My Writings. My Thoughts.
After writing yesterday’s post and realizing that we go on tour to Kansas City on Saturday (holy crap), I decided to investigate what the KC Fringe has to offer. I mean, everything’s up to date there*, so there has to be something good. In fact, there are a lot of interesting-looking shows. And they have film! And music! And visual art! Points for diversity. Here are just a few of the theatrical shows I’m intrigued by:
-“Boobs, Burlesque, and The Bard” by Bee’s Knees Burlesque (tickets here). Do I even have to describe why I’m interested in this? This show sounds like a beautiful medley of my favorite things. There’s Shakespearean improv, near and dear to my heart, there’s just plain Shakespeare, and then there’s burlesque. Not to mention a good old-fashioned alliterative title. Sold.
-“Dances of India” by Nritya (tickets here). I studied Kathak, the northern version of Indian classical dance (bharatanatyam being the southern version) in Delhi a few years ago, inspired by a bharatanatyam performance of “The Ramayana” that Carleton brought to campus. Classical Indian dance is an amazing mixture of advanced technical skills (nritya) and beautiful storytelling (natya), and I’ll go see it whenever and wherever I can.
-“Goodbye, Kansas: A New Musical” by Seth Golay and Frankie Krainz (tickets here). A musical that uses bluegrass, klezmer, and ’80s new wave music to document the mind of a woman dealing with mental illness and religious phantasmagoria. Knee-jerk reaction: COOL. We love it when musicals take on dark themes, and I’m excited about all these musical styles they mention. Who doesn’t like a good trip?
-“Khan! The Musical” by Roddenberry Pie (tickets here). Oh my gosh, you guys. The poster spells it, “KHAAAAAAAAAAAN! The Musical.” Yeah, that’s right–Star Trek melodrama for the win! Also, these are our brethren. Fellow “The Musicals” have to stick together. The only other thing I have to mention is that the last line of their description is “set phasers to laughter.” And I will.
-“Descendant of Dragons” by Maximum Verbosity (tickets here). I had a moment of “Ohh!” when I realized that phillip andrew bennett low (capitalization his) of Maximum Verbosity was the same guy we met at our last showcase. Max took a video on his iPhone and insisted to see phillip’s shirt, and said shirt mentioned this show. It’s a one-man show about being Chinese-American, and won the “Best-Selling Show in its Venue” at the ’07 Minnesota Fringe. phillip is great with words (I know this for a fact!) and I think this show will be great.
-“THRILL ME: The Leopold and Loeb Story” by HYBRID: A theatre collective and Fishtank Performance Studio (tickets here). I’ll be honest–the picture of two gorgeous men with specks of blood on their faces sold me. I was sort of hoping for a vampire story (these guys look like they’re straight out of True Blood) but serial killers are interesting too. Again, part of the “dark musical” genre, which happens to be my favorite genre. Hoping this musical about “the perfect crime” turns out to be “the perfect show.”
Anything I missed that you’d like us to check out in KC? I’ve gone about as fur as I can go**.
* Yes, I will be making “Oklahoma!” jokes from now until we get back to the Twin Cities.
**Yep. We’re doing this.
I’m spending the day in bed after a week of showcases and hardcore rehearsing, and there’s nothing like not being able to speak for making you appreciate a. being able to type and b. the hard work that people put into their art.
Showcases have been a lot of fun, even considering that yesterday our amp went out and we did most of “Minneapolis” a cappella. We’re even making friends with the people who aren’t freaked out at how weird we are!
Here’s a little list of some of the shows the cast is really excited to see after having seen the showcases:
-“Idiosynchronicity” by Rob Callahan (tickets here). In his preview, Rob does a spoken word piece (complete with audience snapping) about a beehived “nerdy Aphrodite” whom he met at a bar. We laughed hard enough to prove our geekiness at his references to the “Buffy Bot” (she’s hotter than), Star Trek, and “Firefly Season 2” (she’s intense enough to own). I think we all identified with the twist, too. We can’t wait to see what else is in store in this one-man show.
-“St. Christopher of Financial Aid” by Christopher Kehoe and the Peanut Butter Factory (tickets here). Another one-man show (after having done a solo show myself, I have a soft spot for ’em). Christopher snaps from “professional voice” to “normal person reacting to ridiculous clients” to “caller from hell” in a split second, and the audience is on his side in about that amount of time. This guy’s a pro.
-“The Anton Kissbougel Technique” by Dylan Fresco (tickets here). No matter how many times Dylan has us visualize our favorite baked goods so we can “nutrify” ourselves and “digest more of life together” (and it’s been three times now), my cast gleefully follows his guided meditation. We’re seriously considering booking one of his 16-person classes at Balance Fitness for all of us. “The Anton Kissbougel Technique” is just close enough to real, touchy-feely theatre classes and just satirical enough to make it irresistible. Also: his eyebrows are EPIC.
-“The First Five Minutes are Slow” by Tamara Ober and Present State Movement (tickets here). The cast members who couldn’t see this one from backstage called it “hipsters with lamps,” and we still lovingly refer to this show as such, but it’s so freaking super cool looking. And hilarious. The actors were pursuing each other through a cave in the Fringe-For-All, and it morphed into a ridiculous dance party. Amazing physicality and fairly low-tech but precise special effects. Awesome.
-“Waiting for Biffy” by Kristen Stephen, Dean Hatton, and Renee Howard (tickets here). Mime! Star Wars re-enactments! Physical comedy! Really well-done escalator and elevator movement gags! Did I mention really convincing mime? Again. Awesome.
-“Bite Me Twilight” by Tom Reed (tickets here). As someone who appreciates good writing and knows her fanfiction Mary Sues, I kind of hate the Twilight saga. So I was very happy to laugh as Tom Reed skewered the show in physical comedy (playing a vacuous Bella, all of the male inhabitants of Forks, and of course, freaky Edward) and song. This guy is capital-F Funny and knows what he’s doing when it comes to satire.
We also can’t wait to see “Do Not Kill Me, Killer Robots” by Ben Egerman (tickets here) and “Rachel Teagle Believes in Ghosts” by Rachel Teagle (tickets here). Ben and Rachel are good friends from our shared Carleton days, and have been out-funnying and out-drama-ing the competition for all of the six years I’ve known them. We won DVDFest one year with a series of short films they put together. Together, they wrote and directed “Orange” at the MN Fringe two years ago, which made it into Matthew Everett’s top twenty Fringe shows and did an all-around bad-ass job. Ben’s been working with Bedlam up in the Cities lately; I’ve also seen Rachel do stand-up on ghosts and I know she’s got some great material there. These are not shows to miss.
All right, back to sleeping or playing Charades with Alex so he realizes that I want more ginger ale.
The Fringe-For-All was a really good time–we saw snippets of 29 diverse and exciting shows, got free M&Ms and candy (not to mention marketing ideas), took lots of show postcards, and oh yeah, performed a number from our own little musical:
We even talked to a Star Trib reporter about the experience of being in a “You have three minutes to perform and then you will be clapped off the stage” situation. (If you listen closely to the video you can hear me say “Make out!” under my breath because I’m so worried we won’t make it to the kiss.)
Here’s the really exciting thing: we got our first review based on our showcase! Matthew Everett goes Fringe-tastic every year and reviews pretty much everything. Jenny and I met him briefly on Monday, and we’re thrilled to read that he’s intrigued about “Grind.” You can read his review here:
Curiosity piqued? Then come see us perform TONIGHT at Lyric at Carleton Place, 765 Hampden Ave. S, St. Paul at 7:30PM. More info at fringefestival.org.
Hope to see you soon!
I just love giving presents. So here’s one we wrote for IndyFringe, inspired by Independence Day (Get it? INDY-Fringe?! Gosh, we’re clever).
Also, and very important: Next Monday at 7:30 PM we will be performing in a Fringe Showcase/Fringe-For-All at the History Theater in Minneapolis. We’ll be doing a 3-minute song, and we’d love to see you there. Best of all, it’s free!
Here’s more information: Fringe Showcase
And if you’re very good, we might even have some videos for you soon.
Happy Fourth of July, everyone!
As a little holiday present, we present an ode to our national beverage: coffee.
Actually, this is a rehearsal recording of our opening number, “Pick Me Up.” We worked on it for a couple of hours yesterday and we’re pretty happy with how it’s coming along. This isn’t a final version of the song, nor is it as polished as it will be, but it’s a nice feel for the beginning of our show, so we’d like to share it with you.
Warning: Strong language used by actors making mistakes.
Have a great holiday, and we hope to let you hear more songs soon!
Today we officially finished the (probably…maybe) final draft of the show and put it on its feet. I can say, with no bias whatsoever, that it is the best thing that has ever happened to the stage. (Spent nine hours on this show so far today. Let me have this one.)
For real-real, though, our opening number, “Pick Me Up,” sounds fantastic, and “People-Watching” will be a ton of fun. We also finished “Daniel’s Sermon” today, and thoroughly confused the cast with the mixed parables our homeless prophet cites. My favorite moment in rehearsal was making cast members cry as we ran through “Dylan’s Song” for the first time. Not a bad sign. (Okay, my real favorite was Max doing his rap in a Jamaican accent.)
Happy Fourth of July, everyone! We’re off to see Toy Story 3 and cry some more.
The easiest way to make sure you can get in to see the show is to buy your ticket in advance! General admission is $12, student price is $10. Get them before they’re gone! Click here or go to http://www.fringefestival.org/2010/show/?id=1341 to get more info, browse other shows, and get your ticket!
And of course…
WE WROTE A TWITTER SONG ABOUT IT!
Love to you all!
These are addictive. I’ve been justifying these songs by telling myself that it’s practice for full-length songs.
Want one for yourself? Then retweet something about @grindthemusical to your Twitter followers! This offer may not last, so hop to it!
(Sorry, Siri, it’s just too much fun.)
We’re doing something special! I offered, partly in jest, to write songs for our Twitter followers and Alex called me on it, so we’ve been writing 140-character (or fewer) songs for people who retweet us or help us get followers. I could probably keep doing this for days and it wouldn’t get old to me.
Here they are…
Follow us at @grindthemusical and retweet us, and you could have your very own Twitter-username-based song!
We at Theatre Undeclared love collaborating to make new shows, and our previous production, “Liberal Arts: the Musical!” exemplified that process. Group-written over ten weeks, and then improved over a summer, LA:tM played to sold-out crowds every night of its two runs. Until we get some videos of “Grind” together, check out Liberal Arts to get a feel for Theatre Undeclared! FYI, back then we were still producing under our old company name, “Uncommon Time”.