Monday, July 05, 2010

Fringe 2010 - Seals Who Turn Into Women, and The Men Who Love Them

We've got a lot of weird two-fers in this year's Fringe.

Two examinations of (shudder) George W. Bush - Shrubs - A Bush Musical Comedy and The Bush Monologues - cue The Vagina Monologues jokes... now

Two Twilight spoofs - SemiDarkness and Bite Me, Twilight (or Oops, I F**ked A Vampire)

But none odder (to me) than the double feature dealing with a legend of seals who turn into women, and then fall in love with men.

Scotia Productions
The Selkie

"This juxtaposition of traditional Scottish dance and contemporary movement tells an eerie love story of seals who peel off their skins to take on the form of alluring women and the men who seek to possess them."

Here's a video preview...


Isabel Nelson
Ballad of the Pale Fisherman

"What happens when a fisherman falls in love with a woman who happens to be a seal? Faced with the dueling calls of land and sea, which will she choose?

Ballad of the Pale Fisherman is a re-imagining of the Irish/Scottish folktale of the seal-woman, or selkie. In this timeless fable, a fisherman falls in love with a beautiful seal-woman, and takes her as his wife. But a love that defies the laws of land and sea is never simple (see: Little Mermaid, The), and the seal-woman must eventually make a choice borne of betrayal and self-sacrifice. Will she choose her past or her future, her heart or her home?

Using song and movement to portray fisherman and sea creatures, curmudgeonly storytellers and sweeping landscapes, this newly-formed ensemble creates a world that is as magical as it is moving, as lyrical as it is heartfelt. The performers hail from backgrounds and trainings as varied as Live Action Set, Sandbox Theater, the Minnesota Shakespeare Company, the University of Minnesota B.F.A./Guthrie program, and the Lecoq-based London International School for Performing Arts (LISPA). From such far-flung experiences, these eight physical theatre creators have come together in collaboration to build this re-imagining of the selkie folktale through original music and storytelling.

There will be physical theatre, but it's not a dance piece. There's an accordion, but not a polka to be found. It's family friendly, but it's not a kid's show. It's a fairy tale with depth, with sharp edges and deep longing. Above all, it is imaginative.

Come see for yourself!"

And thanks to the Pale Fisherman cast list, I'm much more likely to come see for myself. This is where more information is a useful thing. Some shows haven't posted their casts yet, but I'd encourage them to. Here's an example of why...

I might have just passed the Pale Fisherman by, but then I found Derek Miller's name in the cast list.

Derek Miller works these days with Sandbox Theatre, which gave us June of Arc in the 2009 Fringe. He's also one of the driving forces behind Perpetual Motion Theatre Company, which gave us the "play in a pool" The Depth of the Ocean in Fringe 2006, and the scrappy little musical One Night Only With Mike Mahoney in Fringe 2008. So, based on his involvement alone, I'm much more interested in finding a way to wedge Ballad of the Pale Fisherman into my schedule this year.

(Everybody knows somebody. The more names that you have associated with your play, the more likely someone will trip over someone they know, connected to your show, and might be more inclined to come and see it. Your cast and crew are great publicity, Fringers. Use 'em to your advantage.)

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