Liv Augusta (right) in a Goof Goof show.
This installment of the Fringe File series on the Minnesota Fringe Festival shines a spotlight on Liv Augusta. Augusta is a co-creator of (a) Normal Theatre Play, a piece grounded in absurdist theatre and ridiculing the meaninglessness inherent in the world.
When did you do your first show in the Twin Cities? What was your role and what company was it with?
I have mainly been an improviser in the Twin Cities. My first big show that I did after moving back to the area in 2012 was being a part of Creature Feature from 2013-2016. It’s a long-running, nightly improvisational show in the style of a monster movie. Doing that show gave me a really soft spot for horror and monsters.
When did you first hear about the Minnesota Fringe Festival? When did you do your first Fringe show, and what was it?
This is my first Fringe show, actually! I’ve been doing a lot of shows in the Twin Cities, mainly in the improv world, and so I’ve had friends in shows for as long as I’ve been performing. I’ve always felt guilty about not being able to see all of my friends’ shows so typically I’ve taken a vacation during Fringe to avoid picking favorites. So not only is this my first time being a part of Fringe, it’s my first time really going for it for seeing shows, too!
Goof Goof tests the boundaries of theatre with their adaptation of a classic loved by many generations. (a) Normal Theatre Play is inspired by the Absurdist theatre movement, Dadaism, and Pixar.
Your show blurb says that you’re riffing on “a classic loved by many generations” – what work is that and how did you first encounter it?
Oh boy, wouldn’t you love to know.
You mentioned that you’re both the show creator and an actor. Was being onstage always a part of the plan for this show.
Yes! Phillip and I are always on stage for Goof Goof shows. We typically have two types of shows we do and this is a new third type. We started as a strictly improv duo performing absurdist, movement-heavy improv. Since then, we added curating theatre experiences for people to take part in. My favorite of those shows was an hour-long adventure that took place in my house.
Doing a scripted show is a new adventure for us, but we wanted to make sure we were still very visible in the piece.
Many actors work some odd jobs over the years – some onstage, some off. What’s one of your oddest ones?
I think the oddest thing about my job is that I don’t work “odd” jobs. I have been an elementary school teacher and preschool administrator. My undergrad degree is in Russian and I also have a master’s degree in Public Policy – so, you know, very useful for acting.
You’re a convert to Judaism. How do you balance religious observances with your theatre/performing activities? Fridays do tend to be a show night…
Tends not to be much of an issue since I’m not particularly observant. Come see the show and you’ll probably have even more questions…
What was your writing process like for this show? How do the two credited script consultants factor in?
Because we adapted another work, a lot was drawn directly from the source text. My Goof Goof partner, Phillip, did the bulk of the writing. I punched it up and then we set it loose on our consultants.
We basically just brought in two friends who we trust to read it over and see what was missing, and what we should cut.
How would you describe the experience of seeing (a) Normal Theatre Play? Who should come see it?
A lot of what people are going to see in this show is very familiar to them, but with a Goof twist on it. We like to play with people’s expectations. It is somewhat interactive, but it’s as interactive as you want to make it, so no one should be scared away if that makes you worry. We’re also really excited that we were picked to have a show with accessible services available! We don’t know all the details for that yet, so keep an eye out for those details from Fringe.
What’s coming up for you after Fringe?
Basil was named one of Musical America's 30 Professionals of the Year in 2017.