2016 Fringe Reviews: Days 1 & 2
As an artist at the Minnesota Fringe, I know a whole lot of people involved in the festival. It makes it difficult for me to write reviews and because I don’t want to torpedo anyone’s shows, I don’t write reviews on the official Fringe web site. Instead, I blog my thoughts here. If you are an artist and you read my review of your show, here are a few things I want you to know.
First: You made a show happen. I can’t hate you for that because I know how hard it is to make a show happen. Even if I didn’t like your show, I like that you gave it a shot. I like you for being creative and for being excited and for doing something with an idea besides thinking “wouldn’t it be great if…”
Second: Not liking a show is not the same as not liking a person. I know that’s hard. I struggle with it myself every time I read a bad review. I can have fifteen great reviews and one bad review will wreck me. I’m sorry I didn’t like your show. I really am. I want to like every show. I still like you, though. And I want you to try again.
Third: If I didn’t like a show, I’m going to try to explain why because saying “I hated this show” is useless. Saying “I think this would have made the show better” is helpful. Artists may not agree with me and that’s cool. But I know that they would rather hear someone say “I think this would have improved your show,” than “I just didn’t like it.”
Also, this year I am keeping a “Trump Count.” This refers to the number of shows I watch that make a joke about Donald Trump. I am not complaining about these jokes, mind you. I feel that Donald Trump jokes are vital in a world that needs to make it clear that Donald Trump is a joke.
I’ve seen eight shows so far. Trump count: 5
Friend a Day – Duck Washington
I’ve gotten more involved with Duck as a collaborator in the last few years and greatly appreciate the eclectic array of talents that he brings to a project.
Duck can be an actor, writer, producer, and/or director when the situation calls for it and he can do all of those things exceptionally well. He has a ton of creative and interesting ideas that differ from each other a great deal. Most artists will produce a lot of work that follows a similar path. Duck produces such a varied body of work, it is amazing.
He takes a very relaxed approach to just about any project. His response to any challenge seems to be a simple belief that he can do whatever it takes. I’ve never seen him stressed about a deadline. Instead, he is always looking forward to the next challenge.
I think it is his love of the new challenges and his willingness to throw himself into anything new that comes along that makes him so good at it all. He has a huge bag of tricks from which he can pull.
He also seems to love the work. When he shows up to rehearse, you get the feeling that he is happy to be there. He enjoys the process of creation, no matter what role he plays in that process.
As a person, Duck is laid back and pleasant. He’s a remarkably good listener who will often spend a lot of time absorbing what someone has to say before adding his own voice to the conversation. He’s a person with whom conversation is never dull.
Duck and have been collaborating more and more frequently lately and that makes me happy. When he becomes part of a project in which I’m involved, I know that it is going to be better than what I produce on my own.
I really enjoy the time I’ve spent with Duck over the last few years and always look forward to the next project.
Duck produces The Encyclopedia Show every month. You should check it out!