Friday, August 2, 2019

Minnesota Fringe Festival 2019: "A Confederate Widow in Hell"

Day: 1

Show: 2

Category: COMEDY / DRAMA / HORROR / ORIGINAL MUSIC / HISTORICAL CONTENT / POLITICAL CONTENT

By: Breaker/Fixer Productions

Created by: Willi Carlisle and Joseph Fletcher

Location: The Southern Theater

Summary: A widow of a confederate soldier and mistress of a great plantation returns to discuss the legacy of the South.

Highlights: As you can tell by the many category tags, this show is very many things. I saw this out of town company's crazy brilliant show There Ain't No More two years ago, and was blown away by the genius mix of music, history, and social commentary in a show about folk music. This show is that same wild ride, but with a more sobering and relevant topic - the legacy of the antebellum Southern economy built on slavery. Willi Carlisle plays the dead widow (as well as several other characters), come back to tell her story, while Joseph Fletcher is the headless sidekick providing sound effects and atmosphere. She talks about her legacy, which is the legacy of the South, and how it continues today. And it's not pretty. The show is entertaining, engaging, and creepy cool, with impressive lighting and sound effects for a Fringe show, not to mention transparencies and a projector, which always delights me. But below the surface is some pretty spot on and sobering social and political commentary, as the widow compares the current free market economy to slavery - the mostly white upper class still exploiting and benefiting from the labor of the poor and people of color. It's a lot to take in and a lot to think about in a whiplash 60 minutes of music, theater, poetry, and effects. The creators recommend the Southern Poverty Law Center for more info and action on the subject.

Read all of my Fringe mini-reviews here.

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