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Minneapolis/St. Paul Spotlight: August 2009

Stranger Than Fiction

Kathy Kupiecki in Bard Fiction
at the 2009 Minnesota Fringe Festival
(© Scott Pakudaitis, Keith Campbell)
The first week of August sees the much anticipated Minnesota Fringe Festival in full swing. A notable participant this year is Bard Fiction from Tedious Brief Productions (U of M Rarig Center, July 30 - August 8). This Shakespearean retelling of Pulp Fiction is sure to delight fans of Tarantino and the Bard alike. Started as an internet wiki to reconstruct Shakespeare's allegedly lost play A Slurry Tale, this staged version has been shaved down to a manageable 60 minutes.

Other highlights of this year's Fringe include a one-man version of the Harry Potter saga, Parry Hotter and the Half-Drunk Twins (Augsburg College, July 30 - August 4), Tech Support: The Musical (U of M Rarig Center, July 30 - August 9), Sex, Lies, and Social Security (Gremlin Theater, July 30 - August 9), and The Harty Boys and the Limping Platysus (U of M Rarig Center, July 31 - August 9) in which sibling detectives the Harty Boys (played by sketch comedians Joshua English Scrimshaw & Levi Weinhagen) investigate a robbery at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Theatergoers looking for family fare in the Fringe might enjoy The Sleuth Sisters (U of M Rarig Center, July 31 - August 9), a radio drama about two child detectives (played by real children from the Harmony Theatre Company and School) called in to crack the case of the mayor's kidnapped daughter.

The 20% Theatre Company opens their 2009-2010 Season with After Juliet (Sabes Jewish Community Center, August 20 - 30). Set in the tense aftermath of Verona following the deaths of Romeo and Juliet, After Juliet is based on an idea from playwright Sharman Macdonald's daughter, Hollywood actress Keira Knightley. Those looking for a more "in-yer-face" theatrical experience will find it with Red Letter Theater's production of Sarah Kane's Phaedra's Love at Bryant Lake Bowl (August 27 - 30), based on the classic play by Seneca.

If you missed it the first time in 2008, you can catch the special return engagement of The Syringa Tree at The Jungle Theater (July 31 - August 30). Acclaimed actress Sarah Agnew reprises over twenty roles in this moving one-woman show about apartheid-era South Africa. Also not to be missed is the St. Paul engagement of Cirque du Soleil's Kooza (through August 9).

Dance lovers will want to see Cassandra and Jawaahir Dance Company when they come to the Southern Theater (August 13 - 23). Now in its twentieth year, Cassandra and Jawaahir Dance Company presents the best of traditional Arabic music and dance. Also at Southern Theater this month is Sopranorama (August 28 - September 6). Billed as "An evening of musical bon-bons," this evening features three talented Sopranos showing off with timeless classics and popular standards.

Bring the whole family to Off-Broadway Musical Theatre's production of Once Upon a Mattress, being presented free of charge at New Hope Outdoor Theatre (through August 8).


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