Why I love the Fringe—even more than before


Since my family typically vacations in early August, last year was my first year of Fringing; afterwards, I wrote a post titled “Why I fell in love with the Fringe.” Having concluded my second year of Fringing, I just revisited that post and thought, “Yeah! Good points, Jay!” I still agree with myself, which speaks well to the Fringe and perhaps unexpectedly well to my mental stability.

On Saturday night, I was one of over 200 audience members in attendance at an absolute sellout (even the overflow section was filled) performance of Red Resurrected. Having followed the local theater scene—with special attention to small, creative shows like Red—for the last four years, I can say with some confidence that there’s almost no way a show like Red could find that kind of crowd with a five-performance run (or at all) anywhere outside of the Fringe. Maybe not even a guest spot in the Guthrie’s Dowling Studio could build that kind of audience for a small show like this.

But Red manifestly deserved the audience, and pleased it: there are dozens of audience responses on the show’s Fringe site, and they’re almost unanimously five-kitty perfect reviews. (Read my review of the show, and Live Action Set’s Fletcher & Zenobia, at Vita.mn.) What the Fringe does to win exposure for independent artists like this is invaluable.

Red was my favorite among the 18 Fringe shows I saw this year; other special standouts were Once Upon a Time in the Suburbs, Losing My Religion, Green Eyes, The Folly of Crowds, and Fletcher & Zenobia.

Photo courtesy Minnesota Fringe Festival