Saturday Fringe recap

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by Kate Hoff • August 3, 2008 •

Saturday morning started with a special, not-secret mission in my very important capacity of Fringe board member: I was deployed to Costco to pick up cakes and ice cream for the family ice cream social and the Fringe 15th birthday party. Yes, being in the Fringe inside circle is extremely glamorous – especially if you have a Costco membership.

Full Frontal Fringe is the blog of Kate Hoff, one of five bloggers covering the Minnesota Fringe Festival for the Daily Planet.

I returned home from my errand to find that Bob hadn’t made much progress on getting out of bed. He was conscious enough to tell me that there was one Fringe show he couldn’t stop thinking about: Snip, Snap, Snute…the troll songs were sticking with him. “Gonna have goat for supper…” Alrighty, then.

So off I went, solo, to see Among the Oats presented by Jared Reise at Intermedia. This, to me, is Fringe at its finest. Nicely acted? Absolutely. Interesting to watch? Yes. Wholly entertaining? Definitely. Can I tell you what it’s about? Um, no. The show description says “Three guys wake up and find themselves inside a can of oatmeal.” The way scene numbers are projected on the backdrop screen, we can see that we’re not getting the full chronology…but it also doesn’t matter. How these guys ended up in this box of dry oatmeal is never addressed, nor do we know how long they’ve been there. I want to link this show to the story of The Little Prince, but need to think about why. Both made me a little weepy at the end. Cool show.

The Pumpkin Pie Show presented by Horse Trade Theater Group from New York City at U of M Rarig Thrust. Easily one of the best shows in the festival this year. Clay McLeod Chapman and Hanna Cheek are superb storytellers, tag-teaming a random (sort of) selection from a roster of fourteen stories — stories unlike anything you’ve ever heard before. Written by Clay, these tales are richly detailed and irreparably warped. Do NOT bring the kids. DO catch them as many times as your schedule allows. It’s worth your while to spend as much time in their company — experiencing as many stories from their list — as possible. Don’t miss.

I was a big fan of Perpetual Motion’s 2006 Fringe hit The Depth of the Ocean, performed in the pool at the YWCA downtown, so I figured they were a safe bet to fill my 4:00 slot. Wrong. (Wrong. Wrong.) They have a clever set involving wires and pulleys that span the stage…and provide the threat of clotheslining yourself should you try to bolt from the theater. One Night Only with Mike Mahony at U of M Rarig Arena – Mahony isn’t the only hostage.

I know the lines look daunting, but they move quickly and the theater is enormous – which is excellent news, because everyone should see The Cody Rivers Show Presents: Stick to Glue presented by the Cody Rivers Show from Bellingham, WA playing at the U of M Rarig Thrust. I implore you to see this show. All you Fringe lurkers out there, this is the show of the year, and the very best way to sample the Fringe if you haven’t dared jump in yet. Safe for all ages, this is physical sketch comedy at its most excellent.

Mortem Capiendum presented by Four Humors Theater at the U of M Rarig Thrust was awesome. Bob guessed that some of it was improvised; I disagreed, saying it was just an indication of the excellent writing and acting synonymous with the Four Humors name. Later that night, at Fringe Central, Bob had the opportunity to ask Jason Ballweber, who confirmed that it’s not exactly the same show from performance to performance. Fringe Central: Settle Your Bets. Another success from Four Humors – check it out.

I’ll Marry You for Health Insurance and Other Shocking Revelations presented by Mumble Mumble, Ink productions at U of M Rarig Xperimental. As I’ve already mentioned, Allison Broeren is an accomplished slam poet and storyteller. I just wish she didn’t have reason to use the material she does. An autobiographical storyteller, Allison’s poignant stories are sometimes hard to hear – because they’re obviously so hard for her to live. Last show Monday at 7.

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).