10 and Top 20, so if you don't see a Fringe-For-All'er here, check those posts.

7/12/2009 - Fringe-For-All previews are upon us!
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

Fringe-For-All previews (alphabetical by show title)

7/23/2009 - Alliteral Selection - The True Tale of a Wayward Wallaby (FFA 2)
Twin Cities Daily Planet version

7/15/2009 - Applesauce Fiction (FFA 1)
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

7/15/2009 - Best Little Crackhouse In Philly (FFA 1)
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

7/14/2009 - Boobs (FFA 1)
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

7/23/2009 - Burning Man and The Reverend Nuge (FFA 2)
Twin Cities Daily Planet version

7/13/2009 - The Comedy Hypnosis Show (FFA 1)
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

7/15/2009 - Crescendo (FFA 1)
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

7/16/2009 - A Cynic Tells Love Stories (FFA 1)
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

7/14/2009 - Death Camp Diaries (FFA 1)
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

7/15/2009 - A Dream Play (FFA 1)
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

7/14/2009 - Fearsome Critter (FFA 1)
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

7/15/2009 - First Lady On Mars (FFA 1)
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

7/26/2009 - Foolproof (FFA 2)
Twin Cities Daily Planet version - single post
Twin Cities Daily Planet version - group post

7/23/2009 - The Frog Prince - A Splashy New Musical (FFA 2)
Twin Cities Daily Planet version

7/24/2009 - GRRL! (FFA 2)
Twin Cities Daily Planet version - single post
Twin Cities Daily Planet version - group post

7/16/2009 - Harold Pinter's The Dumbwaiter (FFA 1)
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

7/24/2009 - Horace Greeley the Lesser - On the Isle of Misfit Toys (FFA 2)
Twin Cities Daily Planet version - single post
Twin Cities Daily Planet version - group post

7/24/2009 - I'd Kick Puppies For You (FFA 2)
Twin Cities Daily Planet version

7/16/2009 - Jurassic Dork (FFA 1)
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

7/23/2009 - Love Me Or Die! (FFA 2)
Twin Cities Daily Planet version

7/13/2009 - Mansion of Dust (FFA 1)
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

7/23/2009 - Masha 3000 (FFA 2)
Twin Cities Daily Planet version

7/13/2009 - The Mutant Squad! (FFA 1)
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

7/24/2009 - My Sinking Ship (FFA 2)
Twin Cities Daily Planet version - single post
Twin Cities Daily Planet version - group post

7/24/2009 - The Nightingale (FFA 2)
Twin Cities Daily Planet version - single post
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7/14/2009 - The Nightmare Man (FFA 1)
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

7/16/2009 - Not Scenes From A Marriage (FFA 1)
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

7/14/2009 - Oops! (FFA 1)
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

7/16/2009 - Paisley Poppies (FFA 1)
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

7/16/2009 - Parry Hotter and the Half-Drunk Twins (FFA 1)
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

7/23/2009 - Pathos, Punchlines and Painkillers (FFA 2)
Twin Cities Daily Planet version

7/23/2009 - The Pizpor Show (FFA 2)
Twin Cities Daily Planet version

7/23/2009 - The Problem of the Body - Why is our society ashamed of bodily urges? (FFA 2)
Twin Cities Daily Planet version

7/14/2009 - The Red Tureen (FFA 1)
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

7/16/2009 - Sarah, Your Ovaries Are Drying Up - The Musical (FFA 1)
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

7/23/2009 - Schrodinger's Cat Must Die! (FFA 2)
Twin Cities Daily Planet version

7/14/2009 - Screams In The Dark (FFA 1)
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

7/13/2009 - Sideways Stories From Wayside School (FFA 1)
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

7/15/2009 - Silent Poetry 2 (FFA 1)
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

7/24/2009 - Slow Jobs - Servicing America for $12 an hour (FFA 2)
Twin Cities Daily Planet version - single post
Twin Cities Daily Planet version - group post

7/16/2009 - Stalled - An Elevator Story (FFA 1)
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

7/24/2009 - Thank You and Have A Nice Day (FFA 2)
Twin Cities Daily Planet version - single post
Twin Cities Daily Planet version - group post

7/16/2009 - Thin Mint (FFA 1)
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

7/23/2009 - Thrower of Light (FFA 2)
Twin Cities Daily Planet version

7/15/2009 - Tragedy of You (FFA 1)
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

7/13/2009 - The Twisted Grin (FFA 1)
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

7/24/2009 - Two Bowls of Cereal and Some Bacon (FFA 2)
Twin Cities Daily Planet version - single post
Twin Cities Daily Planet version - group post

7/24/2009 - Two Short Operas - Mr. Berman's Bath-Size Bar and There's A Mastodon In My Backyard (FFA 2)
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Twin Cities Daily Planet version - group post

7/26/2009 - 2 Sugars, Room For Cream (FFA 2)
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7/14/2009 - Visions of Johanna (FFA 1)
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

7/16/2009 - Where Egos Dare - The Musical (FFA 1)
Twin Cities Daily Planet version version

7/24/2009 - The William Williams Effect (FFA 2)
Twin Cities Daily Planet version - single post
Twin Cities Daily Planet version - group post

Fringe 2009 - Top 20 - #11 - Jurassic Dork

If you removed that gun from my head and I could see another 10 Fringe shows, what would they be and why?


John Skelley

Jurassic Dork

One man. One movie. One show. One one-man parody of a movie show. Hold on to your butts.
A one-man version of the epic film Jurassic Park created and performed by John Skelley.
Action, Adventure, Dinosaurs, and Jeff Goldblum combine to create an unmissable Fringe Show.

I could have just grandfathered this one in under the umbrella of returning favorites, since John Skelley has taken on the Fringe slot of his friend Jonas Goslow - and lord knows I loved Jonas Goslow last year.

But this has nothing to do with Jonas Goslow (or Nick Ryan)

It's all John Skelley (and the dinosaurs).

I went on at length before about why I'm happy John Skelley's finally getting a showcase to show off what he can do, in that seemingly endless Fringe-For-All coverage - so check that link. It all still applies.

Since then, they've posted the video of his Fringe-For-All preview - a one-man comedy movie trailer. That's really all the convincing most of you are gonna need, so just watch it - I've attached it below for your chortling convenience. (I've been watching it multiple times because right now, in the middle of all this typing, I need a laugh.)

(I'm all over this dinosaur sh*t. Bring it on.)

His show page

His Fringe-For-All preview

Fringe 2009 - Top 10 - #10 - Applesauce Fiction

If you held a gun to my head and I could only see 10 Fringe shows, what would they be and why?


Jeffrey Shockley

Applesauce Fiction

A couple, Henri and Francoise, live on a planet which is undergoing a food shortage. Science (or whatever) has discovered a way to travel between different potential universes, and those in power invite Henri and Francoise to conceive of a universe in which they have everything they want. Upon being conceived, the universe exists, and Henri and Francoise receive everything they could ever want from their "newniverse" selves. However, when they realize their dream world necessitates oppression and slavery, Henri and Francoise must confront themselves and overthrow the newniverse government in a coup d'etat.

OK, even if I knew nothing else about the show, the phrasing "Science (or whatever) has discovered a way..." is pretty funny.

And then they enumerate the who, what, when, where of the show (location, time, etc.), and among that list we have...

"This is the what: It is a play concerning quantum decoherence, and an apple with a mandolin.

This is the why: To revel in the revolution. To get high on the hijinx. To delight in the debacle."

And my personal favorite, which pretty much convinced me these were my kind of Fringers...

"This is the who: I. Garelik, N. Marcouiller, W. Mullaney, J. Potter, M. Riley, J. Shockley, M.D. Williams

This is The Who: R. Daltrey, J. Entwhistle, K. Moon, P. Townshend"


Some fellow theatergoers were chatting about it, and the Fringe-For-All preview, and couldn't make up their minds, and then it seemed all the heads at the table turned to face me, as if to say, collectively, "What did you think of it?"

(Well, I'd typed up a bit on it already here in the Fringe-For-All coverage)

But to sum it up quickly, I responded, "It's weird, but it's a good kind of weird. It's the kind of weird where you see it and think 'this is odd, but intriguing' not 'why the hell am I watching this?'"

I've read the script since then and it is definitely something that exists in its own weird little world. But it's a weird little world that has very specific rules, and it follows them assiduously. You can track everything. It never goes so far out into left field that it leaves you behind as an audience member on the page. It has its own logic, and your brain quickly wraps around it and incorporates that alternate universe logic as you watch. So it all makes a very strange kind of silly sense.

Here's what the playwright Maggie Williams had to say...

"This fable is an absurdist comedy on the themes of power, consumption, and false resolution (in politics). Naturally, it draws on the current international economic crisis as a tap of situations from which audiences might relate to the story. Francoise and Henri, in particular, must balance their fear of downward social mobility with their sense of responsibility toward those upon whom their high status may be an unwelcome burden. It's the crisis of conscience afflicting fallen CEOs and washed-up celebrities, as well as the ever-growing newly-unemployed middle class.

The resulting inner turmoil for our heroes isn't written for laughs, as is most of the rest of the turmoil. The characters at the heart of this fairy tale for an age of recession are treated humanely; the laughably absurd day-to-day red tape, the dogma, and the dubious decisions handed down by those in charge are heightened and skewered.

If you are a citizen of this universe (you are), you are highly encouraged to attend this show. If you are a citizen of an alternate version of this universe, you should come see this show, too, and let us know if you're being portrayed correctly. We can only imagine."

I've been corresponding with producer/actor whose name is above the title, Jeffrey Shockley. Here's a little bit of what he had to say about the process...

"The staging involves puppetry, clowning, and live music. I am the listed producer, but we're all students at the university attempting to put our studies into practice working collaboratively.

Our tech is tonight, and I think we have our work cut out for us. This month we've added a lot of props and set decorations, which I get a little nervous about, but I think they're really going to add a lot.

We've had to dodge around not having a projector, since the script calls for video, and have opted for photorealistic 2-D puppets in a cardboard TV frame as a substitute. I'm personally far more amused by that than I think I would have been by an actual video. Sometimes limitations are good.

[Blogger's note - Yes. Yes they are. Fringe makes you get creative. And I find the concept of the puppets pretty amusing, too. Looking forward to seeing them. Back to Jeff...]

All this set junk occupying my apartment, and my roommates have remarked that it reminds them of the dreamworld set from "The Science of Sleep". That's actually pretty spot-on, though not the intention.

We've also been working on adding live music, which has been a lot of fun. Ilya Garelik, our apple, is a very talented granola-crunching mandolin jam bander who adds a lot to the physical comedy moments we've inserted in the transitions and intro.

See you at Fringe (THIS WEEK?)!!"

Yes, Jeff. Yes, you will. I'll be in your audience, probably scratching my befuddled head, but enjoying the show.

Applesauce Fiction

Their video trailer

Their Fringe-For-All preview