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Action Theater Project


Location + schedule

Theatre in the Round
245 Cedar Ave.

DateTimeMy FringeAccess
Thursday 8/57:00 p.m.  
Sunday 8/82:30 p.m.  
Monday 8/910:00 p.m.  
Friday 8/1310:00 p.m.  
Saturday 8/147:00 p.m.  
About the show

For ages 12+
Comedy, Relationships, Queer/GLBT

Written by Gemma Irish

Overall rating

Morton has run out of ways to save the Thornton family estate from foreclosure, but when two antiques dealers show up and offer Morton a large sum of money for a particular antique chair, it looks like all may not be lost.

There is only one problem: Morton is in love with the chair.

With the foreclosure deadline closing in, how far will Morton go to defend his love for Yvette?

Yvette - the fight for true love

Sexual objectification takes on a whole new meaning in this farcical comedy when the object of sexual desire is, literally, an object. "Happily ever after" means something different when you can't legally get married. And sometimes autodidacts are the smartest people in the room.

If you have ever been annoyed by a love story, this show is for you.

What people are saying:

"The sharp writing in this comedy about two men — Morton and a pushy antique collector — who lust over the same chair for different reasons is a fun look at what people are willing to do for love." Pioneer Press

Five stars from Matthew Everett.

"[T]his wasn't just an enjoyable show for me -- it was inspiring, in the classical sense." (And you know "classical" is a big deal for p.a.b.l., amirite?) Philip Andrew Bennett Low

Hear Gemma talk about Objectum Sexuals, antique dealers, and gay love on KFAI's Fresh Fruit: 10th Annual Queer Fringe Binge

Joseph Bombard
This is Joe's fourth foray into the Fringe Festival. He has worked locally with Hey City Theater, Walking Shadow Theater Company, Theater Latte Da, Starting Gate Productions, Tenth Muse, MagicWord, Hamel Road Theater Project and Minneapolis Musical Theater, among others. Joe is a graduate of Emerson College in Boston.

Gemma Irish
Role: Writer/Director
Gemma Irish is a playwright living and working in Minneapolis. Gemma has a BA from Eugene Lang College, the New School, in New York City. Her work has been seen on stage in Minneapolis at the Minnesota Fringe Festival, Youth Performance Company, The Playwrights’ Center, and Theatre Unbound, and in New York at the New School, Café Deville, and Galapagos Art Space. She has also written for Garrison Keillor’s “The Writers’ Almanac”.

Patrick Kozicky
Patrick Kozicky is in this show. He has been in other shows. Some of the shows include but are not limited to: American Sexy (New Theatre Group), Lick! (The Mechanical Division), Diary of Anne Frank (Park Square), Cannibal! The Musical (The Mechanical Division) and Mr. Marmalade (Walking Shadow). Patrick is 28. He does not live at home (Hi Mom and Dad). He is not single (Hi Justen). Patrick would like to take a moment to remind his roommate not to cash the rent check until after the Fringe Festival.

Molly Miller
Role: Stage Manager

Isabel Nelson
Isabel Nelson loves Fringing almost as much as she loves ice cream. She graduated from Macalester in 2004 with a B.A. in Theatre Arts and Religious Studies, and later studied physical theatre and devising at LISPA (London International School for Performing Arts) from 2006-2008. In the past year, she's appeared locally with Live Action Set (The Happy Show), Four Humors Theater (Welcome to Dystopia), and Jon Ferguson Theatre (S. Gunter Klaus and the Story Before). When not performing in the delightful Yvette - A Love Story, she's busy directing her own Fringe show, Ballad of the Pale Fisherman, which she will shamelessly pimp in this space. Big love and thanks to Gemma for her unending patience with scheduling in particular and her artistic courage and support in life in general, and to Diogo for his unending love and awesomeness.

Michael Shannon O'Keefe
Shannon O'Keefe has acted in Minneapolis, Seattle, and Los Angeles. He has starred in multiple films, many of which you have never heard of, nor does he want you to see. He has worked with the Bedlam, Mystery Cafe, Radio All Stars, and Outward Spiral Theater companies, and is an accomplished voice actor. Shannon graduated with a BA in Theater Arts at the University of Puget Sound.

Sara Olson
Sara is happy to be back on stage in the Twin Cities, where she continues to play inscrutable, complicated mothers. She was last seen in Minnesota Shakespeare Company's production of Hamlet, in which she played Gertrude.

Yvette is pleased as punch to make her Fringe Festival debut in Yvette, which was named after her. She has appeared locally on stage at Theatre in the Round, the Guthrie Theatre, and innumerable other theaters. She would like to thank Sara and the other property geniuses at the Guthrie prop shop for her long and versatile stage career.

User reviews

Zany and enjoyable
by Justin Alexander Follow this reviewer
Rating 3 kitties
Yvette labors somewhat under the burden of her script, but she stands up well with the support of a dedicated and talented cast filling the play with life and passion.

The script suffers primarily from expositional excess, with "As You Already Know, Mort" dialogues and biographical monologues spilling from the characters' lips with ready abandon. It also suffers by creating a situation of high (albeit absurd) stakes, but then directly undercutting those stakes with a miraculous deus ex machina which conveniently obviates the need for any of the characters to make any sort of hard decision.

But where the show succeeds (and it does succeed) is in the performance: Everyone here is having a good time playing with each other, and the audience is invited to share in that passion and joy.

It might have been amazing with a few tweaks and a little polish on the script, but it is nevertheless a fun little show that sits pleasantly in the mind even as theatrical dusk turns to morning's reflection.

by Carolyn Elerding Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Irish is an artist of many gifts! One of the finest aspects of this production is that the supple diversity of the writing is supported and enhanced by the playwright's own directing--a great way to work. I really enjoyed it. This play would work well outside of the context of the Fringe Festival. Nice job!

A Chair By Any Other Name...
by Patrick Pfundstein Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
...probably would not smell so sweet as Yvette, which I liked quite a bit, though there were also some issues for me that held this back a little. A relationship is revealed/developed that is really nice, but which also reduces the titular furniture relationship's metaphorical level and thereby renders it far more sad (with tints of creepiness). Still, this new work grabbed my attention, and held it solidly throughout (something that is tougher to do after 25 shows in a week). I loved Isabel Nelson every time she was on stage, and the rest of the cast turns in great efforts as well. Yvette turned out to be one of those Fringe impulse stops that yielded a hidden (to me) gem!

by Fringivitis Vulgaris Follow this reviewer
Rating 3 kitties
Morton is a sad sack, but he adores Yvette - "chair-ishes" her. His mother is flighty, but his sister is clever enough to save the day. The covetous antique dealers were a delight to watch. Yvette is rather plain and has no lines, but she's a perfect McGuffin for this fable. The twisty ending has plenty of chuckles and head nods.

favorite so far
by Michael Fennelly Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
hilarious script, perfectly-timed comedy, top notch acting. I love the Grey Gardens creepiness of the setting/plot mixed with smart comedy/irony. The crowd was really enthusiastic, hanging on every word. great experience- professional production.

Smart, Witty, Well-Acted Farce
by Teresa Mock Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Well written, well acted, excellent direction. Each character added just the right voice to the mix. Excellent performances by Isabel Nelson, Sara Olson, and others. Very original subject matter presented very respectfully.

My Wife the Chair
by dixie treichel Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Ionesco meets Grey Gardens and beyond. Objectum sexuals are rarely portrayed in theater. A creative script, a unique topic and humorous show. Good to see gay characters that are woven into the script and aren't over-the-top stereo types. Well written, directed and acted. Go See.

Brilliant farce!
by Scott Pakudaitis Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Tight script, fantastic acting and a hilarious premise with some enjoyable plot twists.

A light, entertaining & well-done farce
by Derek Miller Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Poor Morton. He has a terrible choice: lose the hosue that has been in his family for seven generations or lose his wife, Yvette. And his mother has decided the wife should go, since the price she brings will more than pay what's owed on the house. Did I forget to mention that Yvette is a chair? Yeah, Yvette is a chair. It's entirely ridiculous, slightly disturbing, somewhat embarrassing, and damn funny, too.

This play is a farce, and a good one at that. The acting is broad, the lines are big often and boldly ridiculous, yes, but that is the farcical style. What matters more is that the actors are deeply committed to their roles and perform them with precision and energy. Every member of this cast has great comic timing and the guts to completely fill out absurd characters with ridiculous needs. The thing that I appreciate most about this play is that the actors are not "trying to be funny," by doing whatever random weirdness comes to their heads. Rather, the cast pushes their characters wholeheartedly forward and honestly toward the things that they want. Really, the only difference between drama and comedy is that in a good comedy the stakes are higher and the characters fight even harder for their goals.

And no stakes could be higher than the battle between Morton Thornton (Michael Shannon O'Keefe) and obsessed antiques dealer Andrew (Joseph Bombard) over this much-desired piece of furniture. Patrick Kozicky, as the antique dealer's stuffy, buttoned-down "assistant," provides an incredible number of perfect asides and impeccably-timed bits. Isabel Nelson and Sara Olson shine as Morton's sister and mother, who scheme to help keep Yvette in the family, though, mostly for their own selfish purposes.

I do have some small quibbles with the show. It could stand to have a few minutes removed from its running time, a few clunker lines could be left out, and O'Keefe's lovable protrayal of Morton seems to have been forgotten by the playwright during the entire middle half of the play; but this is still a quite an enjoyable hour of theatre, and the best play about a guy who falls in love with a chair that I have ever seen.

by Jennifer Schmidt Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
The acting was a little broad for my taste - and the script a little lightweight - but Yvette is still an enjoyable show and a great way to spend an hour!

Fun Night at the Theater
by Conor Thornton Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
"Yvette" is a fine time at The Fringe. The play is quick-witted, well-written and wonderfully directed by Gemma Irish. The cast is hilarious. There are several unexpected twists in the plot. All-in-all, "Yvette" makes for a lot of fun.

The BEST Fringe show!
by Sophia Shorai Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
I just saw this show on Sunday afternoon (along with 5 others) and I must say - every thing about this production is spot on! The comedic timing is fabulous, the cast is brilliantly entertaining and talented - no "over-acting", very believable and charming. And, the writing is beyond clever. I did not want to this show to end. This production ought to be the highlight of the Fringe this year!

fun and well acted
by vickijoan keck Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
I really had a good time with this show and it was my fave of the 7 I saw on Sunday. Nice premise and I like the way the conflict was resolved! plus it's SO good to see Sarah Olson back on stage!

When a Chair is Not Just a Chair
by Sharon Larson Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
We drove in from Illinois for the Minnesota Fringe and YVETTE was at the top of our list. This delightfully clever, superbly acted play works on so many levels, I wish I had time to see it again.
First level: Intimacy
The family in this show has three quirky members, all tied together by affection and dysfunction. The mother, yearning for a cigarette (and probably more than a cigarette), wants to save her family home by getting as much money as possible out of the antique dealers, whether or not the sale would harm her son. The daughter/sister, Madeline, long absent from the family, shows up just in time to support her brother, and put her nomadic experiences to good use. The brother, Mort, really just wants to watch the bees flit around the flowers and enjoy his one and only love. All the actors convinced me of their commitment to their characters--I was totally drawn in.
Another level: Buying and Selling
This aspect of the play was hilarious and profound. "The truest sign of respect is to sell..." or something like that, was a great line delivered by one of the antique dealers. The antique dealers' devotion to precious objects was spoofed beautifully, and the repetition of the name of the French book of hours that was so valuable was very funny in the deadpan way it was repeated.
Level Three: Capitalism and Love
This play works because the "cleverness" is supported by real issues. We so often confuse buying for love, commitment for purchase price, and intimacy for objects held on to. Because the play is funny and fast-paced, this message is not at all heavy handed. EXCELLENT JOB by all--Congratulations!
The chair rented from the Guthrie is a sad substitute for a "real" Louis XVI chair, which is kind of funny. The "book of hours" is way too small and well-bound to be a real book of hours. Thus one is reminded that imagination is powerful and can provide the needed leaps to fill in the details.
The chair

Not quite, but almost
by Jenna Papke Follow this reviewer
Rating 3 kitties
This was an interesting piece, a clever look at obsession. However, it never quite came together for me. It had cleverness, but very little heart. And I wish they had managed a slightly larger prop budget, it is a show about antiques after all.

Unexpected fun
by Florence Brammer Follow this reviewer
Rating 3 kitties
We took this in after being shut out at "Bite Me," and enjoyed the quick-paced writing and the effective performances. There is a lot going on here that is not/cannot be very fullly developed in an hour (e.g., sibling relationships, atatchments to home, loneliness, absentee parenting, an underdeveloped human-human romance, trafficing in objects). But I left with the feeling that this could be workshopped into a more satisfying, less manic two-act piece.

I see the future.
by re gurgitate Follow this reviewer
Rating 3 kitties
I thought the actors were well suited to this light comedy. The script seemed so transparent to me, and I kept hoping that it would sway from it's predictable course. It was not to be.

by Amelia English Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Saw this today, and after reading the reviews had to respond "Unfortunately the writing and the acting both were just too broad and too cartoonish. For fetishists and people with an open spot on their Fringe schedule." Certainly do see it if you've gotten an open slot, I'll agree with that. But also see it if you've got a taste for a nice blend of silly and smart.

Before seeing Yvette I was complaining that most of the shows I've seen this fringe have felt like an episode on HBO or a sitcom. They've been well executed, but (like the year I saw a million one person shows talking about their childhood) I was getting a bit bored with watching people just like I see in my daily life. I can watch my friends bicker or flirt without buying a fringe button.

This show featured some heightened characters and plot twists, and I want to see the world a little larger than life when I go to the theater. Some nice use of language, actual awareness to being put on a round stage, and I have to single out Patrick Kozicky for portraying a charming character arch that kept me giggling and guessing. Check it out for yourself.

this play is about a chair i think
by Benjamin Egerman Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
this is a really funny play. it is about a guy who likes a chair a lot and some people want to buy the chair and he doesn't want them to but he really could use the money because his mother is really mean four kitties the end.

by Rebecca Quinn-Davis Follow this reviewer
Rating 3 kitties
It was well-acted and directed. I thought it was good, but I was hoping for a little more thought-provocation. It did bring up the ideas of how we value things and each other. Worth seeing, but I think I was expecting something more. It was a good production.

I Love Yvette
by Emily Peterson Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
The play was very entertaining. What an interesting idea for a script and it was hilarious! The actors were a riot. It opens an ideas about our attachments to inanimate objects. Go see this play! People will be talking about it.

Yeah For Chairs!
by Ben Thietje Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
I'm glad someone finally tackled this subject matter: chairs and how hot they can be. The direction was great, the acting was fine-ass, and the script was oh-so lovely. Big thumbs up to the cast/crew of Yvette!

Sitting Pretty
by Reid Gagle Follow this reviewer
Rating 3 kitties
Cute premise. Rich kid Morton is now bankrupt, and faces the loss of an antique chair that he loves. I mean, REALLY loves. Romantically. (Maybe he watched too much Electric Company as a kid and identified with the character Love of Chair.) Unfortunately the writing and the acting both were just too broad and too cartoonish. For fetishists and people with an open spot on their Fringe schedule.

Chairs Are Hot!
by Nonsensical Norton Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
This play was well done. Joe Bombard and Patrick Kozicky were my favorites. I also really enjoyed the direction, as it reminded me of a pancake that I once went fishing with.

Yavo for Yvette!
by Steve Kozicky Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Gemma Irish knows what it takes to captivate the audience with her writing.
The actors are exactly what the Fringe is all about - talented local artists who know their stuff and can draw you in to the core of the play.
Don't miss this one. I believe it will be the one everyone talks about.

Unexpected laughs
by Steve Budas Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Hey, not only is this show funny, but it will allow you to reflect on those little quirks of attachments you have in your own home and daily lifestyle! Wish I knew lots more people to send to this play.

Decent Show
by Craig J Maas Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Well written, nicely preformed, good laughs, and even better at provoking some thought.