Tom and I are living in the Cities for 9 days while he’s in the Shakespeare workshop at the Guthrie Theater, and quite happily our first week coincided with the last week of the Minnesota Fringe Festival. We saw some great shows, and with a little luck you can still catch some of the awesomeness, either tonight or as one of the encore performances tomorrow, where the best selling show at each venue gets one more show.
Tuesday we saw James T. Wilson, a two person show including Stanton Pavlicek in the title role. We know Stanton and his family from Morris (his dad was a huge help in building an enormous frame to hold up our gargantuan honeysuckle vine), and it was cool to see two 18-year olds just out of high school in this setting. The show itself was still struggling to become, and while there was a of potential, it’ll need some more work to realize that possibility.
Thursday we saw Speech!, an absolutely hilarious comedy about the goofy (and often twisted) world of high school speech competitions. The writing and performances were tres sharp, and the audience was rolling in the aisles from the start to finish. This show has received a number of well deserved nominations, including a best male performance for our friend and UMM alum Tim Hellendrung! Tim’s did lots of cool improv back at UMM (as well as being an excellent manager for the campus radio station), and has continued to develop at Comedy Sports in Minneapolis. It was great to see him do such a fine job in a great ensemble production like this. Big congratulations to Tim and the entire cast and crew!
Last night (Friday) we saw what will sadly be our last show, because we head back to Morris this afternoon so Tom can hang with his friends some before we come back to the Cities Sunday night. We went out with a bang, though, catching the amazing O(h) by casebolt and smith, a two person show unlike any dance performance I’ve ever seen before. They combined some great dance with liberal splashes of spoken word and singing, providing a rich piece of performance than transcended any simple notion of genre. There was wonderful (often comedic) commentary on both culture in general and dance in particular, creating a really fun experience that was also chock full of food for thought. They also received a number of nominations, and our group (two straight guys and a woman) all agree that a sweaty Joel Smith in Superman briefs is hot!
There’s a great section in this performance about intellectual property that inspired a long enough commentary that I’ve moved to it’s own post. It’s not often in my experience that a dance performance explicitly opens these kinds of doors, so check it out.