Minnesota Fringe Festival: Growing Into My Beard at HUGE Theater

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SHOW TITLE: Growing Into My Beard
PRODUCER: I’ve Seen The Future
HAILING FROM: New York
SHOW DESCRIPTION: Bay Bryan confronts the status “woes” in this coming-of-age cabaret for anyone who has ever felt – even a little bit – queer at heart. A fusion of storytelling, improv, song cycle, and just a drop of drag.

This is essentially a musical revue, stitched together by fragments of storytelling. He’s got an excellent voice, and it was nothing but a pleasure to hear him sing.

When I say “fragments,” I truly mean fragments – there’s barely a cogent story here. It certainly skimps on detail. He tells us that he was in a terrible relationship by…telling us that he was in a terrible relationship. What that might mean is left as an exercise for our imaginations.

Content-wise, this is a coming-out story. As a long-time Fringegoer, I’ve witnessed many of these, some that I’ve loved, some less so. Alas, I found myself tilting towards the latter category on this one. I get that this is a cultural context that I don’t necessarily share, but in the past I’ve found many such narratives that I’ve identified closely with.

I want to emphasize that I’m an outlier here – his audience was enraptured, laughing at nearly every line out of his mouth. I don’t think I laughed once. Comedy is of course subjective, and sadly we seemed to be shooting just past each other.

But, y’know, that’s a lazy cop-out, right? I should try to do better than that. Most of his jokes seemed to revolve around coyness and misdirection, and that’s something that I’ve never had much patience with in comedy.

(Perhaps that’s a symptom of differing backgrounds? That crass confrontation has always worked for me as a heteronormative guy? That would certainly explain why so many gay comics rub me the wrong way.)

Ultimately, what I think it boils down to is that I believe that this guy has a hell of a story to tell – but I also believe that he didn’t really tell it. He gave us the vague outlines, skating over the details that would help us closely identify with the content. His singing is heartfelt, but a clearer context for it would have gone a long way for 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!

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One Response to “Minnesota Fringe Festival: Growing Into My Beard at HUGE Theater”

  1. 2015 Minnesota Fringe Festival Summary | Womb with a View Says:

    […] Not a Musical! Dance with the Devil Deus Ex Machina Falling Man Ferguson, USA FRANKENSTEIN Growing Into My Beard Hey Bangladesh “Mom?” A Comedy of Mourners Mrs Mortimer’s Xenophobic Travel Guide No Extra […]


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