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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.






Tuesday, August 08, 2006

First weekend results

The first weekend of the Minnesota Fringe Festival drew attendance of 15,484, about 8 percent higher than last year's opening weekend.

The festival's first four days -- Thursday through Sunday -- produced its share of sellouts (including the Ministry of Cultural Warfare's "The Unbearable Lightness of Being American") and big-selling shows (like perennial Fringe favorite Joe Scrimshaw's "Die, Clowns, Die!" and upstart La Vie Theatre's "Wonderland").

But none of the Fringe's 160-odd shows have emerged as gangbuster, absolutely must-see productions that have become the talk of the festival. And that makes executive director Leah Cooper happy.

"We have a lot of newcomers this year, and not as many veterans" among the performers, Cooper said. "That means that there aren't as many obvious choices in terms of what to see, and so it feels a little more egalitarian this year. The audiences are spread around more evenly."

The 13th annual Minnesota Fringe Festival continues through Sunday at more than 20 venues scattered throughout Minneapolis. For a list of shows, go to www.fringefestival.org. For ticket information, call 651-209-6799 or go to www.uptowntix.com.

-Dominic P. Papatola

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