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Fringe Dwellers

Pioneer Press writers will be reviewing dozens of shows during this year's Fringe Festival. While traipsing from show to show, they'll have eyes and ears open to notable moments, odd encounters and unusual events. Those observations will be recorded here.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Box office shout-out

So I went to Kevin Kling's show last night at the Minneapolis Theater Garage. It was a madhouse, as you might expect, with throngs lining up for the show by the popular Minneapolis-based storyteller.

(By rights, Kling probably should have appeared in one of the Fringe's larger venues instead of the 136-seat Garage. But that, evidently, was his choice. Here's the explanation from the Fringe site:
In the run-up to Kevin Kling's opening night, we've been fielding a lot of
questions: Why is Kevin Kling one of the smaller venues? Why such a late

'Cause that's what he put on his application.

Venues and schedules are assigned by what the artists put down on their
applications. They can request a certain stage size, house size, technical
requirements, etc., and rank them in their order of importance. Some artists put
video capabilities as their top priority. Others—like dance shows—want side
lights or floors suitable for bare feet. Others want a certain number of seats.
Some have commitments other than the Fringe, so they can't have shows throughout the entire festival. And this year, our dear friend and ally Kevin Kling wanted a smaller house and was doin' stuff for the first part of Fringe.)

Anyway, we arrived a full half-hour early; although we had reservations, I was still expecting chaos. But things ran smooth as silk.

There were plenty of Fringe staffers directing people to the correct lines (reservations versus advance sales). The box office folks were harried but polite, and they had a solid grip on the audience count. When they ascertained they had a sell-out on their hands, the word went out with efficiency and compassion.

In other words, these volunteers did their jobs as well as any professional box office staff could have. I've given the Fringe box office system a few knocks in the past, but I have to say that the system seems to be working very smoothly this year. The Kling show was the acid test, and the Fringe folks aced it.

-Dominic P. Papatola


Blogger Leah Cooper said...

Thanks for the kudos Dominic. It's an extra gold star coming from you. Rockstar volunteers this year, and we're proud of them. The really big gold star goes to Allegra Lingo, Audience Services Director, and her unstoppable Mobile Monkey Rescue Team.

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