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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Showtimes

Shows start and end on time at Fringe. With 850 performances of 167 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 Grumpy's Bar & Grill - Downtown, 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. Pro tip: 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 850 performances of 167 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 go live mid-November on this website. Fringe is open to everyone, all shows are selected by lottery, and you don't even need to have a show ready when you apply.

Attend: Thanks to the new day pass system, attending Fringe is easier and cheaper than ever.

Volunteer: Our 400+ 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 Grumpy's Bar & Grill - Downtown, 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 + Token = Your Admission

Everyone needs a valid pass to see a show. In addition to your pass, you will receive a token at the venue which guarantees you a seat. Turn in your token to the usher when you enter the theater.

More information about passes and policies here.

Reservations

Optional reservations guarantee a seat for a particular performance and can be purchased online in advance. You must also have a valid to get in. Day passes can be bought online with a reservation to save time, and can be picked up at the venue box office 30 minutes before the performance.

More information about reservations here.

Rules

For everyone's safety, Fringe does not allow late seating or re-admission. Photos and video are prohibited without written permission from the production staff. Fringe cannot provide refunds or exchanges.

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 Something different 

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Spec

By Ben San Del Presents
Created by Ben San Del

Playing at Mixed Blood Theatre

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Warnings: Adult language.

Stoner robots, suicidal ghosts, and disapproving gargoyles—a four-time Fringe encore winner performs original stories on these and other near-future/supernatural speculations.

The creators say this show is appropriate for ages 16+

 

Fri, 8/4 @ 5:30pm
 

 

Sun, 8/6 @ 4:00pm
 

 

Mon, 8/7 @ 8:30pm
 

 

Wed, 8/9 @ 8:30pm
 

 

Fri, 8/11 @ 7:00pm
 

* 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.

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Read the reviews

Who would have thought?

by Janis Emily Peabody on August 16, 2017
This user has reviewed 48 shows

Ben San Del is more than a comedian. He is also a writer with a bent toward Sci fi. I personally do not much like Sci fi, but it made for an interesting show and he did a great job.


Disturbing in a hilarious way

by Katy Read on August 13, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

It can be uncomfortable to focus too hard on some of the Big Questions that Ben's stories explore. What is the purpose of life? Are we doing it all wrong? Would we see it some totally different way if given the opportunity to stretch our minds that far? Ben probes these questions in five different, imaginative scenarios. Whew! Lucky thing his stories are also really funny!


Excellent and Imaginative!

by Hillary Olson on August 12, 2017
This user has reviewed 15 shows

I LOVED this show! The writing was brilliant and the stories were captivating. SPECtacular storytelling. 🙈👾👽🤖


Unique And Surprising

by Christopher Allen on August 12, 2017
This user has reviewed 24 shows

Spec makes no pretenses, it is one man reading short fiction that he wrote. It is more like a coffee house reading than a theatrical piece, but that being said: It's great. The stories are funny and surprising and even make you think. Ben tells them well and I left wanting even more. "The First Laugh" is also the hardest I laughed the whole festival.

1 person found this review helpful


I Wish That You Could See This Show!

by Edwin Strout on August 12, 2017
This user has reviewed 24 shows

Unfortunately, the show is over. The theme of the show is to lift yourself up over the petty details of your every day life and see life for what it is. Done in a very indirect way. Ben San Del is a master storyteller, and nothing could dispel you from this fact then seeing this show. Unfortunately, that isn't an option at this point. You missed it. Hope for a remount.

1 person found this review helpful


Interesting

by Rachael Goerger on August 11, 2017
This user has reviewed 3 shows

I found myself losing interest at times. Very well written but something was missing.


🤖👻🕷

by Paris Kelvakis on August 11, 2017
This user has reviewed 19 shows

Very silly. Pretty spooky. Much delightful.


More spec fiction please!

by Kelly Glader on August 11, 2017
This user has reviewed 12 shows

While I am new to sci-fi, it's becoming a favorite genre of mine, and I am so thankful to Ben for showing me how much fun spec fiction can be! I am definitely going to check out Kieran's night for spec fiction now thanks to this show. Yes, this show is a story-telling show, a one man story-telling show, but the stories will paint vivid pictures as if you were watching a whole cast on stage. As a fellow writer I can safely say that is HARD TO DO! And Ben pulls it off. I'm still thinking about these stories days later. Love, love, love this show.

1 person found this review helpful


Great Show, Robots may think so too?

by Liz Blank on August 10, 2017
This user has reviewed 14 shows

I love the lighting and narration added for a solo show for Ben. As a fan, Ben is always a must see. This is a very good show with a nod to the future and how will life be with all those robots. He if very insightful on this future thought process. A bit slow in the middle for me.

1 person found this review helpful


Beyond expectations

by Dorothy Owen on August 10, 2017
This user has reviewed 8 shows

This was a wild card show for me. I wanted to stay in the area between my 7pm and 10pm picks, and so I had no idea what I was walking into. I loved every second of it! The writing is engaging and descriptive, and Ben draws you into his imaginative worlds with a calm yet commanding presence and soothing voice. I want more! Ben, have you published anything? Do you have a podcast? Do you have stuff lying around that you want someone to look at? I'm heading to your website right now. Let me be your fan girl!


Thought it was amazing

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

The stories were captivating and the storytelling, for me, equally so. I spent this morning researching speculative fiction because if this show is any indication, I think I might be a fan.


Quality & Creativity = 5; fell asleep

by Corrie Fiedler on August 10, 2017
This user has reviewed 43 shows

Very high quality storytelling .... definitely felt as though I was listening to a master storyteller: the flow was perfect. And his stories were extremely creative. Though Ben, you may want to consult with a tech specialist to bring your comedian robot description up to date ... it sounded like a robot from the 1980s with computational abilities of the 2020s!

Like other reviewers, I learned that spec fiction is a thing by attending this performance. And a thing that I learned that I don't enjoy much.

1 person found this review helpful


Moth Balls

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

San Del shows off his storytelling brilliance while showing us his darker more philosophical side. If you like The Moth podcast or audio books, you just might love Ben's Bradburyesque performance. High points for me were The Cage and Footnotes on Headstones, the former like a campfire ghost story on very bad club drugs, the latter a nice piece of introspection using the ingenius device of a headstone that plays the resident's former thoughts.

Ben could use more acting in his act-outs (his robot comedian plays like a weird human comedian). And maybe it was just me but I think the show needed more warm up to get us in story listening mode. All in all though, a very cool show that sharpens your imagination.


I loved this!

by Cole Sarar on August 9, 2017
This user has reviewed 9 shows

Yayy!!!!


Brilliant!

by Janis Wrich on August 9, 2017
This user has reviewed 3 shows

Riveting, creative, thought-provoking and funny! Strongly recommend catching his last show.


Good stories, wanted more humor

by Matthew David on August 9, 2017
This user has reviewed 4 shows

Give credit for this show branching out into storytelling -- and a very specific area. I think it's because I've seen his comedy pieces that I was really dying for the stories to show more comedy. The philosophy was nice, but turning it to something funny now and then would have broken up some of the philosophy.


Poetry and existential dread

by Noah Nieting on August 9, 2017
This user has reviewed 8 shows

Vivid and evocative storytelling made this an enjoyable lyrical experience. The messaging verged on the nihilistic, which was not thoroughly fleshed out but still refreshing in a world that tells us we must be and do everything.


Unique

by Sunny Sorenson on August 8, 2017
This user has reviewed 13 shows

What a lovely spoken world play. Funny but though-provoking.

San Del's writing is full of wit, charm, and technical prowess. Although at times I felt that his writing would be better served on a page rather a stage, I enjoyed it nonetheless. And I learned that "spec fiction" is a thing!

Job well done!


I Speculate That You Will Enjoy This

by Adam Boutz on August 8, 2017
This user has reviewed 56 shows

Tales of reality extrapolated to logical conclusions that are delivered in a dry, sardonic manner which perfectly fits the dry, sardonic tone of the stories themselves. The themes explored are very human ones and mostly pertain to our insecurities about life and mortality.


Poe and Twiligt Zone recalled

by Dan Robert on August 8, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

Top notch writing and presentation. Reminds me a little of Twilight Zone, but then also a little like Poe. This show is very creative and leaves you thinking once out he door. Highly recommend.

1 person found this review helpful


Good Speculative Fiction

by Cetius d'Raven on August 8, 2017
This user has reviewed 50 shows

As a fan of speculative fiction, particularly that which is intended to make you reflect upon one's own life and behaviors, I enjoyed this show. Ben's work is thought-provoking and well written.

However, I seem to be less of a fan of his presentation than many other reviewers. Perhaps I have been spoiled by my years listening to audio dramas, but I feel the delivery failed to match the level of the written word.


great stories

by barb brown on August 7, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

This isn't standup or a play; this is 5 short sci-fi stories. I enjoyed them all. Occasionally I have the thought that I am happy and I was happy at Ben's show. I highly recommend choosing Spec.

1 person found this review helpful


Extraordinary writing

by Daniel Pinkerton on August 7, 2017
This user has reviewed 6 shows

Ben San Del is a delightful storyteller. In this group of five speculative tales, it is the extraordinary writing that stands out. In particular, the opening and the closing story (both, interestingly enough, about robots) are just astonishing and pitch perfect from beginning to end. I would give anything to have a book or e-book of his stories. Until then, go see an amazing hour of spoken word science fiction. You won't regret it.


Funny and thought provoking

by Mark Goldberg on August 7, 2017
This user has reviewed 7 shows

I was unfamiliar with Ben's work prior to this show, but he was very impressive. The stories do build in their complexity with the first one, about robots who get high, definitely the weakest of the tales. The Cage was probably my favorite story he told, as it went into unexpected places. I would definitely recommend seeing this performance


Rick and Morty-esque

by Jessica Lindgren on August 7, 2017
This user has reviewed 20 shows

Loved the script - so fun to see Ben doing something other than standup at Acme! Would have liked to see the robot narrator play a well-defined/consistent role or be nixed, and for 5-10 minutes (1 story?) to be cut to put in more room for pacing. Would absolutely attend a remount when Ben isn't limited to 60 minutes!


Laugh Cry Robots Humans

by Christopher Lear on August 7, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

If you like comedy, you'll love this show. If you like creative stories that reframe familiar issues, you'll love this show. If you feel lost or alone or confused by the world .... this show will confirm those feelings, and then make you feel better about having them.
As with his stand-up, Ben pretty weight and potentially terrifying ideas in palatable and downright enjoyable and uplifting ways. Though speculative fiction, Ben does not retreat into fantasy. Rather, he takes invites us on a rocketship ride to a world far enough away that we can turn around and get a better perspective on where we come from.

1 person found this review helpful


Trippy Fast

by David Trudeau on August 7, 2017
This user has reviewed 17 shows

challenges everyday perceptions in a tickling, sometimes shocking but artful way. Expand your consciousness a bit with this well written stuff. At times I felt Ben was reading this off the floor as he looked down intently sometimes correcting a mis-spoken word. Very unlike the San Del of old who told giggly stories about mittens and first time awkward sex, he is quite intensely transcendent here.

1 person found this review helpful


weird but compelling

by Lyle Larue on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 8 shows

I know Ben from the stand-up comedy circuit, it is why I chose this show. My hat is off to anyone that does a one-person show, it is hard to do. I did notice how he tripped over words a few times, but he kept going- the most important thing. Enjoyed the ones about the funny robot and pressing buttons at the cemetery the most- because I liked the social commentary in those stories.

1 person found this review helpful


A+ creativity and imagination

by JoAnn W. Pasternack on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 8 shows

Ben San Del presented a group of amazing sci fi stories. Good use of the venue, despite it being one guy talking for an hour.
Clearly he did his homework to prepare the Cage.
With his amazing choice of words, sentence structure, and flow of thoughts, I would have liked to read these stories, so I could stop to enjoy the literary value.
It was a little hard for me to focus for the whole hour of dense material. Maybe a slower delivery would help.
Definitely plan to go, even if you are not a sci fi fan. (I'm not)

1 person found this review helpful


Not my thing

by Chet Taylor on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 8 shows

I have always enjoyed Ben's shows over the years, but found this one to be tedious. To be fair, I think this material just doesn't resonate with me. I do admire his passion and commitment.


Totally unique storytelling

by Jonathan Fondell on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 4 shows

Great writing with a good delivery, Spec takes a resounding crack at sci-fi/fantasy storytelling, and each of the 5 stories made me go "huh" at different points. Perfect if you're in the mood for thinking deep thoughts, though a few times the writing tends to get stuck in its own head, and many of the themes overlap from story to story. However, each is presented with a unique viewpoint and plenty of heartfelt emotion from Ben San Del, and the stories are the kind that stick with you.

This really is Something Different, and is probably best suited to those who like dramatic readings (particularly fantastic themes) vs. traditional theatre, though everyone can find something to like in this.


Not your typical "storytelling" show

by Windy Bowlsby on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 7 shows

Storytellers usually focus on non-fiction, autobiographical stories. If that were true of Ben, he'd be a robot, and a ghost, and an obsessed inventor...
The point?
It's speculative fiction! (Or just science fiction/fantasy.)

It's like having a really excellent reader do a live audiobook for you.

Terrific stories told exceptionally well.

2 people found this review helpful


Fringe First

by Rebecca Sandell on August 5, 2017
This user has reviewed 2 shows

We have come to expect great things from Ben and he fully delivers. I didn't know what to expect going in, but this show is witty and surprisingly heartfelt.

2 people found this review helpful


AKA Speculation Fiction Storytelling

by Bradley Johnson on August 5, 2017
This user has reviewed 56 shows

Have been a fan of Ben for years and although I enjoyed his show, it wasn't my favorite. This was my first taste of spec fiction and I found it interesting. I think I might have enjoyed it more if it ended after 3 stories or maybe if there would have been another storyteller sharing their work also.

1 person found this review helpful


Words that make your brain tingle

by Nadra Wass on August 5, 2017
This user has reviewed 9 shows

Ben's rapid-fire performance left me yearning to spend more time bathing my brain in his language. Like your spec fic with a healthy dose of existential ponderings? Come on in, the water's fine!

3 people found this review helpful


Kurt Vonnegut goes to The Moth

by David Lawson on August 4, 2017
This user has reviewed 7 shows

This was like if Kurt Vonnegut was workshopping short stories in a Moth-type environment. Just as bizarre and unique as that sounds. There are so many "scenes" in performance. I had never seen "speculation fiction storytelling." A good first exposure to a "scene" I didn't know about.

1 person found this review helpful


See it!

by Jonathan Zucker on August 4, 2017
This user has reviewed 6 shows

Really solid performance of genuinely imaginative stories.

One more editing pass and a bit better direction of the delivery and it would have gotten that last star. Go see it.


Hilarious and thoughtful

by CJ Mantel on August 4, 2017
This user has reviewed 3 shows

Using robots alienso and ghosts to comment on humanity is just one of the many reasons Ben San Del's brain always amazes me.

1 person found this review helpful


But what does it all MEAN?

by Liz Capouch on August 4, 2017
This user has reviewed 12 shows

San Del presents 5 self-written and performed stories that all relate to the questions of "Why are we here?", "Does any of this matter?", and "What does it all mean?" His stories intersperse comedy, drama, and sci-fi, while bending space and time. The stories were enjoyable and thought-provoking, and the order of presentation built towards his strongest material at the end. I felt the pacing was a bit quick in parts, and the material would be better served with more time to land, though I expect this will improve with more performances.

1 person found this review helpful


The emotions of the Hu-man

by Bill Stiteler on August 4, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

San Del, in a quintet of stories, uses science fiction and the supernatural to explore the human condition where all of our survival problems have been solved, but not our search for meaning.

2 people found this review helpful


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Cast and crew

Ben San Del

writer/performer

Ben San Del has written and produced eight shows for the Minnesota Fringe Festival, including the encore-winning plays Apple Picking, A Nice Guy's Guide to Awkward Sex, and Minnesota Middle Finger, and the one-man shows Fiddlestick Conundrum, An Agony of Fools, and the encore-winning Animal Cracker Genocide. He is a member of the performance troupe the Rockstar Storytellers and, as a stand-up comic, a past winner of Acme Comedy Co's Funniest Person in the Twin Cities contest.


Zoe Benston

consultant/voice over


Laurie Swenson

consultant

More information

"One of my favorite shows of the Fringe so far," Grail Diary review

"Mind-bending and also hilarious. 5 stars," Matthew Everett, Fringe blogger

Ben San Del returns to the MN Fringe for his ninth overall show and sixth one-man performance with something a little different.

Because our current reality has become a bit of a bummer lately, this show will feature five short stories set in realities other than our own. You will find no modern politics here, but you will find stand-up comedy robots, interactive tombstones, cross-dimensional theater nerds, and out-of-celestial-body experiences. These tales from the speculative fiction genres of sci-fi, horror and supernatural realism will delve into near future and alternate realms to explore the comedic, tragic, and just plain strange state of the human condition.

Content warning: A ghost story contains descriptions of suicide some audience members may find disturbing.

PRAISE FOR PAST SHOWS BY BEN SAN DEL PRESENTS:
     “Dragging a skeptic to their first Fringe show? Make it this one.” – Star Tribune
     “Sharp, with perfect pacing” – Pioneer Press
     “Made me so happy on so many levels *****” – Twin Cities Daily Planet
     “Always on-target stalwart” – City Pages
     “One of our favorite finds” – Mankato Free Press
     “Make sure to mark it on your Fringe itinerary” – Secrets of the City
     "Over the last decade, writer and comedian Ben San Dal has shot to sellout fame, with his shows
       a must-see at the Fringe Festival" – Twin Cities Arts Reader (Top 10 Best Shows 2016 List)

PRODUCTION HISTORY:
     Apple Picking, 2016 (encore winner)
     Fiddlestick Conundrum, 2014
     An Agony of Fools, 2012
     Minnesota Middle Finger, 2011 (encore winner)
     A Nice Guy's Guide to Awkward Sex, 2010 (encore winner)
     Animal Cracker Genocide, 2009 (encore winner)
     Strawberry Fields Temporarily, 2008
     Mittens for Fat Kids, 2006

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