Where did Godot go? Only we know

Sean McGrath

The merciless barrage of shows that the MN Fringe Festival flings at you can be quite overwhelming. What’s even more frightening is that there really is no authoritative guide to steer you through the rocky waters of the Fringe. Does a quick blurb really suffice to encapsulate such hard work these artists have invested? Most assuredly no. One show in particular granted me the chance to “look beneath the covers” and find out more information than the brief coverage each show receives. [In John Troyer’s Apartment] is that show.

Beginning August 3, a performance showcase will take place at John Troyer’s actual place of residence in Minneapolis every night to August 12 (no Sunday performances). For times of performances, check www.fringefestival.org.

At its most primal roots, the show intends to answer a question present since the beginning of theater: Where do the characters go when they depart stage to perform their actions? The answer-Troyer’s apartment. Sure, the actors exit stage left or right for the purposes of costume changes, make-up adjustments, or a refreshing Diet Tab, but the characters themselves must go somewhere, right? Through the complexities of multi-dimensional wormholes these characters have taken refuge from the perils of life at Troyer’s place. Tenants at this unorthodox transit hub come to escape or relax, but John Troyer remains oblivious to them and their actions. Shakespeare’s Ophelia, Euripides’ Medea, and Samuel Becket’s acclaimed no-show, Godot all make an appearance during the evening. This motley crew can freely communicate, unrestrained by the language or cultural barriers that may pose a problem in normal universes.

Now it’s not all pinochle and Tetris for this gang; there is a looming threat of eviction and apartment seizure by a bureaucratic agency dubbed “Efficiency Consultants”, and therein lays the tension. [In John Troyer’s Apartment] will attempt to enliven the apartment itself with more importance. Troyer hopes it will be a limbo nexus flowing with its own raw energy, that anything will happen. John Troyer’s brainchild was partly inspired by The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams, part of his Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series. The show bridges the raw imagination influenced by Douglas Adams’s work with the bizarre enigma of characters’ whereabouts during a play. Running an hour long, the show will cater to a small audience each night and as an added bonus, for the duration of the Fringe there will be 24-hour video surveillance via an Internet web cast for those who need more. http://www.fringefestival.org

Collaborating with Troyer are five other actors who have all been a part of the University of Minnesota theatre department. Kathryn Guentzel, Kerri Keyes, Andrea Levi, Christina Pilsner, and Nathan Tylutki, and of course Troyer are the parents of [In John Troyer’s Apartment]. Troyer and his troupe are attempting to provide an examination into “the exuberance of randomness” as he dubs it, by stating that no two shows of [In John Troyer’s Apartment] will be the same. Taking place in Troyer’s apartment at 2615 Harriett Avenue S. Apt #2, the show reaches past the traditional notions of theatre. The most intriguing aspect of which is that the performance must deal with the unforeseeable, as any apartment may present; a phone ringing, the pizza guy at the door, SWAT busting through your window brandishing Heckler & Koch MP5 sub machine guns, etc. Perhaps I’m speaking too personally. Whatever. For this show, the chance for uncertainty and chaos is most definitely at hand.