by Wendy Gennaula • August 3, 2008 • It is 10:15 PM Saturday night and mijos are getting ready for bed. Once again, I’m missing my opportunity to wear my tiara. (Yes, I have one). All of my cousins had a quince, but not me. Pobrecita.
Good To Momma is the blog of Wendy Gennaula, one of five bloggers covering the Minnesota Fringe Festival for the Daily Planet.
I can’t complain. We have seen eight shows and not a single rotten tomato. But the best of the crop were Fools for Love and An Inconvenient Squirrel.
Fools for Love is extraordinary. Chris and I regretted not taking the boys with us to see Fishbowl at Jeune Leune before it closed. Fools for Love has restored my faith that the fresh, innovative commedia dell’arte lives on. It is in our water, like mercury and antibiotics. It has spread to the children. The show, directed by Noah Bremer, was created by an ensemble of Hastings High School students between the ages of fourteen and eighteen.
Beginning with a joyous entrance as a rag-tag marching band, the ensemble seamlessly glides from one vignette to another. There is broad physical comedy and poignant acting. The actors use their faces, bodies, voices, and fingertips to create strong individual characters. There is a funny airplane ride, a joyous penguin ballet, and a heartbreaking dance with red feathers.
I recommend this show to everyone, but especially to those who are missing good old-fashioned jeune-leuny imaginative theater. Don’t worry … they’re here.
On to my other “must-see”-An Inconvenient Squirrel. Where else can you meet “passive-aggressive squirrel” (well, at first I didn’t like my name but now I’m okay with it) and “eeevill genius squirrel”. My favorite insight came from Socially Awkward Squirrel — “Being weird isn’t awkward for me — its awkward for everyone else!” Tim Uren, Dan Rooney, Reid Knuttila, and Joseph Scrimshaw are brilliantly squirrelly. Like the great Warner brothers cartoons, the adults are howling with laughter alongside their children.
The message comes through clearly-don’t label yourself with one role to play. It is more important just to be. (Oprah would approve!) But unlike many shows for children it never condescends; it never goes into after-school special territory. This show doesn’t play again until Thursday, don’t let it get lost on your schedule.
Wendy Gennaula is a singer and actress in the Twin Cities. She is the mother of two extraordinary Fringelings.