Tired Tuesday: Hit men, snake oil, homelessness, and a colorful chorus


by Kate Hoff | 8/5/09 • The halfway point of Fringe 2009 came and went yesterday without fanfare. I have to admit I’m a little tired. Twenty-five shows down, up to 26 more to go.

I started my Tuesday with Harold Pinter’s The Dumb Waiter performed by Ariel Pinkerton and Erik Hoover at the Playwrights’ Center. The story of two hit men waiting for their next target. It’s great. Go see it.

Sigal Shoham found out she got into the MN Fringe about a month ago. As the Fringe looms closer each year, groups who were chosen by the lottery find themselves in various stages of preparedness…and sometimes it happens that there reaches a point when the show simply can’t go on, leading to dropouts late in the game. There is a waiting list, and as shows drop out, the Fringe staff goes down the list and the first one to say they can be ready gets the slot. This is what happened to Sigal, who lives in Berkeley, California.

full frontal fringe is the blog of kate hoff, one of seven bloggers covering the minnesota fringe festival for the daily planet.

These last-minute additions might be at a very slight disadvantage because their show descriptions don’t make it into the printed program (but DO show up correctly in the printed $2 grid), but the Fringe posts these schedule changes and makes every effort to draw attention to them. Plus, the website is up-to-date. I think Fringe goers are relying more and more on the website to help them plan their schedules. In the past, the Fringe printed schedule came out in the City Pages; this year, the schedule appeared in Minnesota Monthly. I wondered how that might affect turnout…do people rely on the ubiquitous City Pages to remind them that it’s Fringe time? It seems not: the opening weekend numbers showed a whopping 19% increase over last year.

Anyway. Got off on a tangent there. Sigal has been very visible around the festival, traveling on a borrowed bike, her banjo strapped to her back, hawking her wares (er, show postcards). Due in no small part to her outreach efforts, I went to check out her show Sure to Cure: Dr. Amelia’s Medicine Show at the Playwrights’ Center. A healer and a swindler, Dr. Amelia entertains with lively stories, affirmations and banjo interludes. And like any good snake oil salesman, she convinces the audience that they’ve come out ahead. Next opportunities to catch Sigal before she blows out of town: Thursday at 5:30, Friday at 8:30, Saturday at 2:30.

Next, I tried to see 2 Sugars, Room for Cream at the Rarig Xperimental. So much for that. Sold out!! Make reservations if you want to catch this hit. Friday at 10 or Sunday at 5:30 are the last chances.

With a hole now in my schedule, I stopped in to check out
Habitat: The Meaning of Home at the Rarig Arena. Habitat, written by Rachel Anne Johnson, is based on interviews with homeless community members (and others) of Duluth, MN. This is a documentary theater project and unlike anything else in the Fringe this year. This isn’t a typical “play,” nor is it performed by typical “actors.” It is an interesting show, and also very effective at bringing voice to Minnesota’s homeless. Remaining shows Friday at 5:30, Saturday at 4.

I closed the evening with Love Me or Die! presented by Savage Umbrella at the Rarig Xperimental. I’ve been hearing such nice things about this show. Big, boisterous and funny, it’s a great romp with a lot to look at. Check it out! Two more shows: Wednesday at 5:30 and Saturday 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).

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