It's that time of the year again. Actors don't return phone calls. Directors have a blank, "How late did we stay up to finish this thing?" look on their faces, and your theater-going friends arrive at work with fresh sunburns.
The Minnesota Fringe Festival is the greatest 11 days of the year. Choices are everywhere, but time is limited. how to choose?
Well, you can consult my 10 most intriguing shows at the Fringe in 2015 article. There will also be fresh reviews throughout the festival here at Dressing Room for additional options of what to (or maybe not to) see. I will also be live tweeting throughout the festival at @citypagesarts.
If those don't tickle your tastes, or you want to see even more, there are plenty of ways to pick out shows. A place to start is the Fringe website, which has information about each of the 170 or so shows in the festival. As the Fringe rolls on, you will also find reviews by people who have (hopefully) seen the show, or pieces that are trending on social media.
It's here where you can find out that actor and author Ari Hoptman has a pair of shows in this year's festival: the comedic Hope You Guess My Name (about the devil); and the not at all comic The Consolation (about a real-life devil, Adolph Eichmann).
Some of the best discoveries during the Fringe come while you're just hanging around, standing in line for a show or maybe having a drink at Fringe Central at the Red Stag Supperclub. Word of mouth has fueled many an unexpected Fringe hit.
I've learned a few things after spending a decade waiting in long lines at the Rarig Center or driving franticly from one venue to the next to make a tight curtain (there is no late seating at Fringe shows):
As every single road in the Twin Cities is currently under construction, it's a good idea to build some extra travel time into your schedule. The venues are clustered on the West Bank, downtown, Uptown, and Northeast, so selecting several shows in the same area can save on travel headaches.
Be aware that other events are happening in Minneapolis at the same time (shocking, I know). While there isn't a former Beatle performing at Target Field this year, the Twins are home this weekend. The Uptown/Loring/Powderhorn Art Fairs are also scheduled for the second weekend of the festival.
You can get everything from individual tickets to an ultra pass, which allows you to see a show in every slot on every day, with a couple of different levels of multi-show punch cards in between. Reserving tickets at the Fringe website will guarantee that you get into popular shows, though it won't save you from lines to actually get into the performance. This is a great opportunity to make new friends and find out what's hot for the 2015 Fringe.