It hit me, last night, while watching FringeMiss!, the variety show style MN Fringe Fest fundraiser, done over Facebook Live. Fringe Fest is like a summer camp talent show. Most of the acts are a little out there, from silly to bizarre. Interspersed among the goofy ones, like the camp favorite where two kids are under a blanket and the hands and arms belong to the person we can’t see who is trying to put make up on the face we’re looking at, or feeding her messy food, are some real gems. 

I watched FringeMiss! live last night. The hosts, Allison Witham, Duck Washington, and Shanon Custer, were great, really into promoting Fringe and the acts who signed on to perform. It was a little harder to feel engaged from my living room, but I appreciated the effort. And, I think they met their fundraising goals in both donations and silent auction. Whoo hoo! Fringe offers a unique platform for artists and audience members. I hope to attend it live next year. 

Watching “Nature Creature” streaming through my TV, by Pianist/Composer Elizabeth Alexander, Cellist Jacqueline Ultan, and Vocalist Ruth MacKenzie, MN Fringe Fest, virtually, 2020.

Earlier in the day, I checked out offerings on Digital Hub. You need the $5 “Button” to watch these, and some performances ask for a small donation. I wasn’t in the mood for silly or edgy, so I chose a musical trio. It was one of those gems. The performance was recorded on June 19, 2016, at Open Eye Figure Theater. (synopsis from their listing on MN Fringe website)

Nature Creature: Dynamic vocalist Ruth MacKenzie brings her passionate and intimate style to Nature Creature, a sensuous work encompassing the beauty and complexity of being alive. Featuring the luminous words of seven poets, including Louise Erdrich, A R Ammons, and Hafiz.

Developed and performed in collaboration with cellist Jacqueline Ultan and composer-pianist Elizabeth Alexander. ~50 minutes

Nature Creature is on the Digital Hub. You need to purchase an access button (for only $5) to view it, and the artists would love a donation, if you’re so inclined.

Exquisite music and poetry. I let myself get swept away on all the lovely notes, gorgeous poetry, and the landscape it created. Ruth MacKenzie’s voice is soulful. The music reminded me of the score for Sweetland, the Musical and The Bridges of Madison County.

Some of my favorite songs/moments in this concert style presentation: 

The Meadow Doesn’t Know About the Stock Market (words by George Ella Lyon) fun, funny, clever. Shows the true value of nature and the feelings you get when you immerse yourself in it. “Today she is worth exactly what she was worth at creation.” 

I loved the jazzy style of Play (words by A.R. Ammons). I gave them a little “Whoop!” at the end of the song. Elizabeth Alexander’s fingers dance over the piano keys. Jacqueline Ultan answers with the mournful cello, and Ruth’s voice brings out all the emotion. 

Watching “Nature Creature” streaming through my TV, by Pianist/Composer Elizabeth Alexander, Cellist Jacqueline Ultan, and Vocalist Ruth MacKenzie, MN Fringe Fest, virtually, 2020.

I listened to this show while I ate my lunch. I stopped eating so I could just listen, or jot down notes. When it was done, I hit replay and listened to the whole thing again while I drifted off on a siesta. “Life Will Break You” (words by Louise Erdrich) reached right in and grabbed my heart. 

Nature Creature is for anyone who loves music, especially strings, and soulful melodies, for those who love nature, storytelling through song, and dreaming.

Day two, for me, felt a little like summer camp, with fewer bugs and a comfortable couch.

You can check out other reviews of MN Fringe Festival, virtually, 2020, on the Twin Cities Theater Bloggers Facebook page, Rob from The Stages of MN, and long time Fringe reviewer Jill from Cherry and Spoon

Go. Create. Inspire!