Stages: A Horror Play is based on an original Short Story by Phillip Andrew Bennett Low. Sometimes a show just doesn’t work for you. I admit I was somewhat lost in this one. I can say that there is a consistent dreamlike quality to the piece. The individual performances, costumes, sound were all well done. By the end, the final action solidified what I think was happening but I suspect that the point is not knowing until the end, so I’ll not spoil that. I think for me it was possibly the source material. This was the second show I’ve seen based on Low’s work and in both cases I felt that the use of horror in the titles, or subtitles, was misleading. I think the real issue is that Low and I are just not on the same wavelength and his style just isn’t going to be my cup of tea.
Moonwatchers is today’s The Stages of MN Fringe of the Day Award Winner! It’s a hilarious show about two moonwatchers whose job it is to turn on the moon each night and manage various night sky activities like having the cow jump over the moon and a comet fly by. It’s all pretty routine until one night they discover the moon has been stolen. While one of the moonwatchers subs in for the moon the other goes off in search of the moon rustler who made off with it. Yes, you read that right – they are not just a myth, there really are moon rustlers. This show gives you everything: comedy, music, comets, cows, and if that isn’t enough it gives you the moon as well, literally. It’s the kind of show that sinks or swims on the personalities of it’s two performers. Nigel Berkeley and Corey Quinn Farrell are two very charming moonwatchers.
I Love My Body and It’s Trying to Kill Me is not my usual type of show but I’m really glad I chose to see it. Katie Knutson is the type of natural storyteller who can feed you information through a narrative, like a sneaky form of education. The faux game show hook that opens the show and returns throughout is a wonderful way to point out some real absurdities in regards to our rights as citizens, patients and consumers. It also helps the information to stick with you longer because you have a visual cue as well as the audible. The show is more like a speaker’s presentation than a theatrical production, but these are important topics and worth making the shift in gears.
We Are the Sea is a production by Out of the Mist Celtic Theatre written by Laura Lundgren Smith. It’s a haunting and tragic cross between historical truths and celtic folktales. The reality is that Irish immigrants came over to America in what would come to be called “Coffin Ships.” The Folktale or fantasy aspect is that when the bodies were thrown overboard after death that the sea accepted them and listened to their stories. The show is filled with beautiful celtic music, get there early and hear the band play a few tunes before the show begins. There are strong performances particularly from Sage Hovet, Catherine Hansen, and Katrina Stelk, as three women who are trying to survive their crossing of the Atlantic. John Haynes gives an equally compelling portrayal as the heartless and murderous Sailer. No one is credited with make-up but whoever is responsible, particularly the makeup on Hovet and Stelk, deserves some special recognition, they looked like they were really on the brink of death particularly around the eyes.
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