Pre-Fringe Profiles: 2016 Edition

FringeLogo_Dark_CMYK_FINALFor ease of navigation, the twenty-one Pre-Fringe Profiles I’ve created are below, each linked to their respective haiku. Happy clicking!

 

This play I done wrote:
I hope it causeth laughter.
If not, no refunds.

Is it worth the cost
Truth can be tricky poker
Come see for yourself

Sherlock Holmes and Seuss
A mash-up nobody missed
But why didn’t they?

Three actors on stage
A single light shines above
Many dice boulders roll.

You say “morbid” like
It’s a bad thing; Howard the
Duck will be there, too.

The dark is scary.
Metaphors are super cool.
Who turned out the lights?

Are you ready to
See the expedition north
That goes south at Fringe

In times of crisis
We must fight for our beliefs
And declare no more

Space is deep and dark.
What’s left when you are alone?
Billy Joel and stars.

Eldritch scurrying
Through layers of history
The Rats in the Walls

Eyes watching in dark
Blood hits the stage, together
We all Scream, scream, scream.

Writing words is hard
And now her mind is going
Things could be better…

Hostel, deception
Girl and Boy caught in the fray
What is 10 x 10? 

See if Sherlock Holmes
Can stay sane after meeting
Our Lord Cthulhu

Our lives are a speck
A minute glimpse only
Of what life could be

Looking for devils
Throughout all the Seven Hells
When they are next door.

Life elsewhere can be,
something we all want to see.
And the fun’s on me.

“Just try it. It’s fun.”
She said. “Just pick an apple. 
It’s your last supper.”

Tis the season to
be jolly tra la la la
la la la la la

For fun and laughter
Gilligan and Hamilton
Better than Reese’s

Dance brings happiness
Dance brings people together
Dance empowers all

Questions? Comments? Enraged invective? Check out my answers to occasionally asked questions in Notes on Notes, or the contact info linked from that page!

Pre-Fringe Profile: Bezubaan: The Voiceless

20160598SHOW TITLE: Bezubaan: The Voiceless
PRODUCER: Bollywood Dance Scene
SHOW DESCRIPTION: The creators of 2015’s best-selling show bring you an original dance dramedy exploring preconceptions, fear, and identity in flamboyant Bollywood style. Happily, we’re never too old to learn or too old to love!
WHAT CAUGHT MY INTEREST: These guys have been a force to be reckoned with and I still haven’t made it to any of their shows.
INTERVIEWEE: Divya Maiya (director/choreographer/dancer)

Just who do you think you are, anyway?

I am the artistic director of Bollywood Dance Scene, a nonprofit organization that brings together many like-minded people – Indian and non – to form a vibrant community dedicated to dance, diversity, and inclusion.

We are the creators of MN Fringe’s top-selling shows in both 2014 and 2015. Our last year’s show, Spicy Masala Chai, broke all records to become the highest-selling show in the 22-year history of MN Fringe festival and highest-selling Fringe show in the United States!

So what’s the big idea?

This year we present, Bezubaan: The Voiceless, an original Bollywood dance dramedy exploring themes of immigration, integration, and identity.

Meet Appa, father figure and longtime Hindu Indian immigrant, who struggles with change at the international market he considers both his means of livelihood, and his sanctuary. He, his Desi family, and their Minnesotan friends must face a new addition to their community whose presence could be life changing.

This family friendly show is packed with exciting traditional and contemporary Indian dance styles, from Sufi-Kathak fusion to Swing and Maharashtrian folk to Hip Hop, which punctuate and illustrate the storytelling. 

How did you come up with a screwy idea like that?

Our show touches on deeper themes like xenophobia & Islamophobia which are current and need to be discussed. We however portray it in a light hearted way with lots of dancing in between just like Bollywood movies.

However, the screwiest part is we try to fit in 90+ people on a 23×25 asymmetric Rarig Thrust stage!

Why should I care?

How often do you get to see an inter-generational and multicultural cast of 90 people from all walks of life have a blast on stage? I promise you that you will leave the theater with a big smile on your face.

Justify your show’s existence in haiku form.

Dance brings happiness
Dance brings people together
Dance empowers all

Questions? Comments? Enraged invective? Check out my answers to occasionally asked questions in Notes on Notes, or the contact info linked from that page!

Pre-Fringe Profile: Gilligan: A Tropical Musical

20160875SHOW TITLE: Gilligan: A Tropical Musical
PRODUCER: Literally Entertainment Productions
SHOW DESCRIPTION: From the team that brought you “Oregon Trail: A Musical” comes a new musical that celebrates and re-imagines one of television’s founding fathers, Gilligan, and his three-hour tour that changed American history
WHAT CAUGHT MY INTEREST: Mashups are everywhere at Fringe. A Hamilton/Gilligan’s Island mashup was sufficiently weird to catch my attention.
INTERVIEWEE: Kyle DeGoey (composer/lyricist/co-director)

Just who do you think you are, anyway?

I’m Kyle DeGoey, one of the Co-Creators, along side the ever-so-talented Travis Carpenter, of this year’s Fringe show ‘Gilligan: A Tropical Musical.’ This is Literally Entertainment Production’s 2nd time at Fringe. We hope to follow up last year’s production of ‘Oregon Trail: A Musical’ with another amusing, entertaining show. 

So what’s the big idea?

‘Gilligan: A Tropical Musical’ is a parody retelling of the television hit, “Gilligan’s Island’. We’ve taken these iconic characters from the past and mashed it up with a contemporary musical score in the stylings of Broadway’s sensation ‘Hamilton: An American Musical’. We’ve integrated common themes like legacy and heroism while staying true to the absurdity of the show.

How did you come up with a screwy idea like that?

“Gilligan’s Island” was a celebration of the idea that television is a vast cultural wasteland. Hamilton is trans-formative because of its approach to history and meaningful events. The juxtaposition of the two styles was an interesting thought for us.

Why should I care?

With everything people have going on in their lives, we want to provide a place where people can come to escape into a familiar world of laughter and enjoyment, even if for only 50 minutes. It’s good old-fashion fun. We try to put together a show that we would like to see. And we hope you do too.

Justify your show’s existence in haiku form.

For fun and laughter
Gilligan and Hamilton
Better than Reese’s

Questions? Comments? Enraged invective? Check out my answers to occasionally asked questions in Notes on Notes, or the contact info linked from that page!

Pre-Fringe Profile: The Most Dangerous Game

20160919SHOW TITLE: The Most Dangerous Game
PRODUCER: Sheep Theater
SHOW DESCRIPTION: Hunting is the name of the game, “The Most Dangerous Game” that it is! A comedic retelling of a classic thriller about a hunter named Rainsford who becomes the hunted when trapped on the island of Count Zaroff.
WHAT CAUGHT MY INTEREST: Joey Hamburger is a funny writer who has written funny things in the past that I found funny.
INTERVIEWEE: Joey Hamburger (playwright)

Just who do you think you are, anyway?

My name is Joey Hamburger and I work with my best friends Michael Hugh Torsch and Iris Rose Page to make up Sheep Theater.  We’ve produced seven original shows as a company.

So what’s the big idea?

The Most Dangerous Game is about a really good hunter named Sanger Rainsford who gets ship wrecked and lands on the island of count Zaroff who’s this guy who likes hunting – a little too much – and he really wants Rainsford to hunt with him, but Rainsford is like “what do you hunt?” and Zaroff’s like, “oh boy!”

How did you come up with a screwy idea like that?

The Most Dangerous Game is a cool story with lots of good details that really stand out.  I think it’s funny how we go our whole lives never really knowing what it’s like to be hunted on an island so I wanted to bring that experience to an audience.

Why should I care?

It’s funny, it’s dark, it’s physical, it’s fast, it’s loud, and overall it’s a great company to work with and perform with and that comes through in the work.  I’ve got five words for you: Jacob Mobley, Robb Goetzke, Michael Hugh Torsch, Iris Rose Page, and musicians Willow Waters and Kellen Parkinson.

Justify your show’s existence in haiku form.

Tis the season to
be jolly tra la la la
la la la la la

Questions? Comments? Enraged invective? Check out my answers to occasionally asked questions in Notes on Notes, or the contact info linked from that page!

Pre-Fringe Profile: Apple Picking

CAVEAT: I have collaborated *extensively* with Ben San Del in the past — we have been writing and comedy partners for years — and I have seen several early drafts of this script.

20160815SHOW TITLE: Apple Picking
PRODUCER: Ben San Del Presents
SHOW DESCRIPTION: Two couples go apple picking. It escalates from there. A darkly comic, psychedelic crime thriller from the creator of encore-winning Fringe plays A Nice Guy’s Guide to Awkward Sex and Minnesota Middle Finger.
WHAT CAUGHT MY INTEREST: This is a deceptively clever script.
INTERVIEWEE: Ben San Del (writer/director)

Just who do you think you are, anyway?

Oh, man, this is a broad question. I mean, wow, where do I start? Um, so, I’m Ben San Del, local playwright and stand-up comedian and 10-year Fringe veteran, and I’m resisting just copying and pasting my standard bio here, as that seems like a lazy move, but because I’ve been battling chronic insomnia the last two weeks, like I always do when it gets to the final days before show debut, being lazy right now sounds pretty damn good, except at this point I’ve now spent as much time writing about being lazy as I would have if I had just written up a proper description of myself, and I feel like I’ve really worn out my welcome for this question, so I guess, before I move on, I could share one more thing that’s already at this point I’m sure pretty obvious: I have a bad habit of writing run-on sentences. 

So what’s the big idea?

This is my third ensemble show for Fringe and eighth Fringe production overall. It’s about romantic dates that go awry deep inside an apple orchard where two couples get wrapped up in life-threatening conspiracies of their own making. In a darkly comic, psychedelic setting, Apple Picking explores the nature of identity and reality itself. With talking trees. 

How did you come up with a screwy idea like that?

It is screwy, isn’t it? Well, on a long road trip I drove past one of those recreational apple orchards, where people go to pick their own apples for fun, and I thought, “what if that family-friendly orchard were a front for a crime organization run by a murderous mob boss?” I thought that would be a fun idea to start with, and see where it goes from there during the writing process. It went to some pretty weird places. 

Why should I care?

I guess, first, I can point to my track record. My last two plays were well-received at Fringe. A Nice Guy’s Guide to Awkward Sex and Minnesota Middle Finger both won the audience encore slot. Apple Picking is my most experimental play, not as safe as the romantic comedies and straight-up dramas I’ve done in the past, but if you want to see veteran actors Mo Perry, Natalie Rae Wass, Jason Ballweber, Christopher Kehoe, Rachel Petrie and Joshua Scrimshaw use their exceptional talents to tackle a twisty concept like this, then Apple Picking is your show.

Justify your show’s existence in haiku form.

“Just try it. It’s fun.”
She said. “Just pick an apple. 
It’s your last supper.”

Questions? Comments? Enraged invective? Check out my answers to occasionally asked questions in Notes on Notes, or the contact info linked from that page!

Pre-Fringe Profile: Skywatch! Or the unofficial official investigation of possible alien landings on a small mid-western wheat field

CAVEAT: While I have not collaborated closely with Larry, we have a more than passing acquaintance via various storytelling events and the Fringe circuit.

20160793SHOW TITLE: Skywatch! Or the unofficial official investigation of possible alien landings on a small mid-western wheat field
PRODUCER: Blue Moon Theatre Company
SHOW DESCRIPTION: Finding life from other reaches of the galaxy is just a matter of time, but Barry and Carl can’t wait; they want to meet an alien NOW! Join this laugh a minute voyage departing from a mid-western wheat field.
WHAT CAUGHT MY INTEREST: Aliens! And I, too, have been geeking out about recent Kepler discoveries.
INTERVIEWEE: Lawrence Ripp (playwright)

Just who do you think you are, anyway?

I am a 37 year vet of The Twin Cities Theater Scene with many hats worn over the years.  Actor, producer, playwright and director sometimes all at once.  I am also becoming very well known as “Sir Sydney Soapington”  The Baron Of Bubble! a character I’ve created to go along with my big bubble act I do at fairs, festivals, parties and you name it.  Bubbles are always welcome and make Great BIG bubbles!

So what’s the big idea?

Skywatch is only part of the title to my show. The FULL title says it all.  “Skywatch!  Or, The unofficial, official investigation of possible alien landings on a small Midwestern wheatfield.”   Crop circles meet Laurel and Hardy is another way to look at it.

How did you come up with a screwy idea like that?

I have a very big interest in life off the planet.  I have a dream of science finding conclusive evidence of life off our planet during my lifetime however slim those chances are.  This play is an extension of my own obsession with this idea.  The characters say things I believe in and their dreams are my dreams.

Why should I care?

Skywatch was first written and produced in 1993 and was met with success on a brief tour of venues in Minnesota and Wisconsin.  It is funny!  I wrote it to have at least 2 laughs per minute and hopefully more.  I never thought it got seen enough when it was first produced so I’m bringing it back. Why now? NEW PLANETS are being found just about every day by the Kepler telescope and soon the Webb will bring even more planets to light.  Skywatch is up to the minute and timeless. 

Justify your show’s existence in haiku form.

Life elsewhere can be,
something we all want to see.
And the fun’s on me.

Questions? Comments? Enraged invective? Check out my answers to occasionally asked questions in Notes on Notes, or the contact info linked from that page!

Pre-Fringe Profile: Damned If You Do

CAVEAT: I have worked on a number of projects with Kelvin Hatle (and most of his cast) in the past.

20160931SHOW TITLE: Damned If You Do
PRODUCER: Schroedinger’s Dog
SHOW DESCRIPTION: Work is Hell. Marriage is Hell. Life is Hell. But most of all, Hell is Hell. Come join a fresh-faced devil on his first day on the job. It’s going to be… dare we say it? Hell.
WHAT CAUGHT MY INTEREST: Kelvin is an inspired comedy writer/performer, and I’m a sucker for stories set in the underworld, so…
INTERVIEWEE: Kelvin Hatle (writer)

Just who do you think you are, anyway?

I’m a middle-aged, follicly-challenged nerd who has been doing theater and improv for a distressing number of years. People may best know me from shows with The Scrimshaw Brothers and Vilification Tennis, or from one of the four one-person shows I’ve done at the Fringe (Death Perception, Someone Is Wrong On The Internet, The Press Conference At The End Of The World, and Giving Grief.) Once I got recognized from an improv show I did at Knuckleheads in the Mall of America, roughly five years after they stopped doing improv shows. I consider that one of the most gratifying pieces of feedback I’ve ever received. I also just watched season 2 of Rick and Morty. 

So what’s the big idea?

It’s a comedy about four devils in Hell. One is a noob, the other three are vets. Hell isn’t what it used to be, which ironically makes new Hell more Hell than old Hell. Did I mention it was a comedy?

How did you come up with a screwy idea like that?

I wish I could remember. My material tends to mutate rather drastically from the original idea, and this one followed an even more serpentine path than usual. All I recall is that I really wanted to do something with multiple actors, and that this really screwed with my usual working method of gross procrastination. Somehow, I wound up with the idea of three or four devils arguing about the nature of evil. But straight philosophy can make for boring theater. Then it moved on to three devils tormenting a new soul in Hell, but the new soul is too genuinely nice and decent a guy to be tormented. I couldn’t come up with an ending for it. Finally, I arrived at my current script, sort of a messed up workplace comedy with a twist.

Why should I care?

it follows the rough arc of most of my other material: Absurd comedy with serious underpinnings, and a heartbreaking climax. People tell me I’m good at that sort of thing. It has Dawn Krosnowski being evil in a cocktail dress. It has Nick Glover as an enthusiastic dope. It has Lana Rosario getting pissed off at dumb crap. Also, it’s pretty funny.

Justify your show’s existence in haiku form.

Looking for devils
Throughout all the Seven Hells
When they are next door.

Questions? Comments? Enraged invective? Check out my answers to occasionally asked questions in Notes on Notes, or the contact info linked from that page!

Pre-Fringe Profile: The Clock That Fell Off The Mantle

20160773SHOW TITLE: The Clock That Fell Off The Mantle
PRODUCER: Morally Ambiguous
SHOW DESCRIPTION: Time is running out and there is a race to place value on the years past. In the struggle to capture time, time is lost with preoccupations. All that is left to do is allow time to take its inevitable course.
WHAT CAUGHT MY INTEREST: These guys also appeared at the Not-So-Silent Planet Fringe Preview on July 5th, and impressed with their ability to adapt a sprawling show to a very limited space.
INTERVIEWEE: Taylor Fischer (director)

Just who do you think you are, anyway?

My name is Taylor Fischer, I am seventeen years old and will be a senior in high school this fall. After high school, I plan on attending college and getting a BFA in theatre directing or majoring in film directing. I have been performing since I was five years old, but in the last few years I have uncovered my passion for directing and performance creation. In my free time, I love making short films and writing. The Clock That Fell Off The Mantle is the first show that I’ve ever produced. It’s also the first show that I’ve ever directed completely on my own. In the past, I have assistant directed several times and performed in many shows. However, I had never gotten the chance to make my own show and I am so thrilled to be putting a show up in the Minnesota Fringe Festival!

So what’s the big idea?

The Clock That Fell Off The Mantle is a collaborative piece, most of the ideas in the show were created by the ensemble . It is about people who live in a dystopian society where they are born with timers on their wrist that state the amount of time left in their life. All people are born with a random time and there is absolutely nothing they can do to change their fate. The show surrounds a group of people trying to escape the inevitability of death and how they spend their last hour of life. The individuals are crippled at the thought of death because no matter how much time people have it never feels like enough. The idea for this show came from many late night existential crises. I was interested in how much the world would change if it had different social constructs, like life-inspiring timers. I think people often except the world for how it is because they don’t believe they have the power to change anything. Throughout the show the characters attempt to fix the broken system in their society, but as many people have found when trying to change an unjust system, their opposition is immovable.

How did you come up with a screwy idea like that?

I am doing this show because it tackles a lot of ideas that are relevant to our modern day society. The show deals with the impact that social class has on overall life quality, even though social class is often determined by family background rather than the work of the individual. It becomes impossible for people to have any benefit on society when they are forced into a system of oppression where citizens with the longest lifespans have the most value to society.The show explores how time impacts a person’s life and how we spend our entire existence obsessing over what is left. It also touches on no matter what you do in your life or how long you live in the grand scheme of things people are just specks on the universe. I am also doing this show because I think there is a lack of opportunities for young artists to create their own work and make a show that they really want to be a part of. Often the only opportunities for teenagers are roles in “classic” shows that young people can’t relate to, and that don’t pique their artistry. This show was created collaboratively and the entire cast and crew are people from the ages 16 to 18.

Why should I care?

People should see The Clock That Fell Off The Mantle because it addresses many issues that are very prevalent in the 21st century. Issues of social classes, fearing death, and trying to repair an unjust system. The show is not a musical, but it does combine elements of theatre, dance, and music. There’s something for everyone to enjoy. If that wasn’t enough, people should see this show because so much hard work was put into it by many talented, young artists. Seeing it encourages and supports local upcoming artists creating original work.

Justify your show’s existence in haiku form.

Our lives are a speck
A minute glimpse only
Of what life could be

Questions? Comments? Enraged invective? Check out my answers to occasionally asked questions in Notes on Notes, or the contact info linked from that page!

Pre-Fringe Profile: A Study in Emerald

20160715SHOW TITLE: A Study in Emerald
PRODUCER: Conundrum Collective
SHOW DESCRIPTION: The worlds of Sherlock Holmes & HP Lovecraft collide, as an ensemble cast brings Neil Gaiman?s award winning story to life with music, live sound FX, and projections. Solve a mystery, engage your imagination.
WHAT CAUGHT MY INTEREST: I’m a fan of the original story, and actually own a copy of the collection it first appeared in (Shadows Over Baker Street).
INTERVIEWEE: Derek Dirlam (director/performer)

Just who do you think you are, anyway?

We are the Conundrum Collective, a group of artists with various backgrounds including theater, music, graphic art, and sound design. We started unofficially back in 2013, performing as the ‘in-house company’ of the Historic Mounds Theatre in St. Paul. One of our focuses has been producing shows in the style of Live Radio Theater, and have performed shows such as ‘War of the Worlds’ (both the classic Orson welles version, and our own adaptation), ‘A Christmas Carol,’ and numerous one-act live radio plays including ‘Nightfall’ from Isaac Asimov, ‘Zero Hour’ from Ray Bradbury, and ‘Three Skeleton Key’ from Escape Radio. Our other focus is to produce theater that fits into more of the Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Mystery, and Horror genres. Because, well, we are huge fans! And there are a lot of great, imaginative, and sometimes terrifying, stories available that can be adapted/performed as live theater.

So what’s the big idea?

We are performing an adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s award winning short story ‘A Study in Emerald.’ The story takes the famous Sherlock Holmes of Arthur Conan Doyle, and places him in an H.P. Lovecraft inspired 1880s London. The result is a Sherlock Holmes mystery, that has a darker, more terrifying mystery beneath. We are staging the show in a ‘story-telling theater’ style, with a Narrator to help set the scene (and often stepping into it), and an ensemble of actors performing multiple roles, who help to populate our ‘Victorian-Noir’ world. To add to the story-telling, we have a team of Foley artists providing live sound effects that accompany the action, graphic projections from a local artist, and music composed for the show.

How did you come up with a screwy idea like that?

Several members of our group are huge fans of Neil Gaiman, Sherlock Holmes, and H.P. Lovecraft. (Actually I think Everyone in the group is at least a huge fan of one of those three.) After discovering that Neil Gaiman wrote a story combining both H.P. Lovecraft and Sherlock Holmes, it seemed like a perfect fit. The original story itself felt about the right length for Fringe, so that made it easier to preserve most of the original text. And it is personally one of my favorite texts of Neil Gaiman.

Why should I care?

If you are a fan of Sherlock, Lovecraft, Neil Gaiman, (or all three!!), or if you like a good mystery (even a mystery within a mystery), or something that engages your imagination, I think you’ll enjoy ‘A Study in Emerald.’ We preserve a lot of the original text, so even those who are familiar with the story, I think will be very pleased to see it come to life in front of them.

Justify your show’s existence in haiku form.

See if Sherlock Holmes
Can stay sane after meeting
Our Lord Cthulhu

Questions? Comments? Enraged invective? Check out my answers to occasionally asked questions in Notes on Notes, or the contact info linked from that page!

Pre-Fringe Profile: Hostil Watching

20160860SHOW TITLE: Hostil Watching
PRODUCER: The Drollery
SHOW DESCRIPTION: A couple in an Amsterdam Hostel. This is a true story. Out of respect for some involved things have been changed, for everyone else it has been told exactly as it occurred. 10×10. Matt Alto & Amanda Chial
WHAT CAUGHT MY INTEREST: I’ve spent enough time in hostels over the years to find them ideally creepy settings.
INTERVIEWEE: Matthew Alto (writer/performer)

Just who do you think you are, anyway?

I’m a Minnesota native, a Kindergarten Cop and a Secret Agent (Though not so secret anymore.)  With weapons more powerful than guns or swords.  I shoot with a camera lens and wield a mighty pen.  I received my B.A. in Theatre at the U of M-Twin Cities, and an M.F.A. in Directing from the East 15 Acting School-University of Essex in London.  This is my third time producing with The Drollery at the Fringe Festival.

So what’s the big idea?

A couple in a long distance relationship tries to reconnect in an Amsterdam Hostel while on a European trip.  Though initially a typical relationship dramedy, it darkens and becomes more insidious than that.  Will their relationship survive the night?  Will they?

How did you come up with a screwy idea like that?

It’s Honest.  10 x 10 is a saga that cannot be silenced.  An international secret that has spread through the streets of the Twin Cities.  This is the origins of 10 x 10, however sordid and absurd that may seem.  Many of the people who already know of 10 x 10 have things like Non-Disclosure Agreements or Omertas that prohibits them from talking publicly.  It’s my duty to exercise my first amendment rights. 

Why should I care?

It’s a relationship drama & comedy.  But beyond that it’s also historical, political, mysterious and horrific.  It’s not really science fiction other than being a parallel of Campbell’s Hero’s Journey and Star Wars.  There’s no reference to Star Wars, but at the beginning the guy is studying to be a Master, youthful and reckless, like Anakin.  By the end, protecting love has turned him to the dark side on the search for vengeance, like Darth Vader. 

Justify your show’s existence in haiku form.

Hostel, deception
Girl and Boy caught in the fray
What is 10 x 10? 

Questions? Comments? Enraged invective? Check out my answers to occasionally asked questions in Notes on Notes, or the contact info linked from that page!