2016 Fringe Reviews – Day 8
I like to play Fringe venue bingo. Basically, I’m trying to watch a show in every Fringe venue (not including any site specific shows). I very rarely manage to pull this off but I enjoy the challenge.
This year’s biggest obstacle (if you can call it that) has been the high concentration of shows on the West bank. With eight venues within walking distance of each other, it is very easy to park yourself on the West Bank for a night. I’ve done it several times already.
Getting to the Uptown and Northeast Minneapolis clusters have required actual effort. I only have one venue left so I think I’m going to fill my bingo card. I feel like there should be a button or something.
Another note on venue – there are two differing philosophies on shows in your own venue. Mine is to see as many as possible in order to support other artists. I’ve heard others believe they should avoid seeing shows in their own venue or they increase someone else’s chances of getting the encore.
Honestly, I don’t even understand why that second philosophy is a thing. If you lose out on the encore because a couple of members of your cast went to someone else’s show, congratulations! Your show was super popular too! Besides, how do you know those folks didn’t go see your show?
Support your venue buddies. It’s just nicer.
Trump count is still stuck at 10. I must have gone to all the shows with Trump jokes in the first few days.
Fringe Reviews – Day 7
I’m not going to any Fringe shows tonight. While there are a lot of shows left on my list, I have gotten into the habit of taking one evening of the festival off.
I recognize that my choice means there are some shows I won’t get to see this year. That, however, is already to be expected. There are 169 shows in the Fringe and just over 50 potential slots an audience member can fill. I know some people who will Iron man the fringe and try to fill every available slot.
That goal is admirable but I need a night away from the Fringe to recharge my batteries. I’ll miss everyone at Fringe Central this evening. That community of artists is one of my favorite parts of the Fringe experience. But I’ve got to get some sleep!
So no new reviews tomorrow.
I saw three shows last night, though. Here’s my thoughts on those!
Friend a Day – Ben San Del
Fringe week continues!
I’ve known Ben for a few years now. I think I was introduced to him when I first mounted a show at the fringe in 2007.
Ben, like a lot of my comedian friends, is always thinking about the philosophy of comedy. It isn’t enough to write a funny joke. It is more important to understand the nature of what makes jokes funny. We had him on Geeks Without God earlier this year and he talked about how one approaches telling certain types of jokes to certain types of audiences.
While Ben has written some very good plays, he primarily identifies himself as a stand-up comedian. He did a stand-up show at the fringe three years ago with a lot of material about being an atheist. The way he was so open about that part of himself got me thinking about how writers and performers integrate their beliefs into their work.
Ben is in Jumpin’ Jack Kerouac with me and I think he views it through a similar lens. We both feel completely out of our element as dancers but we enjoy the challenge. We are both also very happy that we are only going to be doing this once.
In rehearsing the show, I’ve gotten to hear some of Ben’s writing about being social. The thoughts that go through his head are similar to mine. He lives in his head all the time.
Whenever I talk to him, I get the feeling there are two layers of conversation. One is the actual conversation we are having and one is the internal dialogue he is having with himself about the conversation.
I guess we all do that but with Ben, I can actually watch it happen.
All of this analysis results in one very important by-product. It makes Ben a very funny and insightful writer.
Ben also once told me that he thought I was in my mid 30’s and not my mid 40’s.
For having said that, I think he is one of the best people ever!
In addition to Jumpin’ Jack Kerouac, you should check out Ben’s other Fringe show: Fiddlestick Conundrum!
Geeks Without God Talk About Atheism and Comedy
When we were off at Die Laughing, we snuck back to my hotel room for an hour to record an episode of Geeks Without God with Ben San Del.
Ben did a stand up show at the Minnesota Fringe a couple years ago and he spent a fair amount of time in that show talking about his atheism. I found it interesting that a comedian was so up front about that particularly divisive issue and have been wanting to get him on our podcast for a while.
The stars finally aligned and we had a great conversation with Ben about how he tailors his show depending on where he is performing and when he uses the soft touch to introduce skepticism into his comedy.
It was a long time coming, but I think the episode was worth the wait.
Fringe Reviews – Day 2
Last night, I watched four more shows. My Fringing will slow down a bit this weekend as my two shows open. Here’s the write up of what I saw yesterday. I apologize for the brevity but I’ve got to get ready for my shows at some point!
For the record, The Complete Works of William Shatner (abridged) opens at 1:00 today (Saturday the 4th) in the Rarig Thrust and we also have a performance at 5:30 tomorrow (Sunday the 5th). Stop Talking: A Game of Talking opens at 2:30 tomorrow.