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Candace Stimpson

Pop Goes the Cherry

Location + schedule

U of M Rarig Center Xperimental
330 21st Ave. S, Lower Level

DateTimeMy FringeAccess
Friday 8/610:00 p.m.  
Saturday 8/75:30 p.m.  
Tuesday 8/107:00 p.m.  
Friday 8/138:30 p.m.  
Sunday 8/151:00 p.m.  
About the show

Contains Adult language
For ages 12+
Solo, Comedy, Relationships, Religious

Created by Candace Stimpson

Overall rating

One recovering prude. One Miss Cherry. A Whole Lot of Questions...

A recovering prude figures out a decent life isn't always pure. Sunday school won't teach you a good life can be a messy one, so drop the Virgin Mary act. You are the sum of all your parts.

A show that proves you're both a sexual and spiritual being and that being a prude is not always prudent. Laugh -and cry- as main character Amy, Miss Cherry, a prudish Sunday School teacher, Sally, a Minnesota housewife, and even Prudes Anonymous find humor in religion and sex; discover that prudishness is not purity; heal from religion's repression and abuse's scars; and gain true sexual freedom.

This story takes its roots in the writer's own experience of being abused and then learning to cope by burying the memories, the pain and even her sexuality. She used humor and leaned on religion to suppress the pain but eventually discovered that the way to stop being a victim was to create something beautiful and funny out of the very pain she'd tried to deny.

Candace Stimpson
Role: Solo performer/Writer
Candi  108 - Version 2 1Candace has a BA from the University of Minnesota in Theater. She is an actor, director and writer who has performed a variation of this show in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. She's also dabbled in improv, and stand-up comedy. Candace has had the privilege of working with some Twin Cities theaters such as 20% Theater, Urban Samurai, and The Flower Shop Project, since being back in the US for a year. She is currently directing Jennifer Tuder in her one woman show, Suicide Punchline. Candace hopes "Pop Goes the Cherry" will delight you, move you and make you laugh.

Nicole Wilder
Role: Director
Wilder HeadshotNicole Wilder received her MA in directing from Miami University and has been living it up in Minneapolis ever since. She is proud to have worked with the likes of 20% Theatre Company and Theatre Unbound, in addition to participating in fun community stuff like Bedlam's 10 Minute Play Festival. Shameless self-promotion: She also sings in a local band called Spencer McGillicutty. Check them out!

Jennifer Tuder
Role: Co-collaborator
TuderheadshotwebJen Tuder holds a Ph.D. in speech communication from Southern Illinois University. She is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Communication Studies and Theatre, Film Studies, and Dance, at St. Cloud State University. Most recently she has appeared in 20% Theatre Company's Fresh Five and Sex Across the Curriculum, her original solo performance. Right now, she's collaborating with Candace in creating her new solo performance, Suicide Punchline.

User reviews

by Gerald Fitzpatrick Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
I think it was so clever, how Candace presented this serious subject in such a comedic manner. This was truly my favorite fringe show this year.

Enjoyable, But Not For Everyone
by Mark Long Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
If you are someone who needs their plot spelled out in capital letters and spoon-fed to you, this is not your show.
Candace takes an idea and hovers around it like a butterfly for 40 minutes. There are no great revelations or finality. It is just Candace musing on Prudishness and Sexuality through vignettes, and I think she does a nice job.
I generally hate to use the word, but "ethereal" comes to mind.

A unique tale-telling
by Justin Alexander Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Candace Stimpson has a tale to tell about childhood abuse, misguided religion, and the sexual phobia of contemporary America. This is deep, painful stuff. The type of grist which is frequently chewed over in the mill of one-person shows.

So why did I find myself leaving the theater with a sense of light-hearted content?

It took me awhile to figure it out, but then I realized that Stimpson's gifted performance wasn't about the pain of her experiences, but about the liberation of her healing process. Instead of being a story about surviving abuse, it was the story of discovering the joys of life.

It's a slight shift of focus, but while the powerful, dramatic core of her experiences still fuel the piece like a powerful inferno, those experiences are theatrically transformed for us much as they have been transformed for her. The result, coupled with Stimpson's gifted multi-character portrayals and evocatively layered style, is a unique tale-telling.

The Importance of Being Candace!
by April Peterson Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Solid, clever, and humorous characters give a delicate hand to a serious subject matter that is usually swept under the rug. A journey of premature loss of innocence; natural teen arousal of interest that is barraged by societal & religious implications and doctrine; leading to a prudish cloak of safety that doesn’t seem to feel safe or fulfilling, manifesting into a woman’s awakening and recovery. I found it enormously important, as well as, extremely entertaining.

Don't be a Prude!
by Abby Normal Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Art is subjective and I know we all have our own opinions about the quality of any given piece. Having said that, I am amazed someone could see this show and think it deserved only 2 kitties. That Ms. Stimpson could engage her audience in what is obviously such a deeply personal issue without resorting to cheap, heavy handed tactics is a testament to her ability as a writer/performer and to the abilities of everyone who worked on this production. I would highly recommend this to anyone interested in seeing a performer at the top of their game.

A lovely performance
by Ernest Briggs Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
I enjoyed seeing Canndace take us through a myriad of different characters and telling a compelling story, worth seeing if you have the time...audience participation is encouraged!

Crisp and clever
by Timothy Mooney Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Candace is an engaging performer, crisp and playful. I enjoyed the way she takes the idioms of repression, religion and 12-step programs, and turn them on their head to make an effective argument for loosening up. If anything, I wanted to see more, perhaps with a more direct payoff in the end... to see the moment of realization and triumph.

Fun Characters!
by Tessa Trepp Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
This zipped along for me! She had great characters and was really funny. I loved it!

elegant and understated
by Jenna Papke Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
A beautiful performance from a talented performer.

Courageous and intelligent
by Kirsten Stephens Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
This show deals with not just one difficult subject, but the intersection of three touchy issues: sexuality, religion and abuse. And does it with intelligence, humor, but especially honesty and hope. Not an easy task.

No Pop for me
by evelyn blum Follow this reviewer
Rating 2 kitties
I really didn't enjoy this one. Where I did think the delivery was good, I felt the script was week. I think the best three minutes was in the preview.

What a great performance
by Minnesota Productions Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Candy does a great job at presenting her characters with realism, depth and delivers with great perception and detail and delivers a powerful performance.

Very entertaining. Go see it.

A Good Approach
by August Berkshire Follow this reviewer
Rating 3 kitties
We attended this on the strength of the three-minute preview, which turned out to be one of the best parts of the show. I’m glad this show focused on recovering from abuse, rather than the abuse itself. However, while this show had some good moments, I can’t really give it more than 3 kitties. One of the shorter Fringe plays at 35 minutes in length.

Kitty Kounter:
5 = Outstanding. Must see.
4 = Worth your time.
3 = Okay to fill a spot.
2 = Probably not.
1 = No.
0 = Avoid at all costs.

A Story of Triumph over Abuse!
by Mamie Stimpson Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
By Mary Starlingbird

This is a story of triumph over the abuse of innocence. This was orchestrated into a comedic ploy in order to make fun of a serious situation, as a kind of therapeutic outlet. As we go through the life of Amy as a child, teenager, and two different aspects of adulthood, along with Sally of Prudes Anonymous and Mrs. Cherry the typical Southern Baptist Sunday school teacher, it is hysterically funny. Taking something that is very serious and making fun of it, can render it powerless for control in someones life. That is what I love most about this story, is that it takes a situation of abuse and violation and squashes it into a crumpled up mass of nothingness, in order to strengthen and give power back to the victim. It is not a pitty party for the victim, but merely a power party to gain control of ones own life and blossom into the person one is meant to be in life.

Good on you young lady, for showing that one does not have to remain a victim, but merely can use this experience to help others. I totally applaud the idea of having counseling panels standing by for those who may feel in need of help etc.

RIch characters, lovely story
by Scott Pakudaitis Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Pop Goes the Cherry, opens with a scene of a little girl, Amy, happily playing in her garden; she becomes terrified by the sound of a chainsaw. We never learn why she cowers; that’s not the point of this show. Instead, we discover how Amy was shaped by that and other experiences in her childhood and what she did to wrest control from her past to give herself a future. This show is the opposite of “therapy theater.” There’s no self-pitying or wallowing in the past. Using a non-linear mix of vignettes, puppetry, and standup, Candace Stimpson shows Amy at four stages of her life: little girl, awkward middle-schooler, prudish young adult and liberated young adult. We sit in on meetings of Prudes Anonymous where we meet group leader Sally, an ebullient housewife who helps Amy learn that prudishness and purity are not synonymous and that religion does not require repression. We meet Amy’s mom who warns her of the dangers of boys (in a rather hilarious scene) and Miss Cherry, an uptight Sunday school teacher who upon reading juicy parts of the Song of Solomon becomes visibly aroused then claims that the text describes the church and Jesus. Stimpson moves effortlessly among these several characters and weaves a tapestry of intrigue and delight.

I enjoyed seeing Amy’s journey throughout this charming show and appreciate that Stimpson focused on Amy’s growth rather than dragging down the show with descriptions or depictions of her abuse. Yes, abuse is a serious topic; Pop Goes the Cherry demonstrates that the subject can be addressed with both compassion and humor without leaving the audience feeling like it experienced a group therapy session instead of a play.