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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.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Whoops. Was That Me?

First, let me just say

Woo-hoo! I got the good porn this year!! (Fist currently pumping.)

Dom, sorry to hear about your bad sex-show experience. This must be karma. I'm finally getting a teensy bit of payback for covering all those b-team independent shows for you over the years.

But anyway: I have a really embarrassing confession to make. For the first time ever, I actually spoke to the performer onstage yesterday. I don't know why. It just happened, like that scene in "Austin Powers" where he doesn't realize he has no filter from his brain to his mouth.

A nice crowd of 40 or so people were settled in watching "Curriculum Vitae," a show I found to be perfectly adorable, and the laughs were rolling. One woman (who was maybe drunk? I saw her finish a glass of wine before the show) kept responding audibly to performer Jimmy Hogg's anecdotes, letting out pained moans during particularly humiliating tales and "mmm-hmmm"s during others.

I guess I was just absorbed. Perhaps Possibly Drunk Lady had subconsciously convinced me that it was OK for this solo show to evolve into a call-and-response.

But anyway, here's how it happened:

About midway through, Mr. Hogg mentioned a girl he had fallen in love with named Cailie. "Just like that great pop song from the '80s," he said. "Does anybody remember that song?" And then, to illustrate his frustration that no one could recall it, he started to play air guitar and sing the chorus.

I, comfortably engaged in the show, didn't get the "Cailie" reference at first, but then suddenly recognized the song when he began to sing it. "Oh yeah! I totally remember that one," I said. Out loud. In a normal, conversational voice. Without even THINKING AT ALL.

Hogg stopped, amused, made a joke, and then LOST HIS PLACE in the script. "No one's ever done that before," he said, laughing. "You get a free ticket to the next show." And then he picked it up where he had left off.

And for a moment or maybe several, I wanted to crawl under the seat and die. I don't understand how or why. It just happened. I fear I have broken several cardinal rules of reviewing theater. The shame. The shame....

--Carolyn Petrie


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