Fringe by Numbers: Storyteller Finds Support on Way to Fringe

David Lind has been a pillar of the theatre community in the Twin Cities for years now.  He is perhaps best known for founding TC Theatre and Film, the all-purpose resource for those of us in the theatre field.  He just recently sold the website in order to move on to other projects.  One of those projects is his theatre company, Zealots and Mystics.  Zealots and Mystics has been the subject of past preview articles that I've written, as David almost always has an interesting concept piece to throw into the mix during the Fringe.  He's put on a musical version of The Cat Came Back, and last year he did two one-acts called After Life, and this year he's branched out into the world of producing the work of outside artists. 

Sarah LV Martin didn't get into the Fringe initially, but Zealots and Mystics did.  David had an idea for a show, but it wasn't coming together as he'd hoped.  So, he had a slot and no show.  She had a show but no slot.  Is that your chocolate in my peanut butter?  Is that your peanut butter on my chocolate?  The two of them had an arrangement pop up that was just as tasty as a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup!  (I took that a bit too far, didn't I?)

So... Sarah is a storyteller.  It's a one-person show.  As I mentioned before I'm a new convert to the genre.  One thing that gives me hope for Sarah's show?  Her affiliation with Nancy Donoval.  Storytellers don't come any better.

The official website has this up as the show's description:  "Storyteller Sarah Martin attempts to uncover the face of god, living, peanut butter sandwiches, and the freeing power of failure."  Now let's see what Sarah has to say about the production and other things:

Q:  What prompted you to start performing?

A:  Two words – Nancy Donoval. I've been acting for a long time, like 13 years or something, but I saw Nancy Donoval tell a story at In the Loop's Story Slam on MPR. It was everything I love about writing and performing condensed into a five minute story about a witch under the bed. I was hooked.

Q: Have you done Fringe Shows before? If so, what were they?

A:  I was in last year's John & Abigail with Dream Machine Productions. Before that I had always known about Fringe, known a lot of people in it, but was always working service jobs that wouldn't give me the time off. I've fixed that.

Q: What inspired this work? Why the Fringe?

A:  Fringe walked right up to my doorstep this year. David at ZAM needed a show after he ran into problems with The Blind, which he had originally intended to produce. I had started solo performing a few months previously, and I had thoughts on what I would do if I ever got to do a long format piece. It was an ideal arrangement ... I'm fascinated by duality, the fronts and backs of things, the Rashomon phenomenon of life, when everyone's story is different but all of them are true. Fans of the late philosopher Alan Watts will recognize some influence there as well. Because this piece is experimental for me, there really is no better venue than the Fringe to give it life.

Q:  What are you doing right now to prepare for the Fringe?

A:  Well, I've been bringing pieces of the show to Ball's Cabaret at the Southern Theater for a couple of months. That has been immeasurably helpful. Trying to put one of my postcards in the hand of every man, woman and well-mannered child in the city of Minneapolis, which is surprisingly difficult given many of the theaters (even the Fringe venues!) are between seasons right now and therefore closed.

Q:  Are there any unique challenges working on this project?

A:  Lots! I'm all by myself, and I'm on the enormous Thrust Stage at the Rarig…so, set or no set? I don't *need* a set, but that's an awful lot of stage for nothin' but my five-foot-three self. What if my material sucks and everyone is too kind to tell me? What if I'd rather eat a pint of ice cream and watch Project Runway than go to "rehearsal" – who's gonna tattle on me? In all other circumstances, having other people invested in the show keeps me in line. Keeping myself in line has proved a unique – and valuable! – challenge. One I'll have to adapt to if I intend to do more solo storytelling. Which I do.

Also, because most of my solo material in the past has been funny, I checked the box labeled "comedy" way back 6 or 7 weeks ago when the show was still pecking its way out of the egg. Turns out…it's not a comedy. Who knew? The schedules are already printed, so I'm hoping to not run into too many "challenges" at the box office because of that.

Q:  What's your favorite thing about getting ready for the Fringe thus far?

A:  Meeting Leslie Ball. She might be the most supportive bipedal mammal on the planet, especially to artists, and extra-especially to sensitive artists like me. My show is very personal, and she's done a miraculous thing by creating an environment that feels safe enough to share it. Warts and all. Thank you, Leslie.

Q:  Will you be hanging out at Fringe Central this year?

A:  Sir yes sir! How cool is the Bedlam? Way cooler than I am. I'm hoping to show up and roll around on the floorboards in case it rubs off.

Q:  What are you reading this summer?

A:  I've got three books lying open in my apartment at the moment:

Words In Your Face by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz (next to the bed)
Even Cowgirls Get the Blues by Tom Robbins (next to the toilet)
Deception Well by Linda Nagata (on the couch, under my cat)

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