in my humble opinion

Fringe 2008 - The 4th Annual Ping Pong Ball Awards


- The "It Doesn't Matter When You Apply" Award



- The "Damn, That Was Easy" Award



- The Squeaker Award



- The Not Long To Wait Award



- The Red Badge of Courage Award



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I cannot express just how much I was aching to blog the last couple of days. Seems like the Fringe Lottery was forever ago already - well, it's been almost a month, which is forever in Fringe time. Right after the lottery, I was out the door and headed back east to help my Dad celebrate his 80th birthday. Sick there, I returned sick, and was out of commission for several days. Then I was off again to help Mom celebrate her 70th birthday and retirement. Back again in Minnesota, I was determined not to let the lure of the blog keep me from getting some real writing done - as I'm overdue to get some serious page counts created on three playscript projects. So I held off til after my writing group meeting tonight, and now, dear blog, here you are. I'm a little bummed I didn't get more than four pages and some change done on the script I was working on, but I've only been back in town two days, and I was starting from scratch. A few pages a day every day over the next two weeks means I'll have more to show the group next time. The ideas are churning, and the characters are feeling chatty, so that's a good sign. Meanwhile, I'll allow myself a bit of blogging to break up the routine and get the juices flowing. Much to dissect and ruminate over in this year's lottery like always, so the fourth annual tongue-in-cheek Ping Pong Balls awards shall now commence. Completely random, totally subjective, just things that caught my eye, really. Take 'em for what they're worth. There's a world of change between now and then and if I know the Fringe, it's probably already underway...



Tuesday, March 4, 2008 at 9:47 PM



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The "It Doesn't Matter When You Apply" Award



Let's say, for the sake of argument, that the number each Fringe hopeful gets on the ping pong ball is assigned by the Fringe in the order in which the applications are received... (Anecdotal evidence suggests this is true, since it was mentioned onstage the night of the lottery that Maximum Verbosity's application was the first received, the day after applications were being taken, and they had ping pong ball #1. Tangentially - really? No one got it in the very first day? Nobody downloaded the application, filled it out, and walked it down to the Fringe office? Really? Guess Fringers aren't as obsessive as I thought they were...) This wonky little observation goes out to those who bemoan the laws of chance. Out of ping pong balls 1 through 10 - six got in - over half. Out of ping pong balls 268 through 277 (the last ten applications received) - six got in - over half. Out of ping pong balls 134 through 143 (let's call them the middle ten, right in the center of the list) - five got in - half. So it really doesn't matter when you apply, so long as you do. I'm not arguing for everyone to wait til the last minute, far from it. But since the lottery's been instituted - obsessive compulsives and procrastinators alike get an even playing field. Nice.



category: Ping Pong Ball Awards Tuesday, March 4, 2008 at 10:01 PM



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The 'Damn, That Was Easy' Award goes to...



Young Artists Council and their show Reefer Madness "A musical based on the 1936 anti-marijuana propaganda film of the same name. It's a tongue-in-cheek comedy about the perils of drugs, sex and general moral turpitude." They were the first ping pong ball of the night drawn, as part of the 75 minute slots' special lottery. So the suspense was out of the way pretty quick for them. Plenty of time to nip outside for a smoke... Oh... They were probably pretty mellow anyway.



This award also goes out to the guys at No Refunds Theatre Co. (who were the first ping pong ball drawn in the general lottery after the special lotteries were dispensed with) and their hilarious and topical adaptation of Sun Tzu's, The Art of War "The 3,000 year old manual on war's practice and philosophy adapted by Charlie Bethel with Matt Dawson. Used throughout history by generals and businessmen with ruthlessly effective results, ignored by countless politicians with ruthlessly not-so-effective results. Now on stage! And funny! There will also be a mambo." I saw their original outing with this one, and it's perfect Fringe fare. 5 stars, in fact. I was rightly chastised by a fellow theatergoer for leaving out the mambo in my review. It's a highlight in a show full of them. I'm happy I get to share it again with Mom this time. They just opened a new show - a graphic novel for the stage called What's Done In the Dark - which I'm happy to say I get to see this weekend. After partaking of Sun Tzu's, The Art of War , I can recommend this one sight unseen. Don't wait til the Fringe to catch No Refunds in action. But when Fringe rolls around, they should be on your list for sure. More on them in the near future. Learn more about them and their theatrical creations at www.norefundstheatre.com '



category: Ping Pong Ball Awards Tuesday, March 4, 2008 at 10:26 PM



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The Squeaker Award goes to...



Urban Samurai Productions the very last ping pong ball to be drawn for the general lottery before they had to start the wait list (phew!) Their initial notice... Musical the Musical! "A musical parody of musicals. Each song more hysterical than the last as the lyrics and choreography continually comment on themselves." The Samurai, too, have a production coming up in advance of the Fringe, in April. American Apathy "Despite their Fiber Boost Juicer 5000 and 28 passenger SUV, Ron and Judy are sensing a void in their lives. The TV assures them that it’s nothing their credit cards can’t handle, but when imminent bankruptcy looms large they may be forced to wake up from their 'blissful' American Dream. Don’t miss this new comedy by acclaimed local playwright Aaron Christopher." (They aren't kidding about the acclaimed part. Check out their previous reviews of past productions. The critics are liking them.) American Apathy is playing at Fringe venue the playwrights center. Details at www.urbansamuraipro.com I've been missing their productions, though they've increasingly caught my eye. So I'm looking forward to rectifying this blank spot in my theatergoing - sooner rather than later...



category: Ping Pong Ball Awards Tuesday, March 4, 2008 at 10:43 PM



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The Not Long To Wait Award goes to...



Baby In The Box (the first ping pong ball to be drawn for the waiting list for this year's Fringe - come on, you know *someone's* gonna drop out. Several someones. But at the very list one...) and their aptly titled... Squirrels in My Roof "A pregnant mother battles the squirrels in her roof."



category: Ping Pong Ball Awards Tuesday, March 4, 2008 at 10:58 PM



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The Red Badge of Courage Award goes to...



Kamikaze Action Group the very last ping pong ball to be drawn for the wait list at night's end for the Fringe lottery this year The Fringe show we're unlikely to see this year... May "Young versus old, joy versus gloom and life versus death in this classic Hungarian play set during WWII" Bummer. Sounds kind of cool.



category: Ping Pong Ball Awards Tuesday, March 4, 2008 at 11:07 PM


© Matthew A Everett
matthewaeverett.com