Things I learned about the Fringe at the library

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by Matthew A. Everett • July 15, 2008 • There’s only so long a crowd will listen to playwrights blather on about their process and creativity and producing before they want to see some proof. “Can we hear some of your plays?” (Subtext – “Entertain us, dammit!”)

I think I was overly cautious in my choice of material – the other writers had scenes with a priest stabbing the baby Jesus (All Rights Reserved: A Libertarian Rage), a homeless woman proselytizing her fellow street people on how to best take advantage of people’s guilt (Trying Guilt), a paralyzed man bemoaning that his wife had cuckolded him with a monkey and died in childbirth leaving him with a monkey baby (Skunkape Sexkult), a Jewish Romeo and Arab Juliet in the Middle East (10.10 Post 9.11: Laughter in the Aftermath), and the Archangel Michael recruiting the very best of dead musicians to play at Jesus’ birthday concert (Roofies in the Mochaccino).

Single White Fringe Geek (and Mom) is the blog of Matthew A. Everett, one of five bloggers covering the Minnesota Fringe Festival for the Daily Planet.

In light of the above, I think a scene of two men just negotiating about (not performing) sex probably would have fit right in and no one would have batted an eye. The scene of two ex-lovers trying to talk about their dog and not one another or their failed relationship, while nicely written and well-read, hardly stood out in that company.

I didn’t order enough postcards.

I paid too much for the ones I did.

Being around a lot of younger talented artists tends to make me think I’ve wasted my life and made all the wrong choices. This is the mental/emotional danger zone of the Fringe for me – every damn year. You’d think unexpectedly having a show in the Fringe would help some. It doesn’t.

We lured another potential Fringer over to the dark side with our talk of the nuts and bolts of finding resources and collaborators. He took copious notes, and seems poised to try the ping pong ball lottery next year. Go, newbies!

Speaking of newbies, I find myself newly fascinated by – I kid you not – Skunkape Sexkult – after hearing Greg Carlson talk about the way his show is coming together. Most amusing moment, the admission that an actor dropping out got him so mad he killed off a character and put another one in a wheelchair. Coolest moment, the idea that he got everyone together for a spaghetti meal to hang out and get to know each other for the read through, rather than just awkwardly introduce each other at a normal first rehearsal. The hook, which didn’t actually come out til conversation after the panel was over, was that he’s playing a couple of roles himself, one of which is a monkey, which is a bunraku puppet. First-time Fringer, learning as he goes. There’s just something really compelling to me about this weird little play all of a sudden. Check out their page on the Fringe site.

Actors like the ones reading for 10.10 Post 9.11: Laughter in the Aftermath and Trying Guilt last night, who are so on top of their material and assured in how they present themselves, make the best case for seeing a show. As a writer, I’m tongue-tied in their presence.

Poor Mark Franko seems kind of exhausted and he’s got six more showcases and a whole Fringe ahead of him – it’s only the middle of July. Be nice to Mark. They work that man hard.

Entering his sixth year of blogging about the Minnesota Fringe Festival (and bringing Mom along for the ride as a guest reviewer), Matthew A. Everett is also 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 matthewaeverett.com.