Friday, August 6, 2021

Minnesota Fringe Festival 2021: "The Convent of Pleasure"

Day: 1

Show: 2

Title: The Convent of Pleasure

By: Theatre Pro Rata

Performance Type: Live In Person

Location: Wood Lake Nature Center Amphitheater (outdoors)

Length: 90 minutes

Summary: A hilarious modern adaptation of the 17th Century play of the same name about a woman who forsakes the company of men, founding a commune of women who dedicate their life to pleasure.

Highlights: Theatre Pro Rata got their start at the Minnesota Fringe Festival 20 years; one of the many benefits of this festival is that it supports artists in such a way that allows companies like this to form and expand beyond the festival that birthed them. Local playwright/actor/comedian/baker Heather Meyer's play is one of those "ghost plays" that was supposed to premiere in the summer of 2020, and happily it is finally seeing the light of day. This fantabulous all-female cast really brings out all of the humor in the script (of which there is much), as well as the emotion in the sweet love story between Lady Happy (the delightful Boo Segersin), who uses the money her father left her when he died to create the Convent and live only for the immediate pleasures of all of the senses, and Princess Principle (a serene Megan Kim), who loves Lady Happy but longs for commitment. Kelsey Laurel Cramer, Nissa Nordland Morgan, and Taj Ruler play Lords Somewhat, Sortof, and Soso, who try to woo the ladies, devilishly twirling their greasepaint mustaches. Ankita Ashrit, Lynda Dahl, and Kayla Dvorak Feld flit across the stage and grounds as Lady Happy's companions, while Meri Golden frets as her mistress of accounts. And can we talk about the costumes? So fun, colorful, and playful, with flowers and hats and frills to spare (designed by Mandi Johnson). There's a reason I chose this show to see on the first night of the Fringe - a company that's been doing good work for 20 years, a strong cast, the feminist theme, and the promise of laughs make this a must-see.

Read all of my Fringe mini-reviews here.