I contacted Alison Johnson about her one woman show in the Fringe called Other Than Tragedy. She has read her work all over the Twin Cities, from reading at the Walker Center, 7th Street Entry, and Patrick’s Cabaret. She also appears in the Open Flow Forums.
Alison explained to me that the show is about dealing with mental illness in her family going back to the first half of the 20th century. The show also about how having a mental illness has changed over time. Since 2005 she has been putting this piece together, during which time she has performed two 15-minute segments of it in Patrick’s Cabaret. Alison, liking the adventurousness of it, decided to put it into the Fringe Festival. What sets this show apart from the rest at the Fringe Festival shows is that this is a show about mental illness based in lived experience by created by an award-winning writer.
The developing process of the show is this. She works with her director, Lane McKiernan, who did a show last year called Food Shelf Follies. They’ve been rehearsing three times a week. Most of their rehearsals focused on the story development. A quote she gave me that described the process perfectly: “I do the show and he gives notes and then I go away and work on the show. Then I come back and he gives more notes. Wash, Rinse, Repeat.”
When I asked her if the show is suitable for teens she told me it would be best suited for older teens. She talks frankly about issues such as suicide in the show. Other Than Tragedy will be appearing at the Ritz Studio Theater. For show times and other info here is the link to her page.