Month: July 2014

Minnesota Fringe Fest

Quote of the Day:  Fringe is an annual performing arts festival in the Twin Cities. For 11 days, over a thousand artists present works in every discipline and genre. No one selects the participating shows. Instead, a lottery determines which of over 400 applicants win production slots in the festival. MN Fringe Fest official website for show listings and venues. Looking at the titles of the shows featured on the MN Fringe Fest facebook page, I think there would be something for everyone who wants to take in a show. I’ve heard it’s everything from kids writing their own plays to dance troups performing, and many, many adult shows with the word “sex” in the title, comedy, drama, and edgy stuff that hangs out on the “fringe”. Some will make you laugh, some cry. Others might leave you with that confused expression on your face. I only tried to get in one year when Coffee Shop Confessions was still fresh and the actors hadn’t scattered too far. I didn’t try this year. I’m writing a new play, maybe I’ll take my chances again some day. If it is truly a lottery, my changes are mediocre of getting in. However, we are a growing theatre community here in the Brainerd lakes and there is talk of having our own fest and calling “Fringe North.” Check back in the spring! I...

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Beyond Bricks Project

Quote of the Day:  We need to give each other the space to grow, to be ourselves, to exercise our diversity. We need to give each other space so that we may both give and receive such beautiful things as ideas, openness, dignity, joy, healing, and inclusion. Max de Pree Every culture expresses themselves through their art, writing, music, dance, rituals, and their food. They develop their own language, sometimes a dialect of a larger spoken language, and sometimes a language only their own clan can understand. People of every nation and tribe learn these things, embed them into their souls, and they know where they belong and who they are. What happens when those expressions of art are torn apart? What happens when a language is silenced? What happens to a people who are forced to end their rituals? What could happen if they were lifted up and honored? Our community if doing a unique project called Behind the Bricks. People who are inmates at the local jail were invited to create a work of art or writing. These were brought to the Crossing Arts office where local citizens could either chose artwork and write about it, or chose writing and create art to compliment it. These pairings will be displayed at both the jail and the Q Gallery at The Franklin Arts Center in September 2014. I went...

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Review of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike at The Guthrie

Quote of the Day:  The play is not based on Chekhov, nor is it a parody of Chekhov. Chekhov is more of a personal jumping-off point for me. It’s as if I took characters and themes from Chekhov and put them in a blender. Christopher Durang, “Author’s Note” to the play, NY dramatist’s Play Service, 2014 (also printed in the program for the Guthrie Theater’s production). Christopher Durang’s play Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike is a character show. He had very specific types in mind as he was writing it. I woke up this morning wondering how the casting call might read: Wanted: two males, four females for modern comedy inspired by classic characters – older man, a bit grey and shaky, hasn’t quite lost his ability to appreciate a nice body, bemoans change in technology, culture, and human behavior, given to ranting. Second male – extremely buff and self-confident, able to strut around the stage in his underwear while doing calisthenics, aware, but unaware, of how much he’s turning on everyone onstage…and off! Middle-aged woman with a deep, mysterious voice who practices voodoo (in a funny, yet, pointed way) and “predicts” the future, can do that look that drives deep into your brain. Two sisters, who seem to be polar opposite in body type and personality. One is larger than life full of herself glamorous with an “everybody look at...

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On Golden Pond at Cream of the Crop Theater in Randall, MN

Quote of the Day:  paraphrase of the final scene in On Golden Pond by Ernest Thompson Ethel: Let’s just stay here all year, Norman. Norman: Then, Charlie can find our frozen bodies in the spring. Ethel: Then, let’s take it all with us back home. Do you feel that way when you leave your cabin, or vacation place? I do. In fact, it was the perfect set-up for me to be watching On Golden Pond last night at Beth Selinger’s brand new Cream of the Crop Theater in Randall, MN. I had just returned from spending the week at a family camp on Lake Carlos with my boys, parents, siblings, cousins, extended family, and others. It is so hard to leave. You want to take it all with you, the sound of the loons, the lapping of the lake against the shore, and the wind rustling the leaves of the trees. You want to linger just a little longer, wanting one more game of Scrabble with grandma, another swim out to the floating raft, a few more moments of sitting around visiting with friends and family, hearing your kids laugh and play together. But, you can’t stay there forever. And, as you pack up, you know another year will pass before you’re back. We’ll all get another year older. The kids will move out and on. Your own dad might...

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Review of Blythe Spirit at CLC

Quote of the Day:  Work hard, do the best you can, don’t ever lose faith in yourself and take no notice of what other people say about you. Noel Coward Blythe Spirit is a lively romp through time and space, where the deceased never really go away, bringing to the life the phrase, “Your past will come back to haunt you.” In this classic comedy by Noel Coward, Charles is holding a se’ance as research for a novel that he’s writing. He says he doesn’t really believe in supernatural powers, but he sings a different tune when his first, deceased, wife, Elvira, shows up, all angelic looking, yet with a devilish attitude, especially towards his current wife, Ruth! Charles is the only one who can see and hear Elvira. Elvira can see and hear everyone. As you can imagine, they have much confusion, miss-communication, and several sight gags, all ingredients for a great comedy.  Dawn Marks went all out choosing costumes for the this piece, set in England in what seems like pre-WWII. Coward wrote the play in 1941. The set is gorgeous, and by the end, seems to have character of its own. All the actors did a fine job. Kevin Yeager, who was last seen playing the ghost of an actor who played Hamlet in I Hate Hamlet at CLC, is this time the living character troubled by ghosts. My...

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