Saturday, August 7, 2021

Minnesota Fringe Festival 2021: "The Darger Project aka The Darger Project"

Day: 3

Show: 5

Performance Type: Virtual

Location: Streaming Anytime

Length: 45 minutes

Title: The Darger Project aka The Darger Project

By: The Winding Sheet Outfit

Summary: Using the reclusive artist Henry Darger as a jumping off point, Fringe darlings The Winding Sheet Outfit give us a glimpse behind their process and what it's like to be an artist in isolation.

Highlights: The website warns us that this show is not about Henry Darger, and director Amber Bjork warns us in the piece that it's not even a show. What it is is a fascinating look inside the company that brought us The Memory Box of the Sisters Fox, You Are Cordially Invited to the Life and Death of Edward Lear, et al., and how they create their collaborative works, often based on historical figures or artists, and often breaking the fourth wall. It starts with an introduction of the ensemble (Amber along with André Johnson, Jr., Boo Segersin, Derek Lee Miller, Kayla Dvorak Feld, Kristina Fjellman, and Megan Campbell Lagas), recorded in each of their homes (whilst holding a creepy doll). We also see some of their the zoom rehearsal/collaborations, as well as footage of the cast in character (dressed in baby doll dresses and bloomers) in what would have been the Henry Darger show, illustrating some of the conversations. Each cast member talks about Darger, how they can relate him (including a list of what things they collect), and what this pandemic has been like as artist who is unable to make art in the way they normally do. The piece is both very well constructed in an organized fashion to tell a story, and raw, unrehearsed, and vulnerable. It's insightful and silly, a lovely look at one of my favorite Fringe companies.

Read all of my Fringe mini-reviews here.