One of the things I love most about theater is seeing stories by people who are different from myself. As I looked through the show list for the Minnesota Fringe Festival, I kept the idea of unique stories in mind when selecting my top ten.
The 25th annual Fringe Fest takes place August 2-12, and it’s a wonderful way to celebrate theater made both locally and elsewhere. You can buy a token for a single show, a day pass, or an unlimited VIP pass. If you haven’t been to Fringe Fest before, I’d recommend picking out a show, then buying a day pass to see other shows that are either at the same venue or nearby venues. Now, onto the list!
African Roads, American Streets by Universal Dance Destiny
A family-friendly fun-filled show featuring a strong mix of urban & cultural performances unveiling a unique story of multiculturalism and solidarity- based on a childhood journey from Liberia to New York.
This sounds like the perfect show for children and adults alike. Check out the video – I love the mix of dance styles!
BollyProv: NOT a Dance Drama! by Bollywood Dance Scene
Bollywood Dance Scene brings you personal stories of immigration, assimilation, and more from the community. A new story every show, with some music, dance and improv. It’s something different this year!
BDS continually presents thoughtful and relevant shows, from addressing homosexuality in Indian culture to the mental health aspect of the immigrant experience. With splashy, energetic dance numbers woven throughout, they never disappoint. Also be sure to look ahead to MinneUtsav.
Broken English, Mother Tongue by minnerican productions
Stories of growing up between languages and cultures of Puerto Rico and the US. This post-hurricane update of a 2016 Fringe favorite will have Its east coast premiere at the juried 2018 NYC Fringe Festival.
As the daughter of a Korean immigrant, this is one of those shows that feels familiar yet different. And having missed it in the past, I look forward to checking it out, complete with update, as it’s more important than ever to know the stories of Puerto Ricans (especially if all you know is from West Side Story).
DREAMING by Gabriel Mata/Movements
With wit, leaps, kicks, and unpredictability, the dance shuffles through episodes that expose the psychology of dreams. Desire, experiences, turns, and movement make up this dance work.
The press email states, “The works dives deep beyond images, and sensations occurring in a person’s mind during sleep, it intertwines experiences of being a Dreamer (someone having Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). The work exposes the psychological and mental results that accompanies immigrants trauma. With wit, leaps, kicks, and unpredictability, the dance shuffles through episodes that expose the psychology between living experiences, aspirations, and dreams. This work is dedicated to all the Dreamers, who are still dreaming.” That says all I need to know.
Illinois Boy Blues by Deacon Gamzee Productions
Part historical, part stand up, part drama, Illinois Boy Blues is the story of an abandoned boy, turned bluesman, Romaine Ri’chard. He recalls his journey in life as a foster child, musician, sex addict and life-long resident of Illinois. We see that Romaine has all the qualities of a seasoned entertainer, but what’s preventing him from reaching his fullest potential? No one can tell it better than the man that knows him best, Raydius. This fallen star’s unraveling story will shine a light on racism, prostitution, fame and a little boy’s infatuation with the “Land of Lincoln.”
I honestly have no idea what to expect from this show, but I’m intrigued by everything that’s packed into this piece.
Lions and Peacocks and Snakes – Oh My! by CAAM Chinese Dance Theater
Lions dance a welcome, sibling snakes celebrate becoming human and golden peacocks strut their distinctive plumage as CAAM Chinese Dance Theater’s show highlights the role of animals in Chinese culture.
Like African Roads, American Streets, this show sounds great for people of all ages and an excellent way to learn about a different culture. This one falls into the Family Fringe category, which is separate from Fringe.
My 4 Bodies by Nightfox Stage Productions
A woman with multiple sclerosis and juvenile diabetes tells her life story in 4 parts, finding she needs to integrate the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual to accept herself and true love in her life.
Since it’s not easy to put ourselves in other people’s shoes, it’s important to listen to each other’s stories with an open mind. I look forward to seeing how Patricia Fox uses these four different aspects to tell her story.
She Says, “ENOUGH!” by One Dance Company
She says, “ENOUGH!” to sexual violence, to patriarchy, by making her own way, defining her own identity. This show explores how we say, “ENOUGH!” with our bodies through movement and dance.
I’m a woman. I mean, that’s basically all I need to say, right? #metoo
Swimming Against Fate, or How it Feels to Chew Five Gum by All’s Swole That Ends Swole
How many coin tosses does it take to make or break a friendship? Two non-binary teens struggle to keep their relationship afloat through the years in this non-linear play.
Gender is a spectrum, though many people still see it as a binary: men and women. If you fall into the latter category, then add this show to your list. And watch Gender Revolution. My brain still tries to put people in these two boxes since that’s what I learned growing up, and these things take a long time to unlearn. That’s why I make a point to see pieces like this: to help me continue seeing gender on a spectrum.
Walking While Black in Moscow by the Adventures of Les Kurkendaal
Winner of The Sold Out Award at The Rogue Festival in Fresno. Les has taken a trip to Russia. There are not many black people in Russia so this is a whole new world for him.
I personally know very little about Russia, so I feel like I shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to hear about it through the experience of a black man.