Minnesota Fringe Festival 2011

My Fringe

Depression Glass: A Cheery Little Play About Death and Decay

1929 Productions

Created by The ghost of Tom Joad


Contains Violence, Adult language, Strobe lights, Loud noises/gunshots

For ages 16+

Written by Doug Heeschen
Directed by Mark Monfils
John Berard
Dale Pfeilsticker
Helen Chorolec
David Heath

Nero fiddled while Rome burned, but what did everyone else do?

Two buddies go homeless with hilarious consequences. If you thought the Great Depression was funny, you'll laugh your Glass off at this absurdist vaudevillian comedy, brought to life by veterans of stage and screen.

A public radio talk show host and a musician who plays on car commercials meet an odd assortment of characters on a short trip down from the middle class. Watch what happens when society hits rock bottom and just keeps digging!

Watch a bit from the Fringe-for-All:
Three minutes of fun.

If you see the show, write us a review (especially if you liked it). CONTEST: Name the Bodies. Write a review and name a body. The top two names will be chosen by a vote of the cast, and the namers will be rewarded with their very own prop beers from the show!

Review by Janet Preus in howwastheshow.com:
“Depression Glass: A Cheery Little Play about Death and Decay” pictures Manhattan the day after an economic crash. No, a real economic crash with men (and women) in suits throwing themselves out of windows and buildings (inexplicably) burning down in a very vaguely defined contemporary apocalypse. Two guys meet to drink beer, talk about the state of things – in completely detached terms – and make an effort to help the unfortunate when calamity lands at their feet. What’s funny about it is the quirky mixture in their conversations that border on the absurd but don’t quite get there. I’m thinking this would have been quirkier, funnier and the satire more effective with a little tighter script and a dose of Moliere-like clarity of purpose. Interesting from beginning to end, though!
Tue. 8/9 at 7; Fri. 8/12 at 8:30; Sat. 8/13 at 10 at Minneapolis Theatre Garage

- J.P.

Mark Monfils
Role: Director
Depression Glass is Mark’s first Fringe show although he has attended over 75+ Fringe performances during the past three years. Mark has returned to the delightful world of theater after an intended “sojourn” that became 15 years traveling the country and this wonderful world as a business “Road Warrior”. He has directed, acted in, and stage-managed more than 85 plays, musicals, and shows in the Twin Cities Metro area on stages at Park Square Theatre, Teatro del Pueblo, TRP, Cricket, Minnesota Shakespeare Company and many, many more over the past 45 years.

John Marshall Berard
Role: Actor - Keith
This will be the 3rd Minnesota Fringe Festival John has performed in. He played 3 different characters in last years Fringe Festival. His studies include the In The Moment Acting Studio, and the Eric Morris System. His last performance was in “Brooklyn Boy” which was also shown at the Minneapolis Theatre Garage in 2011.

Dale Pfeilsticker
Role: Actor - William
Dale has worked with Park Square Theatre, Mixed Blood, Illusion, 10,000 Things, Troupe America, Paul Bunyan Playhouse, and several others. Most recently at Bloomington Civic in Twelve Angry Men. Next he will be at The Pioneer Place in St. Cloud doing The Weir. Dale has also done Television, lots of commercial work (Pioneer Press, Mediacom, Musicland), and Film. He has a BA in theatre from Minnesota State University at Mankato.

David Heath
Role: Actor - Rich Guy
David Heath (Rich Guy) is thrilled to be on stage again after a long hiatus. After teaching theatre at the high school and college levels, David began his professional acting career in New York City where he created the role of Detective Markey on ABC's "One Life to Live." He performed in various Off-Broadway and touring productions and was in the acting company of New York's Apple Corps Theatre. His regional theatre experience includes an extended run of "On Shiloh Hill" at Ford's Theatre in Washington, DC. Locally, he has performed character roles with Ballet Minnesota in its productions of "Cappelia" and "Don Quixote," and this past year performed a solo concert titled "Voices Inside My Head" at the MacPhail Center for Music. If you watch public television, you may have caught him asking you to become a member of TPT during one of the pledge drives.

Helen Chorolec
Role: Actor - Clarissa
Helen brings with her skills she honed on the big screen as: Faye Gardner in the 2010 movie Drowning; Guest in the 2003 movie New World Symphony; and Mrs. Goodwin in the 2001 short film Jurisprejudice. She, too, is a veteran of the local theater scene.

Ricardo Garciaherreros
Role: Actor - Cop
Native from Pasto, Colombia; Ricardo Garciaherreros is excited about his debut at the Fringe Festival. He recently graduated from Earlham College where he continued his passion for acting while appearing in Major Barbara, All in the Timing, The Dutchman and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead among others. In addition, he has spent a lot of his time understanding the production and direction of collective theatre performances, as well as, the addition of invisible theatre techniques to audiences’ experiences. His actor’s journey range from independent films in the East Coast, to one man shows in his home state.
Enjoy the show!

Christopher Prementine
Role: Actor - thug
Chris, a recent graduate of University of Wisconsin, River Falls, is taking part in his first Fringe with his role of thug. If all goes well, he will be gainfully employed as an economist in the near future.

Tamara K. Heeschen
Role: Production Stage Manager
Broadway: The Wizard of Oz at Madison Square Garden; Black and Blue at the Minskoff Theatre. Off-Broadway: Kilt; Straight-Jacket; Last Train to Nibroc; Musicals in Mufti series at the York Theatre Company; Camping With Henry & Tom. Regional: Oklahoma! at the Ordway Music Theatre; Over the Tavern and Our Town at Capital Repertory Company; eight productions at Paper Mill Playhouse. Other credits: Central City Opera, Theatreworks USA, The Western Wind Vocal Ensemble. Ms. Heeschen, a native Iowan, holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Yale School of Drama, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Northern Iowa.
Tammy's work on the show is courtesy of Actors' Equity Association.

Douglas Heeschen
Role: Writer/Producer
Depression Glass is Doug's first Fringe piece. Doug took a B.A. in Literature from San Francisco State before moving back to the Midwest and earning his J.D at William Mitchell College of Law. He has survived the stagflation of the 1970s, Black Monday of 1987, the bursting of the dotcom bubble, ENRON, and the mortgage crisis of 2009, and now he's got something to write about. You can also see Doug in the band Bad Accident performing in various dives.

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Play Hit Home
by Stephen Adolfson Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
This play hit home in that it reflected things in an extreme way that are going on in the lives of many people today. What was most interesting was the way that the two main characters maintained such indifference while observing the chaos going on in the lives of the people around them. A very good reflection on the attitudes of many Americans to our own economic problems. "until it effect me personlly I won't get involved". But then it's too late! Well illustrated by the juxtaposition of the rich stockbroker type with the frantic Clarissa who literally drops off the edge.

Made Me Think and Laugh
by Wil Nynas Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
A fine dark comedy, appropriate for our times. Illustrates the human condition of how events which are horrific become perceived as normal and joked about, as people are desensitized through repeated exposure. Intense portrayal of people who are on the edge and about to go over the edge (Helen Chorolec), or who have already gone over. Made me think and laugh. (For the name the body contest, how about: “T. Landis Harding”.)

by Kale Ganann Follow this reviewer
Rating 3 kitties
Depression Glass follows two characters through a horrible day that largely does not affect them. For the most part they stand apart, only becoming marginally involved with the tradgedies going on around them. It's well performed, and the message about our humanity is important and always timely, but I'm not sure this is the best vehicle for its delivery.

For Whom The Bell Tolls
by Jim Pounds Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Boy, could I relate to this play! To take a very serious subject, such as the breakdown of our entire society and play it as a pastiche is pretty gutsy. Not all of it works. Dale Pfeilsticker is the consumate professional and sometimes it feels like a tv star doing summer stock but it is all forgiven because you sit there laughing at the unlaughable. You turn and smile at the person you've come to the show with and think OMG, we're doomed. In the spirit of David Lindsay Abaire, this play makes you think without ever forcing you to think. It is possible to watch it and see it as an over the top romp. Depression Glass works whether you think the world is ending or if you just wanted to see a comedy about death.

Entirely engaging
by Louise Mack Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
This show was great! Funny, sometimes in a savage way, and thoroughly entertaining. all the characters were engaging , there was a constant undertone of laughter throughout the performance.

Cheery Decay Indeed
by Maddy Fick Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
I will have to say that it took a little while for me to be pulled into the show, but the second the first body hit the "pavement" I was hooked. With very dark and unexpected humor in such a sad premise, it was my cup of tea. If you are looking for shallow, thoughtless entertainment, do not see this show.

Funny and Serious
by Mary Agnes Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
This play has thought provoking lines, action, and humor. The cast presents a nice rhythm and balance in their movements and dialogue interactions. The two lead actors make this play work through their facial expressions and comfortable communication flow. Definitely a play that will engage and entertain.

Not Cheery and Not Funny.
by Liz Blank Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
I was wishing that I had sat in a seat near the door so that I could have walked out in the dark, but…. it certainly picked up and it engaged me , but…. it stuck with me since I’ve seen it. There are things said in the play and addressed worth thinking about, especially in our current dire economic swings these days. Who ever said that stuff is funny though?

Chicken little ennui
by re gurgitate Follow this reviewer
Rating 3 kitties
I've always thought that plays which follow the lives of people in the background would be interesting. I've seen two such plays this fringe and neither has convinced me that this is true. Our two players are in Manhattan when the town/world is in chaos with multiple buildings burning and mass suicides. But instead of getting involved and trying to make things better, they opt for being observers. Many opportunities were available to take a different direction with the story, but other than a nod to the downtrodden in society, it stays on the path of non-engagement.

Waiting for the Apocalyse??
by Vicki Joan Keck Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
this play about 2 guys on a park bench observing life as the world around them is falling apart is well written and cheeky. I enjoyed myself, my friend not as much, so this is not for everyone. Still, well written by local talent, nicely acted. I especially enjoyed Helen Cholorec's performance and was sorry to see her "go"! Good Job!

Tarantino Meets Allen
by Laurie Herrmann Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
I really enjoyed this play! Packed with language and ideas, we're given a lot to listen to and to think about--quickly. There's humor, too, even in the violent stuff. I dug it!

Fun and Smart
by Levi Morris Follow this reviewer
Rating 3 kitties
This show is a vaudeville entertainment broken up into four sections. The first two sections are well written, surprising and fun for everyone involved. They introduce a world that some may see as a distopia, but those who observe and listen will see a world so strikingly similar to the one we live in today. These sections pass by quickly and effectively.

The second two sections are a bit clunky, are not as well written, awkward transitions, and the text gets a bit preachy. But there are still moments where we can laugh at our own humanity and pain. Special recognition should be given to John Beard whose performance felt refreshingly authentic. See this show if you are interested in dark comedy and what this world could become!!!

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Sunday, 8/77:00 p.m. 
Monday, 8/85:30 p.m. 
Tuesday, 8/97:00 p.m. 
Friday, 8/128:30 p.m. 
Saturday, 8/1310:00 p.m. 

Minneapolis Theatre Garage venue information
711 W Franklin Ave.

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