PRE-FRINGE PROFILES: 2014 EDITION

PRE-FRINGE PROFILE: MINIATURE HORSES DON’T GO TO HEAVEN

CAVEAT: I have worked with both Adam (writer) and Bethany (director) on a handful of smaller projects in previous years, and Cody (actor) is directing one of my sketches for a show in this Fringe, as well.

SHOW TITLE: MINIATURE HORSES DON’T GO TO HEAVEN
PRODUCER: Box Wine Theatre
HAILING FROM: Minneapolis, Minnesota
SHOW DESCRIPTION: Six dark comedies inspired by real news headlines Inc: “Pit Bulls Kill Miniature Horse Donated to Cancer Child,” “Man Kidnaps Woman Who Refuses Marriage Proposal” & “Girl’s Prosthetic Leg Stolen Twice”.
WHAT CAUGHT MY INTEREST: As writing prompts go, this is among the best.
INTERVIEWEES: Adam Sharp (playwright/actor) and Bethany Simmons (director)

Just who do you think you are, anyway?

Box Wine Theatre was founded in 2008 by then-dating couple, now-engaged Adam Sharp and Bethany Simmons. The company was started with a mission to bring high quality theatrical productions to the stage on a low budget. Our goal is to bring a meaningful experience to our audience while sparking new ideas and encouraging the questioning of mainstream social norms and opinions. Box Wine Theatre holds the belief that human nature is beautiful in its’ flaws and we celebrate those flaws by producing stylistically or thematically unique shows which represent the comedy and tragedy that exists in all of us.

So what’s the big idea?

“‘Miniature Horses Don’t Go to Heaven’ and Other Plays Inspired by Real News Headlines” is written by Adam Sharp and directed by Bethany Simmons. It is made up of six dark comedies inspired by the actual news headlines:

“Pit Bulls Kill Miniature Horse Donated to Cancer-Stricken Child”
“Man Kidnaps Woman Who Refuses Marriage Proposal”
“Man Accused of Attacking Body in Open Casket During Funeral”
“Girl’s Prosthetic Leg Stolen — Twice”
“Doctors Grow New Ear on Woman’s Arm”
“Man Kills Deer With Bare Hands in Bedroom”

Seriously we didn’t make any of these up!

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

Adam Sharp devised this play after stumbling across the headline which inspired the title scene with the reaction “This is hilarious! This must be fake!” Upon further investigation, Sharp realized that the seemingly twisted and comedic headline was real. And he felt bad… for about three seconds. Once the guilt was over he said to himself, “I can make an entire show out of this!”

Why should I care?

If the tragedy and misfortune of others brings a devious smile to your face, you won’t be able to help but get a kick out of this show. If your humor lies with the dark and/or twisted things in life, you should come breathe the same air as others who feel the same way!

Justify your show’s existence in haiku form.

The tears of a child
Taste sweet on these lips of mine
Oh, schadenfreude

 

PRE-FRINGE PROFILE: GREEN T’S 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY

CAVEAT: I performed in a fundraiser for the company back in 2012, and have worked with one of the performers (Natalie Rae Wass) extensively in past productions.

SHOW TITLE: GREEN T’S 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY
PRODUCER: Green T Productions
HAILING FROM: Minneapolis, Minnesota
SHOW DESCRIPTION: Kubrick and Clark’s iconic science fiction masterpiece chronicling the evolution of human intelligence re-imagined as physical theater. Features proto-human apes, space ships and the maniacal computer HAL.
WHAT CAUGHT MY INTEREST: I spent a lot of time in high school skipping classes to read books in the library, and among the books I pored over were Arthur C. Clarke’s Space Odyssey Tetralogy — which I found much more provocative than the Kubrick movie. Beyond that, I have a love all out of measure for genre fiction, and it’s very, very rare to see it treated onstage without tongue planted firmly in cheek. Sold!
INTERVIEWEE: Kathy Welch (director)

Just who do you think you are, anyway?

Green T Productions is a local theater company. Our mission:
is to produce visually stunning, mind-stirring, movement-oriented, multi-disciplinary physical theater that artistically challenges performers and audiences.

Green T ensemble core-group studies and trains together drawing on a variety of world theatrical traditions, integrating them into their own unique style, using movement in creative ways to visually tell a story.

So what’s the big idea?

Our Fringe show is an adaptation of our fall 2013 production of “2001: a Space Odyssey.” The show is a re-imagining of Stanley Kubrick’s and Arthur C Clark’s iconic film and novel “2001: a Space Odyssey” employing Green T’s unique brand of stylized performance.

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

We were looking for challenging source material. Found it! To make it even more challenging, we are telescoping the show to fit into the 60 minute Fringe format.

Why should I care?

Sci-Fi on stage is rare, when it does happen it is often funny or cheesy or both. This show attempts a serious, thoughtful approach to the genre using simple props, actors’ bodies and the audiences’ imaginations to tell a compelling story about big issues like the evolution of the human mind and our place in the universe. Oh, and there is a homicidal computer.

Justify your show’s existence in haiku form.

From proto-human
To anti-gravity walk
Odyssey indeed

 

PRE-FRINGE PROFILE: STAIRWAY TO KEVIN

CAVEAT: I have been touring on the Fringe circuit in many of the same places as Kevin for years now, though we have never worked together directly.

SHOW TITLE: STAIRWAY TO KEVIN
PRODUCER: Kevin J Thornton Entertainment
HAILING FROM: Nashville, Tennessee
SHOW DESCRIPTION: This fringe veteran is turning 40 and questioning everything. Join him for a hilarious round-the-world journey on the search for the meaning of life. A hybrid of standup, storytelling and original music.
WHAT CAUGHT MY INTEREST: I’ve known Kevin for years, and with this series of shows he seems to be delving just a little bit deeper and a little bit darker. Both of those are things that are things that I enjoy.
INTERVIEWEE: Kevin J Thornton

Just who do you think you are, anyway?

I’m a scorpio gay vegan atheist. Looking for other irritating progressive descriptors to add to my identity if anyone has any ideas. I played in a band that got a huge record deal in the mid 2000s. It crashed and burned hard. That’s when I wrote my first solo show and I’ve been touring fringes ever since.

So what’s the big idea?

The show is about that moment to which everyone gets where you ask “what the hell am I doing with my life?” That question caused me to make some questionable life choices that literally took me around the world. It’s an epic soul searching round-the-globe adventure set to music.

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

I’m desperate for cash.

Why should I care?

I performed this show at several fringes last year to pretty awesome audience reaction. I feel like it’s my best work so far. It’s very funny and relatable, the music is super cool, and it has an uplifting message that seems to really move people.

Justify your show’s existence in haiku form.

Stairway to kevin
There’s still time to change the road…
You’re on. Come see it.

 

PRE-FRINGE PROFILE: NATURAL NOVICE

SHOW TITLE: NATURAL NOVICE
PRODUCER: Siobhan O’Loughlin
HAILING FROM: Brooklyn, New York
SHOW DESCRIPTION: Siobhan moves from a commune to NYC; analyzes the implications of not shaving her body hair; and contemplates how a woman defines herself, no matter what she looks like.
WHAT CAUGHT MY INTEREST: I dunno. I’m not particularly inclined to shave my body hair, and I’m baffled by the notion that others are pressured to — to do anything one way or the other with their bodies, really.
INTERVIEWEE: Siobhan O’Loughlin (writer/performer)

Just who do you think you are, anyway?

My name is Siobhan O’Loughlin! I’m a theatre maker/activist/blah blah blah from Brooklyn. I like riding bikes, eating veggies, and listening to the dulcet tones of that sweet Midwestern accent. 

So what’s the big idea?

My play is called “Natural Novice” and it is a solo show about female body hair. I perform as seven different women (all real people, and all diverse–different races, gender identities, sexual orientations) who reveal their stories of shaving, waxing–or not doing any of those things.

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

Because, Phillip. I’m a 26 year old woman who doesn’t shave. That’s a thing, you know.

Why should I care?

You should care because I was called “repulsive” and a “hairy ape” by NYC critic from “Hi! Drama!” I don’t actually agree with those statements–but you might want to find out what is os darn controversial and created so much fuss.

Here’s my tumblr with more info about that review: http://siobhansolo.tumblr.com/post/88974436951/a-home-for-fleas-a-hive-for-the-buzzin-bees

Justify your show’s existence in haiku form.

Hair, the beauty the 
Splendor, the wonder of my 
Hair, Hair, Hair, Oh, Hair.
 

PRE-FRINGE PROFILE: #RELATIONSHIPSTATUS

CAVEAT: Meredith Larson, the director of this show, also directed a one-minute play I wrote last winter, though I don’t believe we’ve officially met face-to-face.

SHOW TITLE: #RELATIONSHIPSTATUS
PRODUCER: Someday, Wine Productions
HAILING FROM: Minneapolis, Minnesota
SHOW DESCRIPTION: Love is officially Law in Minnesota…so, now what? #RelationshipStatus peeks into the lives and complicated relationships of real Minnesotans after the ink dried on the Marriage Equality bill.
WHAT CAUGHT MY INTEREST: I work in show business. Which means that a not-insignificant proportion of my colleagues are gay. Two decades of working alongside them has taught me (if I couldn’t have figured it out on my own already) that equal treatment is a big freakin’ deal. Plus, I’m deeply fond of docudrama.
INTERVIEWEE: Ryan Thorsen (playwright/co-creator)

Just who do you think you are, anyway?

Hi there! My name is Ryan Thorsen. I’m a writer and actor from the Twin Cities area. I graduated from MSU, Mankato in 2011 with Bachelor’s degrees in both English and Theatre.  This will be my fourth year in a row working with the Minnesota Fringe Fest, but my first stint as a writer.

So what’s the big idea?

#RelationshipStatus (yes, the hashtag is part of the title) revolves around what happened after marriage equality became a reality in the state of Minnesota. Inspired by real (and some not-so-real) people and events, #RelationshipStatus unfolds in a series of vignettes, and focuses on the lives and relationships of the people most affected by the legislation.

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

Much of the credit goes to our show’s producer, and my partner in crime, Laura D. Thaisen for coming up with the concept of the show.  She approached me late last year with the idea to do a Fringe show based on marriage equality, and I just took the ball and ran with it. As a subject that is near and dear to both of our hearts, we realize how important it is to commemorate marriage equality and equal rights for all Minnesotans.  We hope that this show will help build upon the momentum guaranteeing the freedom to marry for all individuals in this country.

Why should I care?

Minnesota made history in November 2012, when it became the first state in the nation to defeat a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Less than a year later, we rejoiced as a bill was signed making love the law in Minnesota.  #RelationshipStatus celebrates this landmark decision. More importantly, it celebrates the LGBT community affected by it. It’s easy to be dry and procedural when talking about an historical event. This is a show about people. Their stories are what truly bring this show to life.

Justify your show’s existence in haiku form.

Changed for the better
Minnesota becomes free
Love is the law now

PRE-FRINGE PROFILE: KYLE AND SEAN ARE LOVERS

CAVEAT: I am producing a show in the same venue that is technically in competition with this one for an additional performance (though I do not view mine as a serious contender).

SHOW TITLE: KYLE AND SEAN ARE LOVERS
PRODUCER: T or D or S
HAILING FROM: Phoenix, Arizona
SHOW DESCRIPTION: Kyle and Sean are two straight identified men in their late twenties who are taking this opportunity of performing at Fringe to confess, deal with, and normalize the homosexual experiences of their youth.
WHAT CAUGHT MY INTEREST: Pretty much every line of their extended description: “‘Kyle and Sean are Lovers’ tells the story of two straight-identified men trying to gain acceptance into a Nazi-esque group by confessing their real life homosexual experiences in public. They both have had such success in the past with their edgy brand of racist humor at local slam poetry events that they decided to move into a more mainstream audience at the Fringe. Five nights in a row! Lightning in a bottle! Bring your like-minded, liberal friends to witness the absurdity a show created by “two new gems of Minnesota theater” (Tampa Bay Breeze Times, 2007).” I am reasonably confident that the Tampa Bay Breeze Times does not exist in our reality. This is either a trainwreck or Andy-Kaufman-esque genius, and either way I want a front row seat.
INTERVIEWEE: Sean Neely (N/A)

Just who do you think you are, anyway?

We are the creators of a fictional Nazi-esque group. It started as a joke on meetup.com and, based off its overwhelming popularity, we had to move it to a wider audience at the Fringe.

So what’s the big idea?

We are two straight-identified men who are using the Fringe as an opportunity to confess and normalize the homosexual experiences of our youth. Our show takes this idea to its logical extreme by putting us through an initiation for our own fictional meetup.com group, which is now so popular that it has taken on a life of its own. The group has its own hierarchy now and we have to reapply to gain membership.

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

We are both very open people and when we first started hanging out together, we realized that we shared a lot of the same experiences of our youth. From there, we decided to take our own real-life experiences and share them publicly for the first time. ‘Kyle and Sean are Lovers’ is based on journal entries, emails, and every non-heterosexual thought and action that we’ve ever had. Also, Sean’s dad was racist.

Why should I care?

We believe that sharing these experiences can play an important role in promoting the acceptance of non-heternormative lifestyles and hopefully play a small role in the overall battle for equality. At the same time, we want to represent our own meetup.com group faithfully. Lately, we have been receiving anonymous emails, featuring fan fiction portraying us in an uncomfortable way. It’s of the upmost importance that we acknowledge our loyalty to “the group” while simultaneously getting our faces out there in case something were to happen to us.

Justify your show’s existence in haiku form.

We seriously concerned about our safety. Both of us have emergency contacts. If the show is cancelled for ANY reason, please contact Sean’s mom at jneely@hotmail.com or Kyle’s godfather at 612-822-0127.