Fringe 2009: Top 20—#20: Shadow & Substance Theatre, “Agamemnon”


by Matthew A. Everett | 7/21/09 • If you removed that gun from my head and said I could see 10 more Fringe shows, what would they be and why?


Shadow & Substance Theatre


single white fringe geek is the blog of matthew a. everett. in addition to being one of six bloggers covering the minnesota fringe festival for the daily planet, he blogs throughout the year about theater and culture.

Backing in from the other end of the Top 20 (let’s see if my two lists of ten actually meet in the middle before the Fringe starts this time…)

Murder! Revenge! Betrayal! Ghosts! Sock puppets!

In this darkly comic adaptation of Aeschylus’ 458 BC award-winning tragedy, Agamemnon comes home after ten long years at the Trojan Wars to a wife who is plotting to kill him and a ghost who is bent on revenge. Hilarity, violence and incest ensue. Join us for this murderous family reunion!

Oh. My. God.

OK, I may just be punchy from Fringe overload (I know. Already.) but the video at the end of this post is something I can’t stop giggling at, no matter how many times I watch it. It remains so ridiculous it never gets old. And I mean that as a compliment.

I am almost 51 percent certain that this Fringe offering is *not* just a puppet show done completely with gym socks, but also live action work with real, honest to goodness humans playing the roles sometimes. Though I get more unsure by the minute.

But if that video trailer is any indication of the sensibility of this company (and if it isn’t, why in God’s name would they do it?), I have got to see this show.

(and if it is just a puppet show done with gym socks – oh. my. god.)

Now, I’m a sucker for the old Greek mythology subject matter anyway. I love the House of Atreus – Agamemnon, his wife Clytemnestra, her lover Aegisthus, their screwed up kids Orestes and Electra and Iphigenia, Agamemnon’s war trophy wife Cassandra (poor, poor Cassandra – no one believes her. That’s one of the all-time great curses – you have the gift of prophecy, but no one will believe you. She sees the danger, she sees her own death, and there’s no way to save herself. It’s pretty brilliant.)

So, I’m a geek for the Greeks anyway.

And since I just spend the first four months of this year, and the last couple of months of 2008, turning the legend of Medea and Jason into a dark romantic comedy, I get the feeling this show and I are very likely on the same wavelength.

So it’s on my shortlist.

Now I’m going to watch that video again.


Their website –

Their show page

The video that won my theatergoing heart, by way of my funny bone…

Their show page

Matthew A. Everett is a local playwright and three-time recipient of grant support from the Minnesota State Arts Board. Information on Matthew and his plays can be found at

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