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

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To Mars With Tesla or The Interplanetary Machinations of Evil Thomas Edison

Comedy /

By English Scrimshaw Theatrical Novelties

Created by A & J English Scrimshaw

Tesla versus Edison. Who will win the War of the Currents? What is the secret of the dancing Martians? Why does Madame Curie keep radium in her brassiere? Find out in this retro silent comedy.

Historical content, Modern Dance, Physical theater/Clowning, Sci-fi/Mystery/Horror

Multimedia

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

SOLD OUT!
Sunday, 8/4 7:00 p.m.
 
Tuesday, 8/6 5:30 p.m.
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Wednesday, 8/7 5:30 p.m.
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SOLD OUT!
Friday, 8/9 8:30 p.m.
 
Saturday, 8/10 4:00 p.m.
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Sunday, 8/11 8:30 p.m.
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Intermedia Arts

2822 Lyndale Ave. S

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Reviews

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Audience reviews

Smart and fun

By Richard Jackson / August 12, 2013
This user has reviewed 55 shows

I enjoyed this show immensely. The physical comedy demanded by the silent film genre was executed beautifully. I think it could use a bit of trimming, but that's a small complaint.

Nice. Much fun.

By Jonathan Kopka / August 11, 2013
This user has reviewed 3 shows

Fantastic. Really. Tesla and Edison. Mars. Silent film. Some choreography. Body language theatre. These folks...you positively deserve kudos and thanks and laughs and some Radium on the side to go with a slice of pie. Very nice. Thanks for the laughs. Much fun.

Another silent movie

By Laurie Fournier / August 11, 2013
This user has reviewed 4 shows

Being a fan of silent movies, I had to go to this one. The action was great, and hit the right spot between the silliness of so many silent films and live stage. The music was perfect (nice job, Miriam) and overall it was just a fun production.

Excellent

By James Howitt / August 10, 2013
This user has reviewed 7 shows

This show does everything it sets out to do perfectly. Great physical comedy and the silent aspect was a blast.

Great physical comedy

By Paul Mattes / August 9, 2013
This user has reviewed 13 shows

I was amazed by the physical comedy in this show. Everything worked -- timing, blocking, music, costumes. I would see if for the expressions on Tesla's face alone.

A thoroughly enjoyable event.

Imaginative and clever

By Robb Krueger / August 8, 2013
This user has reviewed 3 shows

The show took a unique approach to theatre, steam punk, history, silent films and pantomimic action. I saw more imagination on the Intermedia Arts stage in the 45 minutes of this show than I saw in several previous shows I"ve seen. The negative reviews here sound like they are people who haven't seen a silent film and don't have any idea what the performers were trying to do. I would love to see more from this company!

Interesting and resourceful.

By J.R. Lloyd / August 8, 2013
This user has reviewed 9 shows

Thoroughly enjoyed the format and physical humor. Would like to have seen a bit more story between Tesla and Edison. Superb cast...especially enjoyed the silent movie piano score! Highly recommend.

Silent Hit!!

By Jeanie Johnston / August 7, 2013
This user has reviewed 24 shows

Absolutely loved this show where the Silent Movie meets Steampunk meets Buster Keaton meets H.G. Wells. Bravo!! Well done!

Now where did I put that radium?

By Scott Pakudaitis / August 7, 2013
This user has reviewed 40 shows

I've seen staged radio plays before; staged silent films, however, are a rare breed. This one rocked! Full of physical comedy, dance, great music, and not a single spoken word. The hero Tesla vs. villain Edison story was a load of fun and the supporting cast of the Curies and Martians made for an entertaining romp through a fictional history. I appreciated the homage to John Munger too; Fringe isn't the same without him.

A good start

By Annie Hall / August 6, 2013
This user has reviewed 6 shows

I liked the premise of this play, and there were scenes that were laugh-out-loud funny (I wish I could say more, but...spoilers!). I could tell that a lot of effort had been put into the creation of this piece, and I enjoyed how it took a historical moment and took it to a bizarre new place. On the other hand, it didn't feel like the performance had reached the pinnacle of what it could be. It still often felt like a regular-energy-level play that just didn't happen to have speaking. I wanted to see them take that play and turn the performances up to 11. And maybe for future productions of the show, if it lives on post-Fringe, try playing with different visual effects to approximate that film reel feeling.

Enjoyable

By Jessica Pray / August 6, 2013
This user has reviewed 2 shows

This was a very enjoyable work, but the novelty of the silent film idea wore off after a while. The live music was fun, though the piano was a bit wonky at times. A more polished and complex piano score could have helped accelerate the action on stage. Great acting and hilarious take on famous characters. Well done!

Slightly Steampunk

By Jordan Thompson / August 5, 2013
This user has reviewed 34 shows

And what is Fringe without a little steampunk? This creative story is super fun, historically inspired, and uses the silent comedy genre to great effect. The premiere had a few moments that were probably supposed to happen differently, but the show was so good I doubt anyone cared (I didn't). Highly recommended.

Electrifying!

By Vincent Sharma / August 4, 2013
This user has reviewed 3 shows

Great show! I enjoyed it thoroughly and they managed to capture the essence of the silent film genre they were exploring.

Noises Off

By David Rust / August 4, 2013
This user has reviewed 15 shows

I’d heard of this show when it was first launched, locally, last year. I was unable to attend. I was so pleased to hear that it had made it into the Fringe. Set in a mythical, silent-picture world of the early 20th century, rival inventors Tesla and Edison are shown battling each other (as they did in real life) over electricity and currents.

But even though Tesla’s alternating current won the day, no history book I ever encountered told what happened next. While the Curies were developing Radium in Europe, Martians have contacted Tesla to come to their aid on the Red Planet.

This show has all of Joshua Scrimshaw’s brilliant physical comedy and stunning pantomime as well as Kelvin Hatle’s maniacal brilliance as “Evil Edison”. (Mwa-ha-ha!)

Yes, Edison was that much of an ass hat

By Eric Salo / August 11, 2013
This user has reviewed 56 shows

Caught the encore for this one and it was a splendid way to wrap up Fringe. It slowed down just slightly once they arrived on Mars but that's a minor quibble. Special callout to Miriam Gerberg for the music! A fun and very entertaining show.

Inspired

By Will Weisert / August 11, 2013
This user has reviewed 38 shows

Performing physical comedy well is one thing, carrying it off for 50 minutes in a live 'silent movie' is quite another. Joshua Scrimshaw and Kevin Hatle clearly were born for to own these roles. Buy those encore tickets now.

Silent is Golden

By Fan of Theater / August 10, 2013
This user has reviewed 9 shows

What a great show. I never expected anything like this. It was very creative and entertaining. Scrimshaw never cease to amaze me.

Big fun!

By Christian Ricci / August 10, 2013
This user has reviewed 6 shows

Let me begin by saying I love Steampunk! And this show did a good job of focusing on the heart of steampunk - the fight of the individual man against industrial establishment - while including as much steam and clockwork as they could in a Fringe show. Scrimshaw's physical acting was hilarious and Hatle's mugging delighted me!

Go

By Richard Shields / August 9, 2013
This user has reviewed 20 shows

This show made me laugh and feel better more than anything I have seen so far (33 show total). The acting is on point. The use of a silent movie style to convey the story fits the work. The cast is experienced at presenting comedy. This show is steam punk with a little melodrama mixed in.

Fun Show

By Susan Colins-Hearth / August 8, 2013
This user has reviewed 7 shows

I liked this show a lot. Its basically a Buster Keaton film played on stage. Lots of fun and some great pratfalls!

Theatrical fun

By Amelia Kritzer / August 7, 2013
This user has reviewed 12 shows

What a theatrical show!I loved the silent movie conceit. While the script was light, it gave the physical comedy a focus. All very enjoyable.

Simply loved this

By Karen Cooper / August 7, 2013
This user has reviewed 17 shows

For those of us who've read much in very early science fiction, the Martians were a perfect homage to that primitive story-telling style. L. Frank Baum would have loved their companion, too. Mix a bit of steampunk, live music backing a silent film, marvelous movement, and plenty of jokes large and small with a tiny bit of historical fact, and hey presto! An ingenious and hilarious show.

Well done indeed!

Pretty good

By Patricia Ohmans / August 6, 2013
This user has reviewed 2 shows

Physical comedy, check. Lots of mugging, wriggling and prancing, check. Goofy story with historical basis that gets sillier and sillier, check. Electrifying theater...not quite. Tighten this one up, add strobe-like silent movie effects, spend less time on Martians and more time with Tesla.

I want to go to Mars!

By Florence Brammer / August 6, 2013
This user has reviewed 56 shows

Such a clever, clever show. Great physical comedy, music, movement, visuals, and even a tribute to the late John Munger.

Needs some polish

By Suzanne Sharrock / August 6, 2013
This user has reviewed 56 shows

I went expecting great humor, acting, theater from Josh Scrimshaw and Co. But it seemed both overacted (I know comedy requires some of that, but it got a little tedious) and under-rehearsed, but not in a good "improv comedy" way. The plot was zany, of course, but I wouldn't put this choice high on my list, just a possible slot-filler if you're looking for that...

Meanwhile, back at the wig ...

By Jennifer Walker / August 5, 2013
This user has reviewed 14 shows

Outstanding physicality from Mr. Scrimshaw and company! I hadn't realized until we walked in the doors that it was a "silent film" and much to my delight, they did not disappoint. If we had seen more of Joshua and his beautifully neurotic Tesla, it would have gotten another star from me. Definitely see!

Slapstick and silent pic - good fun

By Sarah James / August 4, 2013
This user has reviewed 9 shows

I really, really enjoyed the slapstick, physical humor and the silent film concept. I wished that the actors would uniformly mime their words or not, and there were a few prop mishaps, but there's little else to distract from this fun romp. A great end to my Fringe weekend.

Out of this World!

By Liz Blank / August 4, 2013
This user has reviewed 18 shows

Performance art is a science! If IA was a Chemistry lab, well then they blew the place up!!

=)

By Aaron English Scrimshaw / August 11, 2013
This user has reviewed 3 shows

That was amazingly well written and well choreographed. Also the Martian Translator Was Awesome Sonic Screwdriver LOL!

Great Concept/Excellent Execution

By Mark Long / August 11, 2013
This user has reviewed 37 shows

I loved this show. Everyone involved was wonderfully physical and expressive, especially Kelvin and Joshua. It's funny and absurd, as well as clever. I hope you guys tell more stories this way. It's just plain fun.

Ex-cellent

By Dean Seal / August 10, 2013
This user has reviewed 3 shows

The English Scrimshaw Organization presents a highly polished continuation of their skill set. Josh has honed his silent stuff. Kelvin is a very evil Edison. Adrienne makes martians look otherworldly and fabulous. The rest of the gang makes it work. The silent titles are great. Fun and naughty for all ages. Shows all sold out. Maybe next time.

My favorite brother!

By larry bieza / August 10, 2013
This user has reviewed 19 shows

Joshua brings such a heartfelt care and love to his productions. If only all fringe shows could be this way. See it!

Silence is sepia

By Dave Stagner / August 9, 2013
This user has reviewed 5 shows

Do you like comedy? Then you should consider it.
Do you like slapstick? Then definitely consider it.
Do you like silent movies? Then it may be a must-see.
Do you like live music? Also could be a must see.
Do you like steampunk? Then it's definitely a must-see.
Do you like Josh Scrimshaw? Then it's already on your list.
Do you know who Nikola Tesla is? Then you've probably already seen it.

1 person found this review helpful

Great fun!

By Julie Ann Nevill / August 8, 2013
This user has reviewed 10 shows

I loved the silent film aspect and all the physicality that went into this show! It is very fun & I laughed a lot. The Mars portion was a little thin and went on a little too long for my taste, but overall, the show was well done by very talented artists!

so much fun!

By Nichole N. / August 7, 2013
This user has reviewed 11 shows

This show was a blast! The cast was adept and engaging, and the story is like a cartoon sci-fi. They pull off an entirely silent show without a second of boredom. I definitely recommend it!

What the heck was that?

By Kay Snyder / August 7, 2013
This user has reviewed 8 shows

Dumb story that they try to save by using the silent film gimmick.

Georges Méliès, eat your heart out

By Dave Romm / August 6, 2013
This user has reviewed 8 shows

Some nifty physical comedy and great live music can't raise this show above mediocrity. Presented as a silent film, with title cards and no dialog, the story follows Tesla and Edison to Mars. Tesla was that weird and his feud with Edison was that personal. Still, comedy from real events could have been milked without resorting to an sf plot that doesn't hold Martian air. A good show, but not an outstanding one. I wanted to use "Meanwhile, back at the wig" as the title of this review but it's been taken. Three and a half stars, rounded down for being only 45 min.

Well done

By Scott Linke / August 6, 2013
This user has reviewed 10 shows

I wasn't expecting a silent movie-- but how appropriate for the time period of the piece. Mr Scrimshaw was fantastic as a wonderfully disturbed Tesla, and then throw in Curie, Edison and Martians. Wow. Well done on all of the radium bits-- I was laughing out tears as the gentlemen scientists did there best to get it off of Curie. None of you are invited to a BarBQue at my house.

Smart and Stylish

By Jeremy Mathers / August 6, 2013
This user has reviewed 2 shows

Historical science fiction physical comedy? Who knew that was a genre? A truly unique concept with a sharp and funny cast. Go see this show!

Electric!

By Paula Nancarrow / August 4, 2013
This user has reviewed 23 shows

Ok, somebody had to say it.

I loved the concept, I loved the physical comedy. Everyone in this performance was delightful... but putting Joshua Scrimshaw in a silent movie on stage particularly invites comparisons with Buster Keaton. Amy Schweickhardt as Madame Curie is, of course, positively radiant. Good stuff.

The beauty of flying radium

By Robin Johnson / August 4, 2013
This user has reviewed 4 shows

Even if this show had not been expertly written and executed (no pun intended) by a first-rate ensemble cast, I'd have been hard pressed not to give Joshua Scrimshaw five stars for one of the most hilarious recoveries from an unintentionally dropped prop I have seen in over 40 years of theatre-going.

Run, don't walk to this show and PRAY Josh fails to catch the radium!

1 person found this review helpful

Smart & Funny

By Missie Kittok / August 4, 2013
This user has reviewed 4 shows

The silent film style is fully utilized, with expressive acting, title cards, lots of physical humor, and live music that enhances all of it. So funny!

Background information + more

Written and Directed by Adrienne English and Joshua Scrimshaw

English Scrimshaw Theatrical Novelties blends fact and science fiction in the stylized form of a live silent film comedy.  Watch as Nikola Tesla once again matches wits with his arch foe, Evil Thomas Edison.  Who will win the War of the Currents?  What is the dark secret of the dancing Martians?  Why does Madame Curie keep radium in her brassiere?

Discover the edifying answers to these and other electrifying questions when you venture... TO MARS WITH TESLA!

One of MINNESOTA MONTHLY'S TOP FRINGE PICKS!

"MUST SEE" - Pioneer Press

"Performed as a silent film on stage, this inventive and witty piece of work turns history on its head -- and then explodes that cranium. Electrical pioneers Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison vie for the Earth, the affections of Marie Curie and finally for the fate of Mars. The show is an elegant blend of Joshua Scrimshaw's Chaplin-esque clowning and the loony and expressive choreography of Adrienne English. Stir in Kelvin Hatle's deliciously malevolent Thomas Edison and a lively, old-timey score played by Miriam Gerberg, and you've got a smart and tasty departure from the expected."

-- Dominic P. Papatola

Previous Praise for To Mars with Tesla and English Scrimshaw Theatrical Novelties:

"Delightfully weird" - City Pages

"English Scrimshaw and Co. perform every slip, trip, fall and otherwise hilarious potentially dangerous physical gag with grace. In fact, I have half a mind to start calling Scrimshaw the Jacky Chan of Minneapolis theater." - Le'toile

"Hearty laughs" - Star Tribune

"Inventive, risky and hilarious" - Pioneer Press

For those of you who are literary minded, we invite you to read our serialized dime novel prequel,Young Tesla Conquers The Iguanodon!

Cast + crew bios

Adrienne English

Creator, Director/Choreographer, Martian Queen

Adrienne began her dance training at Stanley Holden Dance Center with members of the Sadlers Wells/Royal Ballet. She studied Horton-based modern dance and choreography at CalArts with members of the Bella Lewitzky and Alvin Ailey companies. While at CalArts she made her first forays into the wonderful world of collaboration, working with installation artists, filmmakers and animators. Since moving to Minneapolis in 1990, Adrienne has apprenticed with Beth Corning Dances & Company, performed with Kusanovich Dance Theater, appeared in a number of site-specific works by Marylee Hardenberg and spent fifteen years as a member of John Munger's Third Rabbit Dance Ensemble. As a choreographer Adrienne has developed an extensive comedic and satirical body of work. She has created work for the Scrimshaw Brothers late night comedy shows, Look Ma No Pants and The Scrimshaw Show, numerous Minnesota Fringe Festival productions including Smart Girls on Ice, Shut Your Joke Hole and for Weird Al Yankovitch at the Minnesota State Fair.

Joshua Scrimshaw

Creator, Director, Nikola Tesla

Joshua is a writer, actor and producer not to mention a "clever and inventive voice in comedy theater"(Star Tribune) A Fringe Festival veteran, Joshua has co-created many critically acclaimed shows, including Look Ma No Pants, From Here to Maternity and The Harty Boys in the Case of the Limping Platypus. In 2010, Joshua and Levi Weinhagen founded Comedy Suitcase, an all-ages theater company dedicated to bridging the gap between imaginative children's theater and sophisticated comedy for adults. Their last Fringe Festival offering, The Gentlemen's Pratfall Club, was one of the top selling shows of the 2012 festival. In addition to producing his own shows, Joshua has worked with a wide variety of Twin Cities' theater companies including Bedlam Theater, John Munger's Third Rabbit Dance Ensemble, Theater in the Round, Actors Theater of Minnesota, Off Leash Area, Cheap Theater, Lili's Burlesque Revue and Hardcover Theater. Joshua made his television writing debut last year on the new syndicated sketch comedy show M@d About. His 2011 collaboration with Collision Pictures, The Good Friend, earned six awards at the Twin Cities 48 Hour Film Festival and a Jury award at the South Dakota Film Festival. His next show, The Harty Boys in the Mystery of the Mall of America of Death, can be seen this October at the Bryant Lake Bowl Theater in Minneapolis.

Kelvin Hatle

Evil Thomas Edison

Kelvin Hatle is excited to be working with Joshua and Adrienne for the umpteenth time in as many years. Most recently, he was in Hardcover Theater's production of Pollyanna, and Box Wine Theatre's What Happened To The Dollar? Also, he has joined forces with Fearless Productions as a member of Vilification Tennis and as a writer for Big Fun Radio Funtime. Additionally, he is performing yet another one-man show in the Fringe Festival, under the umbrella of his so-called production company Schroedinger's Dog. So yeah, he's kind of frazzled. He also plays video games, some of which are actually not Mass Effect.

Amy Schweickhardt

Madame Curie

Amy Schweickhardt’s previous credits include Engaged with Boom! Theater, productions of Private Eyes and Proof with the Phoenix Theater Project; a Company that she co-founded in 2010. Spiders Web at Park Square Theater. My Antonia, Brave New World and The Flickering Wall with The Illusion Theater, Three Days of Rain at Paul Bunyan Playhouse, Moms the Word and a remount of Proof at Theater L'Homme Dieu, King Lear with Minnesota Shakespeare Project, Fat Man Crying with Joking Envelope and several shows at The Minnesota Fringe Festival, including the self produced, one woman show I May Fly in 2010.

Chris Yon

Janitor/Priest/King of Mars

Chris Yon is a Minneapolis based performer and choreographer. As a performer, he has worked with and for Ann Carlson, Yoshiko Chuma, Justin Jones, Karinne Keithley, David Neumann, Basil Twist and Kristin Van Loon. Yon’s choreographies have been presented nationally and internationally at Dance Theater Workshop, Performance Space 122, La Mama, Symphony Space, The Kitchen, Danspace Project, Gershwin Hotel, CBGB's, The Knitting Factory, Walker Art Center, The Southern Theater, Bryant Lake Bowl, Philadelphia Dance Project, ODC Theater, Velocity Dance Center, Highways Performance Space, Project Art Centre (Dublin), Tangente (Montreal), and CiteDanse (Grenoble). His work has been commissioned by The Danish National Theatre School (Copenhagen), The Wooden Floor (Santa Ana), Irish Modern Dance Theatre (Dublin) and d9 dance collective (Seattle). He has had residencies and space grants from MANCC, The Yard, SILO and BAX. Co-founder of Ur, your neighborhood dance palace in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 2003-2005. Recipient: 2003 NYFA Fellowship for Performance Art, 2005 BESSIE Award for Performance, 2009 SAGE Award for Choreography, 2011 McKnight Artist Fellowship for Choreography. BFA, NYU.

Dan Hetzel

Vagrant/Pierre Curie/Clockwork Man

Dan Hetzel has been writing and performing comedy for over 13 years. Not much else can be said about him. Let's keep it that way.

Miriam Gerberg

Composer/Musician

Miriam is a composer, performer and ethnomusicologist. As every good musician does, she has had multiple simultaneous careers. She has written commissions for chamber orchestra, opera, music theater, theater, choirs and for dance which have been performed throughout the U.S., in Israel, Palestine, Holland, Australia, Japan and Sumatra. Miriam regularly performs world musics, most recently at the Cedar cultural center with her Middle East group Ensemble Mezze and the Sumunar Indonesian Gamelan Ensemble. As a theater composer and music director, she has worked on productions and original works produced at theaters in Minnesota, Washington and New York. In her work as a composer for dance, Miriam collaborated with John Munger in a music-dance improv called "Footloose in Motley", wrote scores for other works by Munger and choreographers Suzzanna Rivers and Mary Hardenburgh. Her concert compositions have included commissions written for Taiseer Elias of El F'waar, Michiyo Yagi, Ben Pasaribu, the Minnesota Opera Company, the Minnesota Orchestra and the Schubert Club.

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