Q&A with Fringe Artists

Joseph Scrimshaw
An Inconvenient Squirrel

Joseph Scrimshaw Productions

City Pages: Describe your show in 10 words or less.

Joseph Scrimshaw: Four men dressed as squirrels, one as a tree. Priceless.

CP: Do you think squirrels ever really experience existential crises?

Scrimshaw: A squirrel once stared at me while I was wearing my squirrel costume. I think it caused the squirrel to question its place in the universe. Either that or it smelled the beef jerky in my pocket.

CP: Have you ever been the object of a squirrel attack? Or, in the opposite case, a squirrel's affections?

Scrimshaw: I once saw a squirrel dig both a half-eaten taco and a Hostess Fruit Pie out of a trash can at the same time. If that's not love, I don't know what is.

 

Curt Lund & Laura Bidgood
Boys Don't Make Passes at Girls Who Wear Glasses

True Enough Theater

City Pages: Describe your show in 10 words or less.

Curt Lund/Laura Bidgood: Just doing our part to advance the underground Nerd Revolution.

CP: Your show contains "nerd romance." Tell us more.

Lund: We nerds are generally a bit challenged in the romance department. Our success in the dating pool at large typically falls between lukewarm at best and complete obliteration at worst, while the median hovers right around socially handicapped (I could graph it for you if you like). But at least the results make for some good stories.

CP: Regarding your show's title: Is this technically true? Have you any data to back it up?

Bidgood: The title is not true. It is a vicious lie perpetuated by the liberal media, and by punk schoolchildren, and by ladies who are jealous of the power of glasses to attract a man's attention like a moth to a flame. Wait . . . are you making a pass at me right now? I think you just answered your own question. (Call me.)

 

Erik Hoover
HEROCYCLE

FTF Works

City Pages: Describe your show in 10 words or less.

Erik Hoover: Many crashes. A semi-naked action figure. Bellbottoms. Big collars.

CP: You depict the psyche of Evel Knievel. How evil was he?

Hoover: Evel was a human being just like the rest of us: Full of wonderful contradictions. Evel wasn't really evil—except for the time when he broke a guy's arms with a baseball bat while he had two broken arms of his own. Maybe that wasn't really evil per se, but it wasn't very nice. On the other hand, Evel did pass up a chance at a liver transplant so that someone else could have it.

CP: Your aerialists are taking chances up there. Has anyone gotten hurt?

Hoover: We've been rehearsing four to five hours a day every day for about the past two weeks, and with a show as physical asHerocycle, fatigue becomes a real factor. Jim Peitzman (our aerialist) spends a lot of time in the air during the show and I do all the crashing, so we're both pretty battered. My wife invented a new game called "Connect the Bruises." The third member of our cast, Beth Brooks, is lucky she can sing—she doesn't have to do any set changes or crashing or anything. Fortunately, no one's broken anything yet, but let's just say Ace bandages, athletic tape, Ibuprofen, and whiskey are good things. It's an honor to risk our lives for you!

 

Chris Howie
SUN-TZU'S THE ART OF WAR

No Refunds Theatre Co.

City Pages: Describe your show in 10 words or less.

Chris Howie: Ancient wisdom illustrated by ninjas turns your stupid to smart.

CP: How can a 3,000-year-old manual on ruthlessness and guile help us in today's loving, noncompetitive, low-pressure society?

Howie: Noncompetitive? Low pressure? Have you seenThe Apprentice? You better believe the Trump reads A of W—he keeps a copy under his hair. If nothing else, it can help individuals win at reality TV. On a serious note, quotes like "If you are not in danger, do not fight," and "There has never been a prolonged war from which a country has benefited" inspired Donald Rumsfeld to write us after our October run of A of Wasking, "Gee whiz, where can I get a copy?"

CP: Is the Mambo the answer?

Howie: Mambo is always the answer—especially when ninjas are involved.

 

John Ervin
CATFIGHT!

City Pages: Describe your show in 10 words or less.

John Ervin: A poisonous tribute to Michele Bachmann, evangelicals, and President Bush.

CP: How can two documentarians, in your show, affect an election?

Ervin: Two teams—one right, one left—of documentarians can easily affect an election if they have aid from a swingin' higher power!

CP: Michele Bachmann and Michael Moore enter a cage. Only one comes out. Who?

Ervin: Michael Moore has sincerity and size, but Michele Bachmann has claws and cunning, so she wins (unfortunately).

 

Sheridan Zuther
GREAT AMERICAN HORROR MOVIE MUSICAL

LSD Productions

City Pages: Describe your show in 10 words or less.

Sheridan Zuther: Kooky filmmakers document hunting down a killer—'80s karaoke style!

CP: What's the most horror-inducing moment in your show?

Zuther: An ax-wielding lunatic, fingers being chopped off, deep dark secrets, spurting blood . . . but nothing compares to the horrific anticipation created as the audience guesses what possible '80s song will be sung by the documentarians next.

CP: How does singing and dancing enhance the horror?

Zuther: Imagine, if you will, Blair Witch meets Moulin Rouge. Part documentary, part horror movie, part movie musical. A horror documusical. What could be more horrorific?

 

Mike Fotis
AN INTIMATE EVENING WITH FOTIS: PART TWO

City Pages: Describe your show in 10 words or less.

Mike Fotis: Awesome. Funny. Lazy. Not Memorized. Not my attempt at therapy.

CP: You're going to tell stories. Share one of them now.

Fotis: OK! I grew up on a yogurt farm (did he?). It was awesome (was it?) until our entire field of yogurt plants (yum) went bad. After that, I was sent (mailed) to the Army (Navy) and invented (discovered) apples.

CP: You're going to sit. Aren't we worth having you stand? Really?

Fotis: Yes, but here's the thing that I've never understood. You're sitting watching me. Why can't I sit too? It just seems unfair. Tell you what. If the audience stands during my show, I'll stand, too. I guess, in the end, I'm making a statement about how there's too much blocking in Twin Cities Theater.

 

The Fringe Facts

This is year 15 for the Minnesota Fringe, meaning as an institution it's almost old enough to get a driver's license. Putting aside the fact that institutions are intangible entities that can't possibly take the wheel of a motor vehicle, this is a good time to mention that the Fringe is very accessible to those traveling by foot, bicycle, or Metro Transit: The shows are grouped in the Minneapolis neighborhoods of Uptown, the West Bank, and Northeast. There are a whopping 156 shows this year, and the festival is set up both for those who prefer to dip their dainty toe and those who opt to plunge into the deep end and stay there. Everyone 12 years and older must buy a $3 Fringe admission button before purchasing any tickets (shades of Ticketmaster, but oh well). From there you can tailor your options. Single adult tickets run $12, kids under 12 get in for $5. Seniors, students, and MPR members pay $10. For $50 you can get a five-show punch card, which you can share with friends to enjoy the discount. A 10-show punch card goes for $90. And if you can't get enough, $150 will buy the Ultra Pass, which allows you into as many shows as you can manage. The box office for each show opens a half hour before curtain, seating begins 10 minutes before show time, and all seating is general admission. To make reservations call 651.209.6799, or hit the web atuptowntix.com. For updates, blogs, and general Fringe indulgence, check in through the week at fringefestival.org.

This year's closing night party is at First Avenue on Sunday night starting at 9:00 p.m. You can also check in at Fringe Central at Bedlam Theatre, starting at 4:00 p.m. weekdays and noon weekends—a great stop for beer, wine, soft drinks, food, and a community vibe.

 

Bryant-Lake Bowl, 810 W. Lake St.Interact Center, 212 3rd Ave. N. #140Intermedia Arts, 2822 Lyndale Ave. S.Lab Theater, 700 N. 1st St.Minneapolis Theatre Garage, 711 Franklin Ave. W.Mixed Blood Theatre, 1501 Fourth St. S.The Playwrights' Center, 2301 E. Franklin Ave.Ritz Theater, 345 13th Ave. NESouthern Theater, 1420 Washington Ave. S.Theatre de la Jeune Lune, 105 N. 1st St.U of M Rarig Center, 330 S. 21st Ave.  

Bring Your Own Venues:

  • Kieran's Irish Pub, 330 2nd Ave. S.
  • McMahon's Pub, 3001 E. Lake St.
  • Red Eye Theater, 15 W. 14th St.
  • The Soap Factory, 518 2nd St. SE

 

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