Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Fringe Festival: "Once Upon a Chalkboard"

Day: 8

Show: 24

By: The Last Magic

Created by: Tyler Michaels and Tod Peterson

Location: Minneapolis Theatre Garage

Summary: Two men improvise fairy tales based on key words from the audience, integrating sets, props, and costumes drawn on chalkboards by volunteers.

Highlights: Tod Peterson and Tyler Michaels (who play father and son in Joseph at the Chan, now playing) are the perfect pair. Both are highly entertaining actor/singers with a gift for thinking on their feet. They appear to be having great fun together and play off of each other very well. Asking for a suggestion from the audience (a prop or costume piece commonly seen in fairy tales), they create a story on the spot like some odd mishmash of every fairy tale you've ever heard. They each play a wide variety of characters, from a dinosaur to a guardian angel to a king, usually with some form of a British accent. The ask their assistants to draw various things they mention, and much of the humor comes in how bad (or sometimes good) the drawings might be and how they incorporate that into the story. When they can go no further, they end with a "and they all lived happily ever after" and being anew.  Of the seven stories they told at the show I attended, my favorites were the "river song" by an old poet and the young musician who happens upon him, and the passing on of the job of queen's herald. It's a jolly good time watching these two talented artists play.