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

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Professor Hotrail and the Time-Travelling Meth Lab!

Comedy /

By MTBL

Written by Travis DePaul Berg

Caleb and Squirrels the Cat are hired by Professor Hotrail, the eccentric meth-cooking time traveler, who takes them to ancient Judea to sell meth, right around the time of Jesus Christ's prominence...

Historical content, Opera/New Music, Magic, Puppetry

World premiere

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

The creators say this show is appropriate for ages 18 and up.

Thursday, 8/1 10:00 p.m.
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Saturday, 8/3 1:00 p.m.
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Sunday, 8/4 7:00 p.m.
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Friday, 8/9 8:30 p.m.
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Sunday, 8/11 5:30 p.m.
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Music Box Theatre

1407 Nicollet Ave.

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Reviews

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Audience reviews

Talent! Gone wrong...

By Mary Hoelscher / August 11, 2013
This user has reviewed 7 shows

The music and singing were really enjoyable. The writing demonstrated talent... But, the one joke ride became incredibly tiring as the story meandered around no-where. It could have been worse, but it was also clear that the stage was full of enough talent that they could have done a great show.

High Hopes

By Kevin McDonnell / August 7, 2013
This user has reviewed 18 shows

I went in thinking I was going to laugh non-stop. The show started out really strong. The opening monologue was very funny & the shadow work was a creative approach. I thoroughly enjoyed the first musical number, then I started to grow bored. The show got a little messy and slightly confusing. The puppet vocal work by Travis Berg & Joel Partyka was wonderful, but the puppet handling needed some work & attention to detail. Alex Letsche was hilarious as Jesus & there were some great one-liners in the script. All in all, the show fell short of my "high" hopes.

A fun romp

By Gregory Abbott / August 4, 2013
This user has reviewed 7 shows

This show had some real energy. Between the puppets, the plot of selling meth in the time of Jesus, the choreography, and the crazy ukelele songs, it was an enjoyable show. I know it may be offensive, it may be sacriligious, but one thing I do know: It was fun. Check it out.

Couldn't Stop Laughing!

By Carter Allen / August 2, 2013
This user has reviewed 5 shows

This show is so beautifully offensive! A great cast and creative team working together to really show the bright side of meth. Such a bizarre concept that is really kicked up a notch by the addition of a score in which the only instrument used is a ukulele. Some fantastic high energy performances and it kept me laughing the entire time. Sure to be a hit! Do not miss this show!

Funny, and then...

By Corban Noah / August 10, 2013
This user has reviewed 3 shows

The first half started off freakin' hilarious--almost like a lampoon of Sesame Street. The antics, the intentional corniness and of course the ukulele soundtrack were fantastic.

Then it kind of fell apart in the second half. The plot seemed to essentially stop moving. The same meth jokes were repeated until they lost their humor. And then of course there's the tedious attempt to be "edgy" by yet again making fun of Christians.

If they would put the silly psychotic cheesiness in a more steadily-moving plot while avoiding cliche attempts to be "controversial", this could be a good show.

Meh

By Natalie Adams / August 5, 2013
This user has reviewed 20 shows

A show about meth with no consequences, puppet sex, poking fun at Jesus, what more could you want? A clear plot, maybe? There were some great one liners and catchy tunes, but it wasn't enough to keep my attention the full hour. And the lack of plot or purpose left something to be desired. I feel that the actors and director did the best with what they were given, but it could have been a lot better. If you like really crude humor, nothing deep and meaningful, and a cat name Squirrel it's a good way to spend an hour.

Big Characters Can't Carry Shallow Jokes

By Drama Man / August 3, 2013
This user has reviewed 8 shows

Not knowing what to expect other than some crude humor, I went into The Time-Traveling Meth Lab with fairly low expectations. The show exceeded those, but only just.
An enthusiastic and well staged production, the actors gave it their all, particularly Briggs, creating huge entertaining characters, if not particularly deep. The ukelele musical numbers definitely entertained.
The biggest hold-up was the script. Despite some fantastic one-liners, it lacked focus, both in the comedy and the story. In particular, a misguided attempt to poke fun at Jesus never really landed, and a golden opportunity to juxtapose the horror of modern excesses with historical inequalities was missed.
Entertaining but flawed, there are worse ways to spend an hour.

Good energy, focus off

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

Staging and acting for this show was great, along with some funny choreography. But the show seemed to lack focus, and I don't know what the point was, other than to say meth is good. It's some good eye candy, but even a sitcom needs a point. The show is saved by some high-energy actors, and some twisted uke songs I liked.

1 person found this review helpful

Original as Hell

By Jim Pounds / August 9, 2013
This user has reviewed 1 show

I have to give Travis Berg credit. Despite some amateurish acting and some shallow writing, there is a very original concept happening here. Andy Gullikson and Matt Briggs are tasty but the whole cast gave it everything they had. The energy flagged a bit in the second half but I admired the fearlessness of it. This wasn't just a bunch of kids acting up in public. This show had something to say about society, institutions and cat behavior. I take my hat off to you Travis!

Not Perfect, but Smart and Funny!

By Melissa Arbuckle / August 4, 2013
This user has reviewed 3 shows

The show isn't necessarily deep and meaningful, but it is creative and fun. Original script and original music played on a ukulele is just delightful and comical. Most of the cast played their parts very well and I appreciated the amount of hard work and passion put into this show. Professor Hotrail is quite the character and you just have to love his crazy excitement about the prospect of taking over the world with Meth! The ending kinda made me want to see the sequel. If you like ensemble pieces that combine basic creative theatrical elements with smart humor, this is a fun show!

All the cool kids were going to it.

By Esther Hoffmann / August 3, 2013
This user has reviewed 3 shows

I went to a play that had “time-traveling meth lab” in the title. What did I expect? Because, I think I got it? However, the actors were charming and talented. And, I wish more musicals would rely solely on a ukulele.

Cast + crew bios

Meredith Larson

Director/Producer

Meredith Larson is pleased to be returning for her second go as director for MTBL. In addition to directing for the Fringe, Meredith just finished writing and directing her first kid's show for Stages Theatre. As a performer in the Twin Cities, some of her favorite roles have included the Executioner in Turandot with the Minnesota Opera, the white and black Queen's Piece in Human Combat Chess and Elizabeth Hartlock in Lives of the Most Notorious Highwaymen with Six Elements Theatre, Bushy in Richard II and Emilia/Rosalind in a traveling Shakespeare educational tour with Classical Actors Ensemble, She in The Naked I: Wide Open with 20% Theatre, Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire and the Third Witch/Lady Macduff in Macbeth with Theatre Coup D'Etat. "I must thank my family for their unconditional love and support. And I must thank the One in whom I live, and move and have my being

Travis Berg

Writer/Composer/Lyricist/Producer/Professor Hotrail/Thomas the Disciple

This marks Travis's third consecutive year in the Minnesota Fringe Festival. In 2012 he brought "Behind the Big Top" to the Southern Theatre and in 2011 he was an integral part of the fringe hit "Robot-Lincoln: The Revengeance!" Travis would like to thank Meredith, Hannah, His wonderful cast, and everyone else who helped make this show possible. He would also like to thank George Roesler and Meri Golden, the two people who brought him into the crazy world of theatre. Finally, he would like to thank meth for making this show all possible, for without it he would have to make fun of heroin, and that's just WAY out of bounds.

Hannah Lee DesMarais

Rehearsal Stage Manager

As a recent graduate from Minnesota State University, Mankato, Hannah is making her way in the Twin Cities theatre scene. Most recently she has worked with Climb Theatre on their 2013-2014 season. Her past Fringe shows include costuming for Behind the Big Top, and Robot Lincoln the Revengance; a Steampunk Musical. Her resume includes The Taffetas, The Gingerbread Lady, and Buzz. Hannah would like to thank her mother, father, sister, and Grandma Anamae for their never ending support and love. Last but not least Hannah would like to give special thanks Aaron.

Christopher Goebel

Technical Director

Christopher was born and raised in Mankato, MN. He graduated from University of Minnesota Morris with a degree in History, Theater Arts, and a Minor in Political Science. This has been Chris’s 24th production. Recent credits include Taffetas (Set Designer and Crew Chief), James and the Giant Peach (Co-Set Designer, Back Stage Crew, and Crew Chief), Absence of a Cello (Crew Chief and Soundboard Operator), and Helen’s Inner Circle (Crew Chief and Soundboard Operator), and Fiddler on the Roof (Set Construction and Scene Painter). Chris is employed as a Paraprofessional at Rosa Parks Elementary School, Encore, and Monroe ACES.

Megan Volkman-Wilson

Image Design

Megan is a Minneapolis native who received her BFA degree in Musical Theatre from Minnesota State University in Mankato. Favorite roles at MSU include, “Velma Kelly” in Chicago, “Maude Mix” in A Coupla White Chicks Sitting Around Talking, and “Penelope” in The Odyssey, the latter of which performed at the KCACTF National Festival in Washington D.C. in the spring of 2011. Since returning to her beloved hometown, Megan has worked with Green T Productions (Trojan Women), the MN Centennial Showboat by way of Cerulean River Productions (The Match Girl’s Gift 2011-12), Theatre Unbound (2012 24-Hour Theatre Smackdown), and Bloomington Civic Theatre (My Fair Lady, Sunday in the Park with George, On the Town), where she’ll return in this fall’s production of Les Miserables. Professor Hotrail and the Time-Travelling Meth Lab is Megan’s second MN Fringe Festival design contribution, after her promo design and PR work on last year’s Behind the Big Top. Enjoy the ride!

Andy Gulikson

Caleb/ James the Disciple

Andy Gullikson returns for another year of Fringe madness. While hiding away behind the scenes, Andy made his debut to the Minnesota Fringe Festival scene stage-managing The Selkie in 2010. He has since been a part of Astrolibrary; Robot Lincoln, the Revengeance; and Behind the Big Top, where he played Pinky the clown. More recently, Andy accompanied his lovely director in Human Combat Chess as Queen’s Knight Pawn. Thanks goes to everyone who seeing our production; friends and family are wonderful, but an audience is the support that continues making theatre happen.

Joel Partyka

Squirrels the Cat/Mattew the Disciple

Joel Partyka has been delving into the performance arts for over a decade. You may have seen him in the past couple of years at fringe. In 2011 he appeared as The Kurgan in Highlander: The Musical. He followed that in 2012 with the role of Jerry in Behind the Big Top. He hopes that you utterly enjoy the show, for he finds the humor in almost anything, and to be able to find the lighter side of dark situations is a trait more people should have. To quote a great poet The Joker "Why so serious?" You just got bio'd

Alex Letsche

Jesus

Alex Letsche is delighted to make his MN Fringe Festival debut. Twin Cities theatre credits include: "The Boys in the Band" with Brazen Theater, "The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told" with Silver Slipper Productions and "Clue, the Movie: A Drinking Game" with A Drinking Game: Minnesota. He has a degree in Theatre from Minnesota State University, Mankato, where he performed in "The Rocky Horror Show", "Evil Dead: The Musical", and "One Flea Spare" among other shows. He would like to thank Meredith, Travis, Hannah, his family and his love, Alec Barniskis.

Kaija Pellinen

Katniss/ Phillip the Disciple

Kaija Pellinen. After spending part of last year in Los Angeles, CA, Kaija is delighted to be back in Minneapolis and making her Fringe debut with Professor Hotrail… Previous work includes Hairspray (Penny Pingleton) at Chanhassen Dinner Theatre, Proof (Catherine) with Festival Theatre, An O Henry Christmas (Sue) with Open Window Theatre. Kaija holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Theatre Arts from Minnesota State University, Mankato and is a graduate of the Perpich Arts High School. "Love and thanks to my family for always supporting me." www.kaijapellinen.com

Lindsay Odegaard

Marshmellow the Cat/ Simon the Disciple

Lindsay Odegaard is making her Minnesota Fringe Festival debut in Professor Hotrail and the Time-travelling Meth Lab! She is so thankful to the creators of this show for giving her this opportunity. Lindsay is a recent theatre graduate from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Some of her favorite roles while at MSU included, Joanne in RENT, Mama Morton in Chicago and Shirley Markowitz in The Producers. She is so excited to be apart of this show and this festival and would like to thank her friends and family for their never ending love and support!

Matt Briggs

Student/Judas

Matt Briggs graduated from University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in 2011 with a BFA in Acting. His favorite roles include Cassius in Julius Caesar, Beethoven in Dog Sees God, and Jesus in Godspell. In the Twin Cities, he has worked with Theatre Coup D’etat in their production of Macbeth. He currently works as a case manager at ProAct, Inc. in Eagan, where he assists in writing and directing plays to be performed by adults with developmental disabilities. Matt is pleased to be participating in the Minnesota Fringe Festival for the first time and thanks his family, friends, and co-workers for all of their support!

Ryan Thorsen

Dean (Voice)

Ryan Thorsen is a writer and actor from the Twin Cities area. He received Bachelor of arts degrees in both theatre and creative writing from Minnesota State University, Mankato. He currently works as an assistant manager at the Plymouth Playhouse in Plymouth, MN. This is the third year in a row that he has been involved with the MN Fringe Festival, having previously appeared in "Robot Lincoln: The Revengeance" in 2011, and "Behind the Big Top" in 2012. He is very excited to once again be a part of MN Fringe.

Annie Dosch

Roberta Roderiquez/Roman Quard 1/Bartholomew the Disciple

Annie Dosch is a senior studying Theatre with a Minor in Gender and Women's Studies. You may have seen her in last year's fringe as "Petunia" in Behind the Big Top. She has also been the assistant to the lovely and talented costume designer Hannah DesMarais for Merely Players production of The Taffetas. She has also been in several MSU shows that include, Evil Dead: The Musical, The Producers, and The Imaginary Invalid. In her down time, Annie likes to snowboard, drink beers, and get into wanton tomfoolery.

Aaron Ruder

Roman Guard 2/ Katniss's Father/ Peter and John the Disciple

Aaron Ruder is very excited to be returning for a second round in the Fringe Festival after last year's Behind the Big Top. Other recent credits include Romeo and Juliet with Theatre Coup d'Etat and War of the Worlds and Night of the Living Dead with the Historic Mounds Theatre. He studied theatre at Eureka College in Central Illinois. Aaron would like to thank everyone who made the Hotrail possible, especially Meredith and Hannah.

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