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Minnesota’s festival of performing arts
August 1–11, 2013 / Minneapolis

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DiRections

Comedy /

By The Playwrights Project

Directed by Molly Smith

From Mankato, MN

Rely on technology to meet people, get directions, find your car? What if your iPhone turned against you? Your GPS could lead you off a cliff; you might hook up with a serial killer. Never, ever piss off Siri.

Political content, Sci-fi/Mystery/Horror

World premiere, Greater Minnesota company (outside the metro area)

Just so you know, this show has Violence, Adult language.

The creators say this show is appropriate for ages 12 and up.

Thursday, 8/1 5:30 p.m.
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Saturday, 8/3 1:00 p.m.
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Sunday, 8/4 8:30 p.m.
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Friday, 8/9 7:00 p.m.
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Sunday, 8/11 5:30 p.m.
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This performance is audio described

Illusion Theater

528 Hennepin Ave. - 8th Floor

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Reviews

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Audience reviews

A Cautionary Tale

By Mary Gitter-Zehnder / August 6, 2013
This user has reviewed 1 show

Good show and good cast! An entertaining trilogy. Technology can be a very interesting double edged sword. Just how far will we let it control our lives or the lives of our children. Hal (2001 Space Odyssey) would be so pleased!

Terribly offensive and weak.

By Brian Wene / August 5, 2013
This user has reviewed 3 shows

I thought this work should never have left the computer of the playwright. I thought the language of the characters was extremely cold and the interactions showed how shallow and un-interesting the plot was. Audiences don't go to theatre in hopes of getting cursed to make points. Terribly written and awfully acted. Better luck next year...

1 person found this review helpful

Twilight Zone at the Fringe

By Marlene Stein Greiner / August 4, 2013
This user has reviewed 1 show

I thought this show was very fun and interesting. The play called for actors to play multiple roles, allowing them to demonstrate a nice range of their abilities. Carter Allen, for instance, played 3 characters clearly distinct from one another. It had a Twilight Zone feel to it that I really dug!

2 people found this review helpful

7th grade project

By Steven Stuart / August 4, 2013
This user has reviewed 2 shows

Both the script and the acting are reminiscent of a Jr. High project. It might be entertaining to your classmates, but nobody else would find it even remotely interesting. I was becoming very concerned that it was running overtime and that we would be late for our next show - only to find that what seemed like an hour and a half was less than 45 painful minutes...

4 people found this review helpful

Juvenile humor, but smart play

By Dan Hendricks / August 2, 2013
This user has reviewed 5 shows

I admit that I hate Facebook and people talking on phones while you're trying to talk to them. Maybe that's why I liked this show so much. In a dark, funny way, it shows what social media is robbing from us -- our REAL social lives. The situational humor in the first scene -- especially from the Jake character -- was fun. And I really liked the darker, middle piece about how much technology will know about YOU if you let it.

3 people found this review helpful

Painful

By frayed edge / August 6, 2013
This user has reviewed 17 shows

Though the concept is lovely, the script and direction have glaring weaknesses in them. The pacing is painfully slow, and staging is overly complex for the story. One actor plays each of their 3 very different characters nearly identically, and the pantomime make it seem that no one involved in the show has ever been in an automobile. Costuming was pretty good, as was overall concept. The woman and man in the Jane hat were highlights, but not enough.

Specific nit pick - the general term is "smart phone", if you're going to say "iPhone" everywhere instead, don't use an android handset.

Rating
5- amazing, see this.
4- make time
3- average fringe, worth seeing
2- don't bother
1- something was redeeming
0- i want my hour back

1 person found this review helpful

a must-see at the festival!

By elaine hardwick / August 5, 2013
This user has reviewed 2 shows

wonderful actors...and a creative playwright! see what happens when technology goes astray! wicked twists and excellent performances keep you on the edge of your seat!

1 person found this review helpful

Technology Gone Awry

By Claudia Haas / August 4, 2013
This user has reviewed 5 shows

How much of your "self" are you willing to give over to technology? Playwright Greg Abbott takes that notion to the nth degree in 3 vignettes that suggest we may go too far in relying on technology instead of face-to-face experiences. Is social media actually anti-social media? Some of the situations may seem absurd today - but who knows about tomorrow? A strong cast drives that point home.

1 person found this review helpful

A Critique that falls short...

By Nichole N. / August 2, 2013
This user has reviewed 11 shows

I understand that the playwright for this show wanted to make a critique of our dependence on technology, but I'm not sure the writing succeeds. At no point does the script engage with actual, existing technology.

In addition, much of the show relies on misogyny as the driving plot point. From sexual harassment to pseudo-stalking behaviors to domestic abuse, every single male character demonstrates a distrubing attitude towards women. Some of this misogyny tries to pass for jokes, but its just not funny. This is such a feature of the show that it, frankly, distracts from the attempt at critique

That said, I think these are issues with the script, not the actors. The actors were full of energy, and clearly giving their all to their roles

6 people found this review helpful

It IS a fun Twilight Zone

By Fran Jazczeski / August 5, 2013
This user has reviewed 1 show

The 3 vignettes for this show are right out of Twilight Zone. Give kids some new technology, and they'll find a way to put it to use in the lowest denominator. (Hear of Snapchat?)

It's dark, and when they toy with the iPhone, bad things happen.

I especially like the middle scene -- very Poe--esque, with a tell-tale phone only one person can hear. I also like the concept that "The more information your technology learns about you, it may also learn things about you that you'd rather keep in the closet and never admit.

I saw reviews all over the place, and didn't know what to expect. But I think the problem is that it's billed as a comedy and should have been billed as horror-- Twilight Zone without Rod Steger. For that genre, I love it.

A fun ride!

By Robert Goff / August 5, 2013
This user has reviewed 3 shows

I thoroughly enjoyed DiRections. I loved how the flow of the show went from silly to dark and back again. As one of the other reviews points out, some of the jokes are juvenile, but I still laughed throughout! - What does that say about me?

I thought the all four actors were pretty strong and got a chance to talk with Jason Toupence after the show (his part blew me away) and I asked about this being his first Fringe. He told me this was not only his first Fringe, but his first play ever.

I would absolutely recommend DiRections!

1 person found this review helpful

Skip this one

By Jamal Newton / August 4, 2013
This user has reviewed 2 shows

This show was not very good. But, I think it's because of the direction of the show. The writing is not too bad and the acting is pretty good (especially Carter Allen and Jason Toupence). The show just seems over directed. The actors are clearly trying their best to do something with this show, but it just isn't working. I would skip this piece.

1 person found this review helpful

"Mucho Masturbation"

By Taylor Anderson / August 2, 2013
This user has reviewed 1 show

Greg Abbott wows again with this off-color comedy that really makes you wonder if having one of those silly smartphones is really worth all the hassle. Terrific performances by all, especially Mr. Zehnder and his killer dance moves. Well worth multiple viewings.

2 people found this review helpful

Background information + more

Three vignettes that are more horror stories (aka Twilight Zone) than comedy. People are relying on iPhones and apps way too much for social needs, and I think it's making people unable to grasp basic social skills. Do you lurk a person's Facebook profile to learn about them, instead of simply talking to them to find out their interests? Do you rely on a GPS, instead of a map? When you have a social problem, do you blame everyone else or the information you get from social media? My series of three short plays are tied together through the path of an iPhone that people trust more than their own gut. Each set of characters are trying to find direction in their own lives, but end up relying on technology instead of one-on-one conversation. It's a little bit "Christine" meets "Tell-Tale Heart" with a little "The Graduate" thrown in. It will leave you disturbed. It will leave you laughing. It will leave you disturbed that you were laughing.

Cast + crew bios

Carter Allen

Jake/Abe/Josh

AllenCarter
Carter Allen is a native of Cedar Falls, IA and is a senior BFA Acting candidate at Minnesota State University Mankato. This is his first time to the Minnesota Fringe Festival! Previously this summer Carter was seen at Highland Summer Theatre in Mankato as Clown 1 in The 39 Steps and Patsy in Spamalot. At the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Arts Festival Region 5, Carter was chosen as the best musical theatre actor in the semi-final round for his performance of "If You Were Gay" from Avenue Q. Carter is very excited to be making his Minnesota Fringe debut!

John Zehnder

Darryl/Paperboy/Sam

ZehnderJohn
John Zehnder is thrilled to be making his second appearance in the Minnesota Fringe Festival with the Playwrights Project. Last summer, he was a cast member of Mankato Mosaic Theatre Company’s Fringe production, Shorts in a Bundle, which featured works by local playwrights Esther Hoffman and Mitch DeDeyn. John Zehnder has also appeared in the Minnesota Shorts Play Festival and the Very Short Play Festival, as well as other local shows in the Mankato area produced by Mosaic, Merely Players Community Theatre, and Playwrights Project.

Esther Hoffmann

Katrina/Susie/Georgia

HoffmannEsther
Esther Hoffmann is a playwright and performance artist. Most recently, she played Elaine in the musical, What's The Matter With Captain Gravitone? Debuting in Fringe last year in her own short play, Little-Pick-Me-Up, Esther is excited to return to the festival in Directions. In September, she will act and direct her play, The Gospel According Hertha, at the MN Shorts Play Festival.

Jason Toupence

Jack

ToupenceJason2
Jason is a board member of the Mankato Mosaic Theatre Company. Directions is his Fringe theatrical debut, and he is looking forward to playing the curmudgeonly Jack. He lives in Mankato with his blended family of 7.

Molly Smith

Director

molly2
Molly is a costume designer and director. She just completed her MA in Theatre at Minnesota State University, Mankato where she was costume designer for “Tobacco Road”, “Beauty Queen of Lenane” and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf?”. Last year Molly directed “Gaby’s Playdate” in the Mankato Mosaic Theatre Company’s Fringe production of Shorts in a Bundle, which also won Best of the Fest at the 2011 MN Shorts Play Festival, and her second directorial endeavor for the MN Shorts Play Festival won the award last year. She is a founding member of Mankato Mosaic Theatre Company.

Greg Abbott

Writer

AbbottGreg
Greg is a playwright from North Mankato, whose work this year includes "Scars," produced by Between Us Productions in New York City; "Gravitone, the Musical" produced by the Playwrights Project; "Honesty on the Record," produced by Mankato Mosaic Theatre Company; and "The Twinkie Caravan Murder Mystery" by Merely Mysteries.

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