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Fringe File #10: The Out-of-Town Previews

A collage of promotional images from the Minnesota Fringe Festival’s out-of-town preview event.

‘Twas the night before Fringe, and all through the house, there were squeakings and stirrings of Mr/Ms Theatre Mouse. The last step in the Minnesota Fringe Festival’s preview process is in many ways one of the most exciting: the touring artists showcase. On Wednesday evening, 15 touring acts presented their previews for the Minnesota Fringe Festival at the University of Minnesota’s Rarig Thrust stage.

In keeping with this year’s practice tradition of external hosts, the out-of-town previews were hosted by Les Kurkendall, a veteran Fringe artist who flew in from Los Angeles. The artists came from as far as Arkansas, British Columbia, and Quebec. Here’re the shows that they were promoting.

A Confederate Widow in Hell (Breaker/Fixer Productions)

An intimate horror dramedy, A Confederate Widow in Hell was revealed to the audience via a fake radio trailer in the darkness, interrupted in true horror movie fashion with a sudden live appearance.

A Tension to Detail: Gerard Harris (That’s Enough Drama)

A solo storytelling comedy show, delivered in dynamic form.

All is Bright (Shelby Company)

A piece with hard-to-describe humor, All is Bright unfolds in the middle of a Santa-themed pub crawl.

Destination: Everywhere (Broken Box Mime Theater)

An interactive Family Fringe show that invites audiences to join in games and learning mime history, Destination: Everywhere was previewed via a narrated mime show, with the actors transforming into different characters and scenery. Points for cuteness and simple yet engaging visual humor. The same ensemble performs in the main Fringe festival, for which it gave a second preview.

Get Thee Behind Me, Satan: An Inexcusably Filthy Children’s Time Travel Farce for Adults Only (Maximum Verbosity)

Arguably the most wordplay-filled preview, Maximum Verbosity’s preview turned the gumshoe genre on its side with a vast series of sly drinking-related references.

I K(no)W (Showgirl Awakening)

A burlesque performer’s memoir in storytelling form.

Man Cave, a One-Man Sci-Fi Climate Change Tragicomedy (Timothy Mooney Repertory Theatre)

Mooney, a veteran Fringe artist who spends much of the year touring, returns to the Minnesota Fringe Festival for the tenth time in a powerful solo performance.

Manic Impressive (Tristan J. Miller)

A rapid-fire of high-energy seriocomic humor.

Nerd Rage! The Great Debates (Komedio Comedy)

While the host may be traveling, the preview cast was local. They tackled the audience-provide prompt “Who’s sexier, Buffy from Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Scully from The X Files?”, convulsing the audience with laughter.

Quiet Riot (Broken Box Mime Theater)

The mimes returned to the stage for their main MN Fringe festival show preview, miming the creation of the universe to the strains of a Beethoven piano sonata. Hinted points of content include a Dungeons & Dragons game, “The Greatest Television Show Never Made” (entitled Snail Cop), and more. This show will run through August 6 only.

RELIC (Jessie Factor)

A visually striking, kinetic solo dance piece, RELIC‘s preview was answered with the evening’s largest and longest eruption of applause.

Songs to Caftan In (Plucky Rosenthal)

Rosenthal promised that the full show will include songs with “Come Meet All My Children” and “Yes, They’re All Plants”. Wondering if they’re actually there or throwaway jokes? You’ll have to come see it.

The Jew in the Ashram (Amanda Erin Miller)

Another solo storytelling show. Amanda regaled the audience with stories of yoga teacher training at an ashram, with the opposite of namaste-cultivated peace of mind.

With and Without (Jill Moshman)

A promotional photo for With and Without, presented by Jill Moshman.

Due to the constraints of a simultaneous, cross-town technical rehearsal, Moshman’s critically praised show was discussed in narrative form by Amber Cook, the Minnesota Fringe Festival’s artist liaison.

Twin Cities Arts Reader