"Genius!" "Original!" "Outrageous!" are words that get thrown around at the Fringe Festival like confetti, and even when the person saying them sincerely means them, they tend to lose their impact in Minnesota, where audiences give standing ovations to someone opening a checking account.
One word you don't often hear at the Fringe is "subtle," which makes sense; the Fringe is an unjuried festival—taking place in summer—that naturally leads people towards experimentation and bold choices. So it takes a lot of confidence to turn the dial down and hope the audience catches on to your slight-of-hand in the middle of the carnival midway.
The Anton Kissbougel Technique looks to be a just such a show, and had I not seen his preview I probably would have skipped it entirely, but now it's at the top of my list. It's a Bring Your Own Venue show set in a yoga class designed to teach a new yoga/healthful living technique:
Why I'm going to see this show: I've taken a few yoga classes, and while I enjoyed them and still occasionally do the exercises, there was always a point where the instructor would say something along the lines of "and now we're going to levitate towards the ceiling... and breeeeeeeeathe." The Anton Kissbougel Technique looks to hit the sweet spot between loving yoga/meditation and realizing the silly parts. Plus the performer, Dylan Fresco, nails the tone of voice and makes the presentation funny without winking to the audience.
Why I almost didn't see it: The marketing might be too subtle. The name is a problem—I can already tell I'm going to have trouble saying "The Anton Kissbougel Technique" at Fringe Central after a couple beers.
There are 10 performances of this one, but "class" size is limited to 16, so seriously consider making a reservation.
I'm going to save my discussion of how companies screw up their show descriptions for a later entry, because I want to clear the decks and talk about my "Fringligations," shows my friends are involved in. Fortunately for me, my friends are all really talented people, as well as being genius, original, and outrageous.
Warning: the rest of this entry is just me talking about the shows my friends are in. I'm going to be honest about why I'm looking forward to these shows, but keep in mind my relationships with my friends are more important than my relationship with you, gentle reader.
#Ringtone Alan Berks brings us the hashtaggiest show in the Fringe. One question, if I'm talking about this online, do I tag it ##ringtone?
33 1/3 Dates. Starring Kelvin Hatle, who is a terribly quiet person (like me) who's incredibly funny once you get him talking (unlike me). The benefit of seeing him on stage is that he required to be talking, and thus you'll get a much better impression of him.
A Nice Guy's Guide to Awkward Sex which has a pretty kickass title, you must admit, and features Ben San Del (which is a very funny name) and phillip andrew bennet low (a name in all lower case? cra-zy!). I've been purposely not asking about the show so that I can walk into it cold, but their Fringe for All preview got me hyped to see it.
An Adult Evening of Shel Silverstein. I get the feeling that they won't be singing "Slyvia's Mother," which is a shame because now I've got it stuck in my head. Another show who's Fringe for All preview made me feel very relieved.
Couch Aliens vs. the False World. Playwright Duck Washington and I go back to my first original play, so I'm pumped to see his show about a man, his couch, and the alien that lives inside it. It's also a play with Sci Fi/Geek elements, and that's always a sell for me.
Entwined. New Amy Salloway show. A storyteller of astonishing talent, I shouldn't even have to tell you to put this on your schedule. I mean, really, what the hell is wrong with you?
Flops! A New Musical Review. I used to own a book about Broadway flops titled Not Since Carrie, the premise of which was that all future reviews of bombs would begin by comparing it to the notoriously bad musical adaptation of the Stephen King novel. Yes, they made a musical version of Carrie, and if you go to see this show, you'll hear a song from it.
In the Weeds was written by and features Lacey Piotter, who's also in the Shel Silverstein show (and did a Christmas show with me, so it's like we're blood brothers). It's a about being a waiter, which is probably the best premise for a Fringe show since we stopped doing shows about kidnapping Dominic Papatola.
My Mother Told Me Sara Stevenson Scrimshaw and phillip andrew bennet low (again!) are my homies in this one. And I have no doubt that both of them love that I referred to them as "homies." On another note, I'm starting to get sick of talented people being in two shows. In fact, it's pretty unfair for some Fringe shows to have so many talented people in them at all, don't you think? Perhaps we could institute a Fringe Draft where producers get to choose actors/playwrights/directors. And then next year, whoever had the shittiest Fringe show gets to pick first. Would that make you happy? Would it!? Okay, uhm, lost my thread there. Storytelling and dance! Yeah!
Sex, Soap, Torture, Weather almost snuck under my radar, but as I sat at the Fringe For All I lept to my feet and shouted "Why, that's the lovely and talented Bethany Ford! Let us rise up, citizens, and tell the world that she is in this show!" And since I can't find their FFA video, you'll just have to accept my word on that.
Man alive, how long is this list? How do I know this many people? I can't know this many people. I'm not that friendly. Ask anyone.
Story Time Time Bomb! Tim Wick and Chris Jones are doing a kids show which should appeal to you immensely if you knew a) their collective talent and b) their twisted sense of humor. I avoid kids shows, 'cause I don't have kids and also they can be really awful, but I will catch this one because I know how funny this will be.
The Damn Audition Has it become a cliche to say you have to see this show? Joe Scrimshaw is funny, talented, and prolific, and he's put together a diamond of a cast. Just about the only thing I'm looking more forward to than seeing this show is talking to him at Fringe Central.
The Princeton Seventh I saw the longer version of this play two years ago and I'm a bit nervous to see it in a 60 minute venue because I'm sure I'll remember whatever they cut as my favorite bit. A clockwork script featuring Ari Hoptman, with whom I share a deep, deep Facebook friendship.
Waiting for Biffy Dean Hatton performs movement-based comedy which baffles my ability to explain how he does what he does. My favorite bit from years past started as an homage to 50s sitcoms, turned into a comedy bit about drug abuse, and then ended on a surreal note about the cost of it all.
Are we done? We're done. If I've forgotten any of my friends on this list, chances are my forgetting has ended our friendship. Recursion! My mind folds in upon itself! Up is down! right is wrong!
Now that that's out of the way, it's time to look forward to the Out of Towner's showcase tonight, and then seeing how the other shows I'm going to see measure up to their marketing.