"...learning how many opportunities there are here for emerging artists—that really made it a great experience.”
-Rob Gelberg '14
Macalester students and alumni dug deep into the Twin Cities theater scene last summer by showcasing their talents at the Minnesota Fringe Festival. An 11-day August marathon of non-juried, uncensored, independent, and original theater, the Fringe Festival is an annual event, hosted by a myriad of Twin Cities venues focused on bringing the artistic community of the metro area together.
“It’s like Christmas meets the Oscars—without the awards,” says Isabel Nelson ’04, whose Fringe play, Ashland, was the best-selling show at the festival. Nelson, entrenched in both the Twin Cities theater scene and the Macalester community (she works for the Admissions Department and regularly guest directs student productions), bridged the two spheres: her production featured recent Mac grads Willie Gambucci ’12 and Petyie McCandless ’11 in a rags-to-riches Cinderella tale set in the 1930s American dustbowl.
Highly collaborative in nature, Fringe offers an opportunity for participants to connect with other actors and writers in the area, hone their skills, and learn the ropes of production. Rob Gelberg ’14 (North Caldwell, N.J.) wrote and cast a two-person, one-act show called To and From on the Earth, in which God and the Devil engage in witty banter and philosophical musings over coffee. He starred in the play along with classmate Alana Horton ’14 (Northampton, Mass).
“Getting to put on the show was one thing,” says Gelberg, “but being part of something larger like the Fringe Festival and learning how many opportunities there are here for emerging artists—that really made it a great experience.”
The abundance of opportunities in the Twin Cities to get involved in theater also struck another classmate, John Bennett ’14 (Minneapolis). “I feel like there’s so much just around campus to be tapped,” he says. Bennett auditioned for and was cast in a starring role in another Fringe production, Even Yours.
Nelson made a point of seeing other Mac alumni and student perform at the Fringe Festival, and enjoyed the shows immensely. “Macalester students bring such curiosity and joyful endeavor to anything they do,” she says. “It’s exciting to see them start to explore their artistic voice.”