How to Fringe on a school night

It occurs to me that during this crazy week in Minneapolis known as the Fringe Festival I’m seeing a lot of stuff and not mentioning it here at all. This is probably because I haven’t had the time. (Frankly, I haven’t had much time for many things. Yesterday I never ate dinner as I ran from show-to-show, and if I don’t do some laundry before morning….I might be feeling a bit underdressed tomorrow, though no one may really…notice.)

I’ve spent a fair amount of time in the past week attending shows (including my own) and plugging my show and chatting with the other Fringe artists and printing extra programs and tracking the reviews and chatter in newspapers, Facebook, Twitter, numerous blogs and, of course, the Fringe’s site. The overall gist of it though is this has been a great week for me! I haven’t had a show like this, with this much excitement, in a long time. And, planning my next step will not be easy. More on that later, though.

As for all the stuff I’ve seen, well…the majority of it has been good because I’m picky about where and on what I’m going to spend my limited Fringe seeing time. And as it turns out, there’s much more stuff here worth my time (or so I believe) than I actually have time. Last night, after work, I was planning on seeing three shows. The first thing I hit was an out-of-towner from New York, in Afterlife by Sunset Gun Productions. This was a very polished, very cleanly done one-woman-show, telling the story of three different women from three separate places and times. I particularly enjoyed the first piece, which was both moving and funny. Watching it made me want to write good short pieces like that.

My plans to see three shows got thrown off when a friend mentioned she was seeing Scream Blue Murmer, a group of poets from Ireland who were here a couple years back that I really fell in love with. Somehow they hadn’t made it on my schedule though I knew they were here. So instead of keeping that show slot open for dinner and travel over to the St. Paul venue I upped the evening to four shows and I caught their act. And am really glad I did. Maybe it’s just the accents, but these are some charming, funny and touching people. And their sense of humor reminds me of my own sometimes, but also of my mother’s – which is where I got mine, while she got hers from…well, from her Irish father. I had sent them a message via twitter asking the run-time on their show. Poetic license, I guess, allowed them to say it was under “50 minutes” and “see you there!” It was exactly an hour. I forgive them mostly because I could’ve watched another hour and the time flew.

I then zipped across town (no, I didn’t speed. too much.) and caught a silly little straight play by a local group whose work I’d never seen. Squawk tells the adventures of penguin in military officer training. Yes, a penguin. And thankfully somehow that joke never got old. This was a fun little show, and very well done. I laughed a lot and enjoyed it and that’s just what I needed. Once again the Fringe does something for me that I have a hard time getting at other times of the year—seeing people’s work for the first time! Not one person in the show had I seen on stage before and I’d never seen any of the director’s work. Much of that work was very impressive.

Finally the time and hunger were getting to me. After three shows in a row, immediately after a full day’s work and a quick trip home to take care of the dog, I was beat. There was no making a fourth show and hoping to get up for work in the morning.

Those, btw, were shows number 8, 9 and 10 that I’ve seen. It fairly represents an evening of Fringing. The trick is to keep up the pace and do it night after night after….

Tonight, two more shows (maybe three?) Tomorrow is a full day of Fringing and at least five planned shows.

Sunday – we may get the encore slot.

Fingers crossed.

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