Sunday, August 13, 2023

Minnesota Fringe Festival 2023: "Primary"


Show: 34

Title: Primary


By: Alex Church

Created by: Alex Church

Location: Augsburg Studio

Summary: A longtime Congresswoman loses her primary election and her family all in one day.

Highlights: This show is donating part of their profits to Women Winning, an organization dedicated to helping pro-choice women get elected to positions at all levels, but the story itself does not make a convincing case for anyone to run for elected office. Elizabeth Young has sacrificed everything for her political career, and has the accomplishments to show for it. But when her adopted daughter Anna comes out as gay during the campaign, and she's dating a political reporter, it brings all of the issues bubbling just under the surface out into the open. Elizabeth's marriage is in trouble, and her daughter wants nothing to do with her. Adding fuel to the fire, Elizabeth's seemingly racist but actually supportive mother left the crumbling house Elizabeth's father built to Anna, and the two disagree about what to do with it. The political gets very personal in this drama, coming to an explosive conclusion. The show is well acted (including an unforeseen appearance by the playwright as Elizabeth, which, not having read the program closely, took me a minute to realize), with a recorded video of a clever spoof of a political ad opening the show, and gets into some real thorny awkward discussions between various characters (Anna is having some relationship issues too). Like I said, not the best ad for running for office, but good theater.