This is a guest post by Emily Cutts.
Each year hundreds of actors, directors, and playwrights gather in Minneapolis to perform for the Minnesota Fringe Festival. The 11 day long festival, from August 5th-15th showcases plays from across the county and the state.
This year, the Fringe will showcase 169 different productions. The shows range from comedies like An Adult Evening of Shel Silverstein, from Evil Temptress Productions, to the technology driven show #Ringtone, from Alan Berks and Company.
So what exactly is the Minnesota Fringe Festival?
Since 1993, the Fringe Festival has been serving up original and innovative theater productions for Minneapolitans. Each production is no longer than an hour and tickets are only $12 (plus a $4 button that all festival-goers must purchase). The short performances and reasonably priced tickets allow viewers to see as many productions as possible and experience the Fringe in its fullest.
Sounds like fun. But TC Jewfolk is a Jewish blog. What’s the connection?
The Fringe brings artists from all backgrounds and walks of life. With 169 different productions, there were bound to be a few Jewish connections in there:
- “Do Not Kill Me, Killer Robots!” – Benjamin Egerman. An underground bunker. The near future. Step into the shoes of a killer robot about to slaughter the world’s last living actor. Which is me. An evening of low budgets, high camp, major dork appeal, and robots.
- “The Anton Kissbougel Technique” – Dylan Fresco. Yoga? Meditation? Touchy-feely theater class? Try the newest new-age health discipline! It’s a 100% interactive “workshop” and a loving ode to every class that’s asked you to connect with the floor and release.
- “The Princeton Seventh” – James Vculek. A twisty, sad mystery of a comedy. Two men walk into a bar. It’s not the start of a joke, it’s the start of a hundred jokes. And some twists. The #5 show from the 2005 Fringe, starring Ari Hoptman (a huge hit at past Fringe shows and the Mpls Jewish Humor Festival) and Alex Cole.
- “#Ringtone” – Alan Berks. Six characters. In search of a good connection. Multimedia. Site specific. Mixed genre. #unintended consequences of technology revolution. #authenticity #privacy v. TMI #LOL #GR8 #CU there
- “Entwined” – Amy Salloway. A dubiously romantic road trip to the World’s Biggest Twine Ball evolves into a frantic festival of love and loneliness in this brand-new yarn from “hilarious, honest and unsparing” Fringe fave Amy Salloway.
- “Hansel and Gretel the End of a Legend” – Florence Fisch-Hacham (coming to Fringe from Israel). A fairy tale combined with autobiography evolves into a touching drama bringing the viewpoint of a girl telling her family story, touching identity issues, immigration, parents-kid conflict and more.
How Can I Win The 10 Free Tickets?
TC Jewfolk is giving away 10 free tickets to one lucky reader to see any productions of their choosing anytime during the Fringe, August 5th -15th. Enter our raffle for tickets (names will be drawn randomly from The Hat) by answering this question in the comments below by midnight on Monday, August 2nd. Who is your favorite Jewish playwright and why?
(image courtesy of the Minnesota Fringe Festival)
What a cool contest! I’d like to add this: Pardon My French! A show about teachers, high school, and the best and worst moments from a modern day public high school classroom. Funny, moving, and plus: there are swearing lessons. Don’t miss it!
Favorite Jewish playwright is woody allen for umpteen films, spielberg for shindler’s list, and isaac b. singer for all of his great folklore adapted to plays.
Have to go with Aaron Sorkin. “The West Wing” was the best show on television with dialogue that crackled, intersecting story-lines that kept one thinking, and beautifully drawn characters.
Mel Brooks. I love The Producers, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, Robin Hood: Men in Tights and Dracula: Dead and Loving It.
Sholem Aleichem because his name is really cool.
My husband LOVES The Manchurian Candidate so I would say George Axelrod.
Stacey Levin, author of the PLAY (not a movie, not a tv show :P) “Autistic License” which has been on stage here in our own Twin Cities. Jewish actor Michael Levin has played the role of their son, Geordy, and Jewish actor (and former Jewish youth group advisor)Damon Brooks has been in the production as well. It’s an amazing script, and an impactful and challenging story.
My favorite Jewish playwright is Tony Kushner. His integration of social issues with compelling characters is brilliant.
I would have to go with Mel Brooks. Even when I feel down, he manages to make me laugh and lighten the mood!
My favorite Jewish playwright is David Mamet. “Glengarry Glenn Ross” quite possibly has the best dialogues ever written.
A voice oticeably unique as his writing which brought social taboos to mainstream America and started a discussion…
I’m not entering this fabulous and awesome contest because I have a show in the Fringe (ENTWINED!!!), but I wanted to pitch in anyway and say Arthur Miller, who was one of the first playwrights I deeply loved as a dorky kid obsessed with theatre – his writing clutched my heart and made me weep, it was so real and honest, and I understood, reading his plays, the relationship between playwright and actor — how a writer could give a character such a flawed and complex life on the page that an actor would YEARN to carry it into three dimensions and figure it out, from the inside.
Also, it is killing me that besides Stacey Levin :), no one has mentioned a female playwright, so… Wendy Wasserstein! What a beautiful, funny, smart, observant, generous soul she was, and gone WAY too soon.
P.S. Psssst….come see “Entwined”. 🙂
It’s a tough call but I am eager to select Oscar Hammerstein. Reason one: his fantastically popular musicals: The Sound of Music, Flower Drum Song (okay, not as popular), Oklahoma, The King & I, and South Pacific being my favorites. Reason two: He bucked convention by addressing social/ethical issues in his musicals, way way way before this was a politically correct concept. Reason three: Hammerstein was highly respected as a person.
Wendy Wasserstein – I saw “Third” at the Guthrie – loved it. Saw “Sisters Rosensweig” at Park Square – loved it. Saw Heidi Chronicles when I lived in NYC – yes, loved it. But I most appreciate how she gave back by starting Open Doors, a theater education program for high school students who would not get the chance to see live performance. 100s of kids have benefitted from this year-long program of seeing Broadway with a theater professional.
Mel Brooks, I loved Robin Hood, Men in Tights! Plus, he did many other awesome things! 🙂
Congrats to Sharon! We’ll be emailing shortly to hook you up with your tickets. Everybody else should still check out the great shows – Fringe is super accessible for all with affordable tickets, shows that are no longer than 60 minutes and fun, casual venues.