Saturday, August 13, 2016

Fringe Festival 2016: "The Chair-Builders"

Day: 9

Show: 41

Category: Drama

By: Catalog Models

Created by: Gemma Irish and Mark Sweeney

Location: Phoenix Theater

Summary: A couple is building chairs for a dinner party, but really they're figuring out how to build a life together.

Highlights: It's another quirky and delightful musical from Catalog Models* (book by Gemma Irish, music by Mark Sweeney). This one veers into the realm of the fantastical, as a couple meets a woman (Megan Kelly Hubbell) who, in exchange for the two chairs they're attempting to build, will make all their fears disappear. They agree to the exchange, and without fears, their jobs in insurance seem a little unnecessary. He decides to quit and become a lounge singer. She decides to stay, but learn to juggle in her spare time. It's a silly diversion but brings up some important questions. How many of our life decisions are based on fear? Would we make different decisions if we didn't have any fear of the result? Or does our fear serve us in some way? The songs are interesting, well-written, and well-placed within the story (although I would have preferred more live music and less recorded tracks). The Chair-Builders is an oddly sweet little musical journey through life and relationships.

*Listen to Gemma and Mark talk about the process of writing the piece on Mark's podcast Twin Cities Song Story.