Sunday, August 6, 2023

Minnesota Fringe Festival 2023: "The Windblown Cheeks Of Lovers"


Show: 11

Category: COMEDY / DRAMA

By: Mike Fotis Productions

Created by: Mike Fotis, Rita Boersma, and Tim Hellendrung

Location: Strike Theater

Summary: A mocumentary about the making of a fictional miniseries from the '80s.

Highlights: The 1980s were prime season for melodramatic TV miniseries, some based on books that few people read. This show spoofs them gloriously. It begins with a family settling down to watch their favorite show - The Windblown Cheeks of Lovers, which we later find out was loosely based on the book The Wind Blows on the Cheeks of the Dead by a Pulitzer Prize-winning author. When the TV turns on, these three brilliantly funny actors (Rita Boersma, Tim Hellendrung, and Mike Fotis, who also wrote and directed) step in front of a camera with a cheesy painted backdrop of a tree, and the footage is displayed live on the TV screen. Then we jump to the other side of the stage, where we watch a modern-day documentary about the making of the series, complete with backstage drama, a tragic death, and a sentient killer tornado. The three actors play all of the roles, changing character by adding one simple accessory attached to their waist by one of those pullout ID badge thingies, and donning an outrageous accent. The documentary reveals recently discovered backstage footage, achieved with another camera off to the side that displays on the TV screen in black and white. It's a fun and unique experience to watch both the live scene and the footage on the TV. There are a lot of moving pieces, a lot of characters, and a lot of accents, that combine for a ridiculous multi-media ride of a show.