Minnesota Fringe Festival Day 2: Arsgang: What You Follow Follows You, Curtain Call: Letters to My Friend Louie Anderson!, Endometriosis the Musical (Winner of The Stages of MN Fringe of the Day Award), and Shoe Night.

Photo by Erin Dvorak Clark, Design by Amber Bjork

Arsgang: What You Follow Follows You centers around a Swedish folktale about a walk that some would choose to go on in order to gain foresight of the coming year. The story follows a young orphan Lajla, who was recently made only child, and her Arsgang journey. Created by the Winding Sheet Outfit it has they’re usual attention to language and sense of reverence to past cultures and customs. A spare but effective set consisting mostly of this bare trees that evoke a feeling visually that ties in with Lajla’s solitary trek. Beautifully written and performed along with being deliberately paced with music by Joshua Swantz and Amber Bjork that’s almost hypnotic. While all of those elements combine to give the show a unified feel and tone, it might not be the best show to attend in a 10:00 PM performance slot if you’ve been Fringing all day and not a night owl. I’d like to mention the costumes which I thought were really good as were the masks created by Derek Lee Miller who also designed the trees.


Curtain Call: Letters to My Friend Louie Anderson! consists of writer comedian Jason Schommer alternating between reading letters he’s written to his recently deceased friend Louie Anderson and performing bits of standup that revolve around the legendary entertainer. Like many Minnesotans I grew up with Louie’s comedy. His Guthrie comedy special was recorded off the TV and played repeatedly. My Dad, sister, and I would all quote from it throughout our lives. Both aspects of the show work well. In his letters, Schommer gets to express to Louie what he meant to him and how he misses him. In the stand up segments we get to hear stories about the real man. If you’ve been an Anderson fan as long as I have, getting that glimpse of the real person and having it reflect what you always hoped was true about him is a real treat. I had someone in my life that I felt the same as how Schommer feels about Louie. They are the relationships that we carry with us throughout our lives and the ones we’ll always miss.


Winner of today’s The Stages of MN Fringe of the Day Award is Endometriosis the Musical. It’s a musical about Jane Smith and her ongoing struggles with extremely painful menstrual cycles. Making things worse she lives in our world where far too often women’s health issues are controlled by men. This has all the makings of an intense social drama but instead it’s an hysterically funny musical. Written by Maria Bartholdi and Kristin Stowell this is sure to be one of the hottest tickets of this years Fringe Festival. Featuring a brilliantly expressive and all in cast lead by Abby Holmstrom that brings the house down with every song. Nothing is off limits and it confronts the sad truth that for many people, the subject of this production is something that should not be mentioned above a whisper and definitely not during dinner at Applebees. I urge you to reserve your seats now this one feels like a sell out.


Shoe Night is written and directed by Kelsey Norton who based the story on an experience from her own life. This effective one act, two character play deals with the phenomenon of ghosting. In this instance a young woman runs into the ex-boyfriend whom she lived with, went out of the country for work, then ghosted her. Resisting the urge to slink away unnoticed she decides that after four years it’s time she got some closure. The script avoids the treading water that can happen in a one subject show and is filled with details which give the show a feel of authenticity. It doesn’t drag nor out stay it’s welcome, and the end, when it comes, seems to underline the lasting damage this practice of ghosting can do. The show is anchored by two well rounded and naturalistic performances by real life couple Gillian Constable and William S. Edson. It’s nice to see a present day drama in the mix and it’s a nice palate cleanser between comedic shows.


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