About Minnesota Fringe

There is one big thing that makes Fringe different from any other event in town: All the shows you'll see at Fringe were selected randomly by lottery.

Yep. That's right. Each year the lineup is crafted by placing numbered ping-pong balls into a bingo cage and drawing them out, one by one. From stage veterans to people who are brand new to theater, Minnesota Fringe is a forum for anyone with a story to tell. We also provide the necessary support to make producing a show as easy as possible, regardless of where you land on the artistic spectrum.

Anyone (yes, anyone) can apply to have a show in the festival. If you'd like to have a show in our next festival, applications will go live in November here on our website. Sign up for our newsletter to receive a reminder as well as information about other theater events happening around town.

The mission of the Minnesota Fringe is to promote creative freedom and diversity of artistic expression by linking adventurous artists with adventurous audiences. Thank you for joining in this adventure!

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Shows start and end on time at Fringe. With hundreds of performances and dozens of shows in just 11 days, we have to run a tight schedule to avoid descending into chaos. Performances are no more than 60 minutes long with a half hour between each show.

On weekdays shows begin at 5:30pm, 7pm, 8:30pm and 10pm. On weekends there are additional shows at 1pm, 2:30pm and 4pm.

Late seating: There is NO LATE SEATING at Minnesota Fringe. In addition to keeping our schedule, late seating is a safety issue for artists and audiences.

Safety for artists: Some of our theaters require that patrons walk across parts of the stage to reach the seating area, and many of our production companies’ stage work encompasses entrances and exits from the house.

Safety for audiences: Entering a darkened theater, possibly for the first time, and trying to find open seats puts patrons and volunteers at unnecessary risk.

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Fringe Central

Fringe Central, sponsored by Surly Brewing and hosted by a local establishment, serves as the late-night watering hole for artists, staff, volunteers and audience members alike. Come in after a day full of shows to grab a beer and some bar food. Talk about what you loved and what you didn’t. Meet the artists behind the scenes and actors on the stage. Find out what you should see tomorrow or dream up your own idea for next year. You never know what will happen during Fringe, but dropping by Fringe Central gives you a serious head start.

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What to Wear

Shorts and a t-shirt. Seriously. Also, a pair of comfy shoes will serve you well in case you have to wait in line. Most Fringe shows take place indoors in air-conditioned venues, so having a layer to throw on in case you get chilly is also advisable.

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Choosing a Show

With hundreds of performances and dozens of shows, it's scandalous to see just one. But how to choose the perfect lineup?

Search by genre: You can filter for genres when trying to decide what to see.

Talk to people: It only sounds scary. Just look for the folks in lanyards. Lanyards are worn by Fringe artists and there are at least a thousand of them dying to tell you about their show.

Read and write reviews: See what audiences are raving about on our audience review page, then return the favor and let others know what you thought.

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Get Involved

Fringe isn't just a festival - it's a community, and it couldn't exist without people like you.

Create: Applications for the 2018 festival will are live on this website. Fringe is open to everyone, shows are selected by lottery, and you don't even need to have a show ready when you apply.

Volunteer: Our volunteers are near and dear to our hearts and make our festival go, so we shower them with lots of love and complimentary seats! Sign up for a shift now!

Socialize: Join us any night of the festival at our official hangout, Fringe Central sponsored by Surly Brewing and hosted by a local establishment, for a beer, a burger and maybe even some late-night shenanigans.

Support: Help us create Minnesota's Summer Theater Crawl by donating to or sponsoring our annual festival. Gifts of any size make a large contribution to our ability to meet our mission.

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Box Office Info

Pass, Reservations, and Tickets, Oh My!

In 2018, Fringe will still offer passes but is also re-introducing single tickets options to see shows. We are re-tooling our Box Office policies to reflect our changes. Please check back for more information in the spring.

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 Something different 


The Masque of Power

By Vaky Vaky
Created by Matthew Vaky and Nathanael Vaky

Playing at Mixed Blood Theatre


Warnings: Violence, Adult language.

From Elizabethan Masque to Twerking, we dance around power that corrupts and money that exploits. The father/son acting team Vaky Vaky tangle and tango through a painfully funny exploration of corrosive power.

The creators say this show is appropriate for ages 16+


Sat, 8/5 @ 4:00pm


Wed, 8/9 @ 10:00pm


Sat, 8/12 @ 7:00pm


Sun, 8/13 @ 1:00pm

* Reservations not required, but a Day Pass is. Find out more below.

Ticket Options

Day Passes are $16 on weekdays; $22 on weekends. Day Passes serve as entry to any show in the festival on a given day. Optional reservations to guarantee a seat for a particular performance are available by clicking the "reserve" button above. Day Passes can be purchased in advance with a reservation or at any venue box office during the festival.

Weekdays 1pm-3pm and Weekends 11am-1pm we'll also open an Alternative Box Office at Fringe Central so you can grab a Day Pass and skip the lines at the venue before the show.

Day Passes for kids 12 and under are available at any box office during the festival just $5 every day.

A 2017 Fringe button isn't required for entry, but it does get you access! Wearing it not only identifies you as a part of a fabulous Fringe community, it also entitles you to special deals at local bars and restaurants and access to reduced ticket prices at various theaters throughout the year. Get your 2017 Fringe button for only $4 at any Fringe preview event or Fringe venue during the festival.

Read the reviews

A Heavy Message That Doesn't Quite Land

by Adam Boutz on August 14, 2017
This user has reviewed 56 shows

A Crazy romp about power dynamics and how money is the root of all evil. Played a lot on the meta script-about-the-script which can feel tired, but in the context of two harlequins worked well. I was encouraged at first that this would not turn into just another piece about Trump. It tried very hard not to by illustrating how power is taken and abused in other way, but eventually caved.

Great concept, true to Commedia form

by Audra Lind on August 13, 2017
This user has reviewed 5 shows

Powerful messages peppered throughout wonderfully executed Commedia bits, and it is clear they truly understand the art of Commedia (grammalot language at opening was lovely). Show made me think and kept filtering through our conversation on the 2 hr drive home.

My only real critique was with some of the dialogue. Some of the "this is not a part of the show" segments felt too unscripted and rambled. Good therapy for actor but left me wanting something that moved beyond my own concerns. Didn't always understand what son wanted or his purpose when interrupting dad; seemed at odds w himself or antagonistic just to move the script forward.

But even so loved this show. The multiple masks at the end were brilliant. Bravo!


by Eric Meininger on August 12, 2017
This user has reviewed 31 shows

I walked out of this one not sure what to think. They stepped
In and out of role with abandon and smashed the 4th wall on at least one occasion. More importantly, they argued about feminism and were real in their purpose and shortfalls. Recommended.

1 person found this review helpful

Must see!

by Suzi Love on August 12, 2017
This user has reviewed 7 shows

Did they just do what I thought they did? Yes?

Who thought a critical analysis of power dynamics could leave my sides in stitches? Who thought the form of commedia could give such insight about political discourse? This duo serves up an EXCELLENT performance fusing commedia, performance art, and spoken word, all while blurring lines of the 4th wall. I left the theater with a stimulating mixture of contentment in laughter, shock and realization of how apt this show is, and a dawning inspiration to do more to resist.
Did I mention these guys are hilarious?


a risque worth taquing

by Jeremy Motz on August 10, 2017
This user has reviewed 11 shows

there's a lot more to this show than it appears on the outside. i went in trying to remember the (little) i knew about commedia, but thankfully realized pretty early on it wasn't necessary. the structure and conventions of the piece deal with a lot more than just the hook of the mask work, and while this style of 4th wall disregard doesn't sit well with some folks (i know from experience...), it is smack dab in my wheelhouse. i'm still chewing on a lot of the scenes, but i would recommend this odd, hilarious, and extremely fringey show to anybody.

1 person found this review helpful

Found the message in there

by Richelle Amundson on August 10, 2017
This user has reviewed 39 shows

I found the presentation to be distracting and confusing, but I do acknowledge that I think they were successful through their chosen communication style in getting across a good message about our own role in social power dynamics.

Wild fun with a message

by Greg Hernandez on August 10, 2017
This user has reviewed 4 shows

Full disclosure: Mathew was my acting teacher. Good to finally see him work in such a special piece. With only a threadbare stage, masks and a doll, Matthew Vaky and son Nathanial have concocted a really fun and thought provoking rejection of all things Trump using dance, comedy del arté, clowning, stage combat and well crafted monologues and fourth wall breakouts. It gets wacky, it gets serious, never letting you catch a breath. A real gem! I can't imagine there's much overlap between Fringers and Trumpsters but obviously avoid taking #MAGA dingbats to this one.

1 person found this review helpful


by Paris Kelvakis on August 7, 2017
This user has reviewed 19 shows

Strange, self aware, and super smart, Masque of Power is wacky as all get out, and also the most heart squishingly lovely show starring two dudes wearing fanny packs I have ever seen.

1 person found this review helpful


by Janis Emily Peabody on August 7, 2017
This user has reviewed 48 shows

Fun to watch with many good political points made. The family relationship made for good comic relief and totally authentic looking. The monologue from MACBETH was breathtaking.

2 people found this review helpful

Commedia Cath'Arte

by Joe Allen on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 17 shows

Are artists chasing self-relief instead of affecting change? Is it enough to simply fret ABOUT an issue without saying anything concrete about it. Are we able to transcend our own limitations and ego long enough to actually say something important?

There are so many ingredients in this show. It's self-aware and self-effacing. It's purposefully self-indulgent. You can see the intensity of love, passion, confusion, and pain on the faces of the Vakys.

You'll likely not see anything else like this at Fringe this year. Worth a visit.

"Searching but not finding answers anywhere, lost in a masquerade."

Don't give into despair, fam.

1 person found this review helpful

The Masque of Power

by Janelle Ranek on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

SEE THIS SHOW! A brilliant ride! Smartly crafted and performed by father (Matthew Vaky) and son (Nathanael Vaky), “The Masque of Power” takes you on a journey you won’t expect. Layer after layer -you’ll laugh, you’ll squirm a bit, you’ll cheer, you’ll scoot to the edge of your seat. Most importantly you will be moved, entertained and still thinking about this show days later!

2 people found this review helpful


by Robin Rayfield on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 14 shows

Wow! This was a fantastic show. I can't think of any problems this show had. I would need to see it multiple times and really nitpick the details. It was well written, well performed, overall entertaining, and it definitely had a great message. Unless you're a Donald Trump supporter, SEE IT!

3 people found this review helpful


by Samantha Sobash on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 5 shows

Brilliant at their craft, this show is a must see! This raw performance kept me captivated and confronted me with important social and political issues in an honest and heartening manner. A standout in my Fringe lineup.

3 people found this review helpful

Would give 6 stars if I could

by Betsy Loikow on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 5 shows

Stellar duo that kept me engaged throughout. I laughed (a lot), I cried, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. It was refreshing to see two white men make art that took on gender and sexism. A very relevant and topical performance that resonated with the anxiety of America today without feeling preachy or overdone. A MUST SEE.

3 people found this review helpful

What fourth wall?

by Ben Mendis on August 5, 2017
This user has reviewed 10 shows

This show managed to strike a delicate balance of being goofy and serious, fictional and real, tongue-in-cheek and authentic. It's the most striking and well-acted play I've seen so far at Fringe, and I think it will be hard act to follow. This father/son duo is incredible. Both of them manage to bring real life into their characters as they switch seamlessly between the characters they portray, even down to the subtle mannerisms.

It's hilarious it's honest, and they don't back away from being opinionated!

2 people found this review helpful

Passionate Artists on Important Themes

by Hillary Olson on August 4, 2017
This user has reviewed 15 shows

You could tell from the moment the duo walked on stage that they were doing something they loved. The balance between the real and the facade was powerful and poignant. This show was smart, hilarious and heart-warming- just what I needed from Fringe 2017! A must see!

3 people found this review helpful

Not very powerful

by Mariellen Jacobson on August 4, 2017
This user has reviewed 38 shows

Using mime, monologue, masque, dance, and direct address they tackle topics of power, father/son conflicts, money, misogyny, talking without listening, Trump, anxiety, meaninglessness, etc. Some interesting moments, but it didn’t really engage me.

Well crafted piece, expertly acted

by Sue Searing on August 3, 2017
This user has reviewed 8 shows

This is a complex, sometimes dizzying exploration of the nature of power in politics and relationships. The father-son dynamics and the clever (sometimes downright hilarious) ways the playwright-actors play with the fluid boundary between art and "real" life left me with lots to think about. And these guys can really act! Intellectually and emotionally satisfying. See it!

5 people found this review helpful

You thought you had enough politics

by Kelly Glader on August 3, 2017
This user has reviewed 12 shows

But you haven't. You thought you had heard the T word enough, but you haven't. This father-son duo will warm your heart as much as they will ignite it with rage. Come feel warm fuzzies for such a delightful and talented family while also wanting to yell "F*** EVERYTHING!" at the same time. Truly a refreshing take on something I thought I could never be refreshed about.

6 people found this review helpful

Cast and crew

Matthew Vaky

Creator & Actor

Matthew Vaky spent 25 years in Minnesota and performed at The Guthrie, Mixed Blood, the Illusion Theatre and of course at the Minnesota Fringe Festival with his son, Nathanael. He is a resident of Washington DC, where he was seen in The Container at Center Stage, The Life of Galileo at The Theatre of the First Amendment, The Birds and The Night Alive at Quotidian, A Servant of Two Masters at Annapolis Shakespeare, and Chesapeake at The Bay Theatre. He is on staff at GALA Hispanic Theatre, The Studio Theatre and Capital City Public Charter School. His one-man shows, Jesus at Guantanamo and ROGER (Not His Real Name) have been performed around the country, most recently at the United Solo Festival in New York.

Nathanael Vaky

Creator & Actor

Nathanael Vaky has been a resident of New York City for twelve years and received a BFA in acting at Marymount Manhattan College. He has collaborated with his father, Matthew, on many projects including Brothers and This Play is Trash at the Minnesota Fringe Festival, War in the Family at the Center for Independent Artists, and ROGER (Not His Real Name) at the United Solo Festival in New York. He is currently in the New York based comedy improv and sketch group, The Pen15 Club.

More information

Masque:  def. an Elizabethan form of theatre and dance using elements of Commedia dell'Arte; a celebration of the rich and powerful, FOR the rich and powerful. 

VAKY VAKY use masks and stereotypical stock characters to look at how power and money corrupts us all. While we love to throw stones it's clear we are all living in glass houses.  In a series of scenes exploring the power of money, VAKY VAKY keep bumping into their own power struggles as they tango, twist, and twerk through their painfully funny look at corrosive power.  "...nerdy mask theatre meets angry political theatre."

The father/son team of VAKY VAKY hail from Washington DC and New York with deep ties to Minnesota. Matthew taught at the Guthrie theatre for almost twenty five years, and directed and performed at various venues in the area, including The Guthrie, The Mixed Blood, The Illusion, SteppingStone Theatre, and The Playwright's Center.  Nathanael's first professional gig, at age six, was as Medea's Child in Garland Wright's production of Medea at the Guthrie.  He has performed at the Fringe and The Center for Independant Artists.   A graduate of Marymount Manhattan he is a founding member of The Pen15 Club, an improv and sketch comedy group in Brooklyn.

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