My Fringe Report: Aug 5 & 6, 2012

by Sheila Path McMahon


So the past few days have been very busy & I missed writing on the 5th, so I’m combining it with the 6th.  I do have reviews of all of the shows I’ve seen up on the website under Sheila McMahon, but I’d like to go a little deeper into some of them here.

I had the pleasure of seeing (in chronological order): Stop Talking: A Game of Talking; Silence; The Complete Works of William Shatner (abridged); Pilgrimage: Why I’m not an Indian, Parts 1 & 2;  Billy Beechwood and the Mountain of Terror and Candide.

Whew!  Of all of those, the one I most highly recommend is Pilgrimage: Why I’m not an Indian, Parts 1&2.  Especially if you are someone who has very similar tastes to mine.  I happen to have been researching about Native American history in Minnesota for my next novel, and a lot of this piece resonated with questions I have personally.  That’s why I was drawn to this piece, which is over at the Gremlin Theater on University & Raymond. But you don’t have to be researching for a novel or have a particular interest in Native American (recent) history to see that this performance is nuanced, clever, and thoughtful.  Elaine Magree  is an excellent story teller, I couldn’t take my eyes off of her.  I felt like I really got a glimpse of her mother and other characters she embodied.  It really is a treat.

The show that got the most emotional response from me was Silence.  The blending of hearing speakers, interpreters, and ASL speakers was fun and they played with the idea that the interpreters in charming ways.  But the core of that show was the young woman who portrayed Abby: Canae Weiss, local Deaf dancer and actress.  She is a beautiful dancer and a very expressive actress.  There was a moment near the end ( I don’t want to spoil it, but if you saw it, it was what happened while she was texting) that really seemed corny to me, and almost pulled me completely out  caring about the play, but it was redeemed by the dance that she performs at the end.  I definitely had tears in my eyes and I was moved to stand during the bows.  And the part I didn’t like?  I have thought and thought about what I might do differently, but given the time limit, I came up with nothing.  They sort of had to go there, and ultimately it worked.  I hope you have a chance to see this one.

For reviews of the other four, you can check out – click on reviews.  🙂  But my favorite of the fun/silly ones was probably Billy Beechwood and the Mountain of Terror,  but to be honest it’s because I have known Aric McKeown  for a long time  & I think he’s brilliant in everything he does.  

Today I hope to see Salem, Vote!, Analyzing the Bully,  and casual encounters.  But plans can change, so we’ll see what happens!!  Happy fringing! – S.