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Shadow Horse Productions/Stolen Dress Entertainment

Sex, Soap, Torture, Weather

Location + schedule

The Playwrights' Center
2301 E Franklin Ave.

DateTimeMy FringeAccess
Saturday 8/710:00 p.m.  
Monday 8/98:30 p.m.  
Wednesday 8/115:30 p.m.  
Saturday 8/148:30 p.m.  
Sunday 8/155:30 p.m.  
About the show

Contains Adult language
For ages 16+
Comedy, Relationships

Overall rating

SEX, SOAP, TORTURE, WEATHER is a quirky quartet of fantastical and dark comedies showing the clash between the sexes from the stress of potential, the problems that may occur, the pain that may come, and the joy of til death do us part. Sure to be a delight for those who want a night of variety in their Fringe experience, this show simply can't be missed.

In VOLLEY by Alina Phelan, Matt Saxe, Bethany Ford, and Christopher Mogel, a couple duels to decide if a relationship will even start.

SOAP by Steve Stajich shows a couple at a crossroads deciding how far is too far when it comes to supporting their family.

In Matt Saxe and Christopher Mogels IT SEEMS LIKE TORTURE TO ME an L.A. actor learns a painful life lesson.

Finally in Kennedy Center Award-Winning playwright Jonathan Yukichs A SHORT HISTORY OF WEATHER two weather obsessed eccentrics fall in love and spend their lives together in a romance sure to touch the funny bone in anyone's heart.

This production features local favorite Bethany Ford, (ROCK-N-ROLL, Park Square) along with two performers making their Fringe debuts; Susannah Handley, and Matt Saxe: whose film credits include JARHEAD and PEARL HARBOR, and on TV's THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL. He's also performed in 60 plays across the country. Saxe performs in all 4 plays and is the producer/director of this production with associate producer/assistant director and UM grad Christopher Mogel. Immanuel Elliot is our fantastic stage manager.

Shadow Horse Productions has produced award winning theater for over 6 years in L.A. (2004 Back Stage Wests Stage Spot Award Matt Saxe-Best Supporting Actor-PHAEDRA, Back Stage West Garland Award Honorable Mention Best Translation/Adaptation also for PHAEDRA) and is thrilled to be making its Minnesota Fringe Festival debut with these four unique and exciting new plays.

SOAP is by Steve Stajich, a writer on REBA and former staff writer for A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION. A SHORT HISTORY OF WEATHER by Jonathan Yukich appears in BEST SHORT PLAYS OF 2009 published by Smith & Kraus. His work has been recognized by the Kennedy Center as the winner of the 2003 Paula Vogel Award for Playwriting.

For those Fringe Fans who want an evening of originality and variety your best bet is SEX, SOAP, TORTURE, WEATHER!

The reviews are in and SEX SOAP TORTURE WEATHER is a hit!

Fringe Reviewer Zander Lee: 5 KITTIES!
"Fantastic 1-acts...Matt Saxe is excellent in all 4 shows. Bethany Ford is just perfect in the 3 shows she is in, and Susannah Handley is great in her 2 performances as well... this show deserves much bigger audiences. I highly recommend you put this on your schedules."

Fringe Reviewer Gabriel Heller: 4 KITTIES!
"Excellent acting: inventive and competent writing, closes with a gem, a solid four-star show."

Here's what Fringe Reviewer Sharon Kahn said about "A SHORT HISTORY OF WEATHER"
"...a winner - absurdist and touching at the same time. In 15 minutes we see a couple's lifetime together, from the moment they meet until death do them part. Yes, much like the first 8 minutes of the movie "Up," only sillier."

Here's an early comment/review from our preview at Fringe-For-All on July 12th!

"The excerpt, from "A Short History Of Weather," was just the right choice to disarm me. Yes, the characters were quirky. Exceedingly so. Yes, the situation was odd. But it was also whimsical, and funny, and romantic. And if anybody can deliver whimsical, funny and romantic, it's Minneapolis actress Bethany was delightful and silly and sweet. And after a very full night of 28 other previews, some good, some less than good, for a preview to break through my sense of dread and my sense of "wow, it's been a long night," well, that's pretty remarkable....(so) consider putting this charming little oddity on your schedule. I am."

Matthew A. Everett-Single White Fringe Geek Blog

Photo by Travis Anderson

Matt Saxe
Role: Producer/Director/Writer/Actor
Matt Saxe: Matt lived in L.A. for 8 years and is a member of SAG and AGVA



Matt was also a performer at Universal Studios Hollywood Theme Park in The Universal Studios Special Effects Stages Show for 6 years.

Matt co-produced and co-stars in LOOKING FORWARD a mockumentary TV series that was a Finalist in the FX "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" Create Your Own Pilot Contest in 2006, and was again selected in 2007 as a Finalist in the Comedy Central Test Pilots Contest. Out of close to 10,000 entries in both contests, it was the only show that was a Finalist in both contests.

He is also producing the comedic documentary VICE-PRECEDENCE: BEING NUMBER TWO IN THE WHITE HOUSE, the first ever documentary about the vice-presidency and the vice-presidents who were never President, featuring Matts interview with the legendary Gore Vidal. On October 18th of this year, Matt will be interviewing former VP Walter Mondale for the film. Visit the website, watch the trailer, join the Facebook page, and read the blog and more at:

You can see trailers for both productions and his reel on his webpage on MinnesotaPlaylist:

Matt is also an associate producer with Banded Artists Productions: producers of the controversial, highly acclaimed and award-winning documentary 9/11: PRESS FOR TRUTH and the upcoming documentary on the pharmaceutical industry, BUYING THE PHARM. More information at:

Matt produced and performed in the west coast premiere of the play PHAEDRA by Matthew Maguire in Los Angeles. The show won a Back Stage West Garland Award Honorable Mention for Best Adaptation/Translation. For his performance Matt won the Back Stage West "Stage Spot" Award for Best Supporting Actor:

"Saxe's rich, nuanced, portrayal of the all-seeing yet ineffectual tutor is the most intriguing and memorable of this cohesive ensemble's roles. Its perhaps because he's done the best work of modernizing, yet retaining the heights of a classic"
Dany Margolies-Back Stage West, Sept 15, 2004.

Matt has been in over 60 plays. MINNESOTA: THE FOREIGNER-Charlie Baker, Lyric Arts, ALL MY SONS-George Deever, Pioneer Place-St. Cloud, LYE IN THE WATER(World Premiere)-Walter "Beans" Holcourt, Glasshouse Theatre, and regularly performs with BoomTown in SIX-RING CIRCUS at the Brave New Workshop-where he is a graduate of the Brave New Institute Improv Training Program.


"An inspired comic performance by Matt Saxe!"
Les Spindle-Back Stage West, April 19 2008, THE LONDON CUCKOLDS.

along with, A CHRISTMAS TWIST, SODA POP!, LES LIAISONS DANGEREUSES, THE COMEDY OF ERRORS. Sacred Fools Theatre: THE CALIBAN (World Premiere, "Top Ten of 2001", Back Stage West Garland Award-Honorable Mention/Best Ensemble), DUBYA 2000 (World Premiere, 3 LA Weekly Theatre Awards Nomination). The Charlens Co.: HENRY V, RICHARD THE III, The MET Theatre: ALL THE WORLDS A STAGE.

REGIONAL THEATRE CREDITS: TOM JONES-Tom Jones, Hawthorne Players-St. Louis, MO. CRIMES OF THE HEART, Alpha Players-St. Louis, MO. PICASSO AT THE LAPIN AGILE, Meremac Theatre, St. Louis, MO.

Matt received his B.A. in Theatre from the University of Alabama where he performed in the State Premiere of ANGELS IN AMERICA:Part 1 MILLENNIUM APPROACHES. Favorite roles there include Oswald in KING LEAR, Lucky in WAITING FOR GODOT, Hepatitis in GOD: A PLAY and Prior 1 in ANGELS IN AMERICA.

He is represented by Wehmann Models/Talent Inc. here in Minneapolis, and Rogers/Orion Talent in L.A.

Bethany Ford
Bethany Ford has worked with many Twin Cities theatre companies since moving here in 2005. Most recent credits include Rock-n-Roll with Park Square Theater, and Junior Clause with The Directors. Bethany also worked and studied with regional theatre companies and university theaters in Tennessee, England, Oregon, and South Carolina from 1998-2005. Coming soon: Connected (feature film currently in production), and TH3M! (television series currently in post-production.)

Susannah Handley
Susannah comes to the Twin Cities by way of Toronto and Cleveland. She holds a B.A. in Theatre Arts from Case Western Reserve University and has trained at Equity Showcase Theatre in Toronto. Past projects include Lysistrata (Hart House Theatre), Cymbeline (Cleveland Shakespeare Festival), and Sexual Perversity in Chicago (CWRU). Susannah is delighted to be making her Fringe debut here in Minnesota. She moonlights as an RN.

Christopher Mogel
Role: Associate Producer/Assistant Director
This is Christopher J. Mogel’s first time with a Fringe production. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Film Studies from the University of Minnesota. He has written two feature length film screenplays, co-written three 48 Hour Film Project films, produced two media pieces for the One Heartland charity, and written a number of comical and dramatic short stories. He also provides his voice talents to the Ass Kickers series of internet parody commercials on YouTube. Some of his artistic influences include Frank Herbert, Orson Scott Card, Francois Trauffault, Christopher Nolan, and Wim Wenders.

Immanuel Elliott
Role: Stage Manager/Assistant Director
Theatre is a passion for Immanuel who has been involved in the theatrical world since he can remember. In 2007 he transferred to Waldorf College in Forest City, IA from Mars Hill College in North Carolina. In 2009 he graduated Waldorf with a B.A. in Theatre Arts. He considers himself a Jack of All Trades and has been a part of many projects as actor, director, writer, stage manager, and costume designer. Past show include No Exit, Julius Caesar, Twelfth Night, The Importance of Being Earnest, The Foreigner, and countless original works, to name a few.

Steve Stajich
Role: Playwright-SOAP
Steve Stajich (Stych) was a stand-up comic and a singer-songwriter before becoming a writer for television. His series television writing credits include “Reba” (CW), “Daddio” (NBC), “Tall Hopes” (CBS), “This Just In” (ABC), Politically Incorrect (Comedy Central), “Dennis Miller” (Tribune) and “Evening at the Improv” (A&E).
In 2002 Steve was a staff writer for public radio’s “A Prairie Home Companion” and his comedy and political writing has appeared in the New York Times, USA Today, and the Los Angeles Times. His plays have been produced in Los Angeles, Pasadena, Chicago, and most recently “Little Black Lies” at the Avery Schreiber in North Hollywood. For the last five years, he has been a columnist for The Santa Monica Mirror. He has directed his own short play collections “In Front of the Eight Ball”, “A Night in My Shorts” and “An Evening with a Folding Table” as well as directing for the “Café Plays” series at Santa Monica’s Ruskin Theater. He has also recorded CD’s of his original music including a 2009 “pop oratorio” based on incidents in the life of actor Michael Richards, “Kramer vs Kramer.”

Jonathan Yukich
Jonathan Yukich’s work is published by Smith & Kraus, Playscripts, Inc., Meriwether Press and Original Works Publishing. His plays have been produced across the United States and in Canada, Australia and Europe. His work has been recognized by the Kennedy Center (Winner of the 2003 Paula Vogel Award for Playwriting), the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference (Finalist 2009), the Actors Theatre of Louisville (Heideman Award Finalist 2007), and Dramatist Magazine (listed as one of the Top 50 Playwrights To Watch).
His plays have also been presented and developed by several theatres and conferences, both in New York and regionally. Of late, his commissioned work, FINDING DON QUIXOTE, received its premiere at Dickinson College last October. This play, A SHORT HISTORY OF WEATHER, appears in The Best Short Plays of 2009, published by Smith & Kraus released last year. Most recently, his latest full-length, BALLS, was workshopped with the hotINK International Play Festival in New York. He lives and teaches in New York.

Alina Phelan
Role: Playwright-VOLLEY
Alina Phelan (Writer- VOLLEY) lives and works in Los Angeles as an actor and director. She has written several short plays, some that have been produced in Los Angeles. Volley was first written as a part of a 24 hour theatre show FAST AND LOOSE at Sacred Fools Theatre. The writer gets a topic, the number of actors to be in their piece and then 8 hours to write it. It is cast in the morning and then performed that evening. She is very excited to have VOLLEY get a second life, especially as a part of the Minnesota Fringe. She wishes she could be there to support all the amazing work being done, best of luck to all.

User reviews

Saucy Fun
by Heather Baldwin Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
This show consisted of four separate short stories. I am rating it a 4 overall mainly because I felt that the "soap" piece wasn't quite as strong as the other three pieces. I think the basic premise of the skit would have worked fine without any actual soap being involved (of course, it would have to be titled something else if that were the case). And although I ultimately liked the "volley" one, it took me a couple of minutes to get into it and figure out what was going on, because of some of the phrasing in the dialogue. The "torture" one was the funniest piece, but "weather" was my favorite; it was a sweet and touching story. The acting was consistently good from all three of the cast members throughout the show, and I enjoyed myself. Go check it out!

Fantastic 1-Acts
by zander lee Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
I wanted to see this because its one-acts. Its like getting to see 4 shows for the price of one.

The first show threw me off at first. But once I got into the idea that it was a game it drew me in. It was innovative, odd and I liked the twist. Both actors were sharp, looked good, and showed great chemistry.

The second show "Soap" was very different from the first, and that was great, because that's what I want in one-acts. It was extremely realistic, both in dialogue and how it was performed. The premise was very interesting and it hooked me by how real it was.

The next show with the "Torture" in it was just funny. I laughed out loud several times. It was the only show with all 3 actors in it and they worked together great as a group. It was a mix of clever dark and physical comedy with some shocking/silly lines and moments. Very different from the previous 2.

The final show "A Short History of Weather" was wonderful. It makes the whole production worth it. Silly, absurdist, sad, and sweet. Just the right ending to the show.

Matt Saxe is excellent in all 4 shows. Bethany Ford is just perfect in the 3 shows she is in, and Susannah Handley is great in her 2 performances as well.

The night I went there were only about 15-20 people there, and this show deserves much bigger audiences. I highly recommend you put this on your schedules.

some aloe to soothe the burn
by Ariel Pinkerton Follow this reviewer
Rating 3 kitties
As I find is often true in a night of one acts, some were great, some not so great. With SSTW I liked the idea behind each peice, but many of them felt a little too long. I enjoyed the first peice, laughing all the way through, liked the idea (and the ending) of the second, and wish the third had been 1/2 the length. As a struggling actress I enjoyed the idea, but got it in about 20 seconds and was ready to move on. The entire night is worth it however for the last peice, a radical departure from the sexual hijinks of the other 3, a charming and unpredictable love story with a wonderful touch of whimsy, with a standout performance by Bethany Ford.

Well worth seeing
by Sharon Kahn Follow this reviewer
Rating 3 kitties
When I first started attending the Fringe, the multi-play format was everywhere (and one of the things that hooked me on Fringing). Now it's a vanishing breed. This one is a bit of a mixed bag, but well worth attending, especially if you're getting a wee bit tired of musicals.

Unfortunately, the first of the 4 playlets is the weakest. I think it's supposed to be a mocking literalization of the tacit negotiations, attacks and defenses that go into starting a relationship. Unfortunately, the rules of their little duel are impossible to figure out (which may or may not be part of the joke) and the repartee is not very clever. The result is tedium.

The next one ("Soap") was intriguing but went on too long. Is this argument really becoming a common source of conflict in modern marriages? I wouldn't be surprised.

Number 3, ("Torture") was also a little long, but the two women were so much fun to watch that it was quite amusing. Probably hilarious to the other actors in the audience, as it's about the casting process.

Number 4 was a winner - absurdist and touching at the same time. In 15 minutes we see a couple's lifetime together, from the moment they meet until death do them part. Yes, much like the first 8 minutes of the movie "Up," only sillier.

Not torture at all.
by Gabriel Heller Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Excellent acting: inventive and competent writing, closes with a gem, a solid four-star show. Make sure you're up to speed before the start. It will take mental and emotional gymnastics to solve the theatrical riddle of sex before it's too late to enjoy your prize. I failed. Learn from my mistake. I think I could have done without the soap. Was it serious soap, funny soap or allegorical soap? What were they going to do with it? In the end I didn't really care. But then I've never much liked soap. I'm allergic to almost all of it. Torture was not at all torture to watch, but I have already seen that Monty Python sketch, which was funnier, shorter, and easier to identify with. Merging this short with the Damn Audition show would have made both better. Weather on the other hand was beautiful, terrible, raw, light, fluffy, foggy, humid, hot, cold, all of the things that weather is, and well worth the price of admission to the other three.