What a great start to the Minnesota Fringe Festival! I spent the first day of the festival in the Lyn-Lake area moving between Bryant Lake Bowl and the Jungle Theater.
The four shows that I saw were all extremely different, which is one of the great things about the Fringe festival, the ability to experience such a great variety of performances in one night. You can read more about the specific shows that I saw below.
Spy in the House of Men: A One Woman Show With Balls
Penny Sterling's solo show, A Spy in the House of Men, "maps her journey through a life-long coming-out process". The one woman show is wonderfully told, split up into chapters that help to move the narrative forward. Like life it is heart breaking while also being uplifting. It is a show that is told with both a great amount of humor and also a great amount of honesty.
The Three Crazy Sons brings us Macduo, created Hubbard husband and wife team, the show brings Shakespeare's well known Scottish play to the Minnesota Fringe festival in under 60 minutes with only two performers. This "cliff-notes" Macbeth was a good refresher to the show, I hadn't read the play since High School and I have never seen it. It reminded me of how much Macbeth is ingrained in our popular culture from common phrases to stanzas from Hamilton. The two performers still seem to be working through the rhythm of the show but they are both obviously very talented.
Moving along to Jungle Theater, Little Oblivion Theater are putting on a powerful show with a title that is hard to pronounce. But don't let the vague title, or description of an interactive show scare you away. This is an extremely powerful exploration of abuse in its many forms juxtaposed with the theme of ghosts and hauntings. Successful theater is able to transport us, often to a time or place, but it is even more difficult to transport the audience into a state of mind and true understand but I think that is just what "_______" did. It is hard to pick a favorite of the shows I saw tonight but this is up towards the top.
Crash and Burn: An American success story
Middle Names Productions is at the Jungle Theater. It explores "A teenage girl with big dreams, a single mom trying to hold it all together, and a folk hero who may or may not be all he's cracked up to be. Inspired by Greek myth and stories about Evel Knievel." I really enjoyed the show, it was extremely touching and gripping story with very empathetic characters. At the end of the shows during the bows I was surprised to see only three actors, the world that they created, although intimate felt so much larger. A live musician also helped to add to the mood of the show. I hope that this show can have a life outside of the Fringe festival.
*Photos curtesy of the Minnesota Fringe Festival.