Joseph Scrimshaw, last bleeping "Deadwood": the bonus round

Alas, poor Swearengen, I knew him well . . .
Alas, poor Swearengen, I knew him well . . .
We sat down with Joseph Scrimshaw for an interview in this week's CP ("Home on the F---ing Range"). The occasion was the debut this weekend of Deadwood: The Last Bleeping Episode at the BLB, but in fact a chat with him was long overdue: with his prolific production and the founding of his company Joking Envelope, Scrimshaw has carved out a unique place in the local theater ecosystem.

After spending an hour talking about a range of subjects with Scrimshaw, it was clear that he's on a mission. Check out the Joking Envelope


, and you'll see that he's got a lot more going on than the proverbial Fringe Favorite: a full stage season, creative services for hire, and franchises of his plays being produced in the U.S. and Europe. None of this would mean much, of course, if his plays weren't truly entertaining and funny--which they are.

Here's a few bits of commentary from Scrimshaw that didn't make the article:

On writing and producing for the Minnesota Fringe's one-hour format: "Really, less is more. A lot of times I can communicate with one line, rather than the paragraph I wrote."

On the concept behind the staging of 2010 Fringe hit The Damn Audition: "Every year I've had a specific marketing idea or angle. I wasn't sure if it would work, but this year the angle was to take my popularity at the Fringe and combine it with the theater world--combine those two markets and make it an uber show."

On Audition actor John Middleton: "It's like when people say about someone that the camera loves them. With him, it's that the stage loves him. He does a lot of upstage acting--not in the sense of upstaging the other actors, but he has a way of looking back at what's going on downstage, and his reactions always draw your attention."

On staging a Fringe production for five shows, then seeing it all end: "It's always a particular frustration. I think about maybe marketing to other cities, seeing if another theater organization is interested. Maybe I'll just wait for another few years, when I can afford to do it myself again."

On the structure of Joking Envelope: "I run the business with my wife, Sara--she has a background in arts administration. But I hope to expand and get more people involved. I'd be happy if, someday, I was doing other writing and performing and the company was running with other people."

So, this weekend: Deadwood: The Last Bleeping Episode, the latest installment in the Scrimshaw ouvre. For a bit of Scrimshaw history, here's a video of the intro to 2009's Tragedy of You:

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