by Kate Hoff • July 14, 2008 • Just back from almost two weeks in Alaska, looking at moose, bald eagles, whales, seals, sea lions, sea otters, river otters, puffins and glaciers. Saw rivers flowing like grey paint, full of flour-like glacial silt that, should you fall in, will fill your pockets, pull you down and drown you. Or so said the proprietress of one of the B&Bs we booked.
Anyway, back on the Fringe trail…Tonight I checked out the Fringe Playwrights’ Panel at the St. Paul Public Library Merriam Park branch. (One in a series of preview events happening in libraries in all seven metro counties! Here’s the library schedule. Note that the remaining Fringe library previews are family-friendly, and will feature, on different days, shows for kids, shows for teens, and music.)
Tonight’s panel featured the following playwrights, representing their experience putting together these shows:
Matthew Everett: “The Bronze Bitch Flies at Noon” and “Dog Tag” presented by Magicworld Theater
Michael Shaeffer: Roofies in the Mochaccino presented by Empty S Productions
Greg Carlson: Skunkape Sexkult presented by Mother/Destroyer
Adam Sharp: 10.10 Post 9.11: Laughter in the Aftermath presented by Adam Sharp
Anton Jones: Trying Guilt presented by Culture Mesh Collective
phillip andrew bennett low: All Rights Reserved: A Libertarian Rage presented by Maximum Verbosity
(I’m fairly certain that women write Fringe shows, too.)
These guys have a range of experience, from Fringe virgins to those who have, well, been around the Fringe block a few times (ahem, Matthew Everett). The panelists talked about how to recruit actors/directors for shows (TC Theater and Film, Callboard, Craig’s List, and MNArtists.org), and gave a behind-the-script look at what can happen along the journey from thinking of that first idea for a show to actually putting it on a stage, in front of a live audience.
The whole “live audience” thing seems to be at the core of what drives the playwright: the collaboration between stage actors and audience; watching the audience encounter living, breathing characters; the three-dimensional nature of the space and how the audience’s energy affects the show. The audience is the “final piece of the puzzle,” as Matthew said. After hours and hours writing, alone with the voices in their heads…
Kate Hoff is a fundraiser, printmaker, and alternative-theater denizen. Her prints were included in the Visible Fringe show in 2004—also the year she began blogging about the festival. A few years, countless blog entries, and a hundred-some Fringe shows later, Kate joined the Fringe board in early 2008. The views expressed here are hers alone and do not represent the official position of the Fringe (unless noted).