Before Dark by The Live Action Set
Premiered August 2004 (MN Fringe Festival) at the Minneapolis Theatre Garage. Also performed September 2004 at the Mounds Theatre.
The creators of the 2003 MN Fringe Festival hits EXPOSURE, SIX STEPS, and VOICE-IN-HEAD, bring you . . . BEFORE DARK. Prolific Russian director Sascha Undine creates a world where stories are told through movement and music, using a talented cast of local multi-disciplinary performers. In this world of circumstance, a pirate, a postman, a bandito, and a cello-playing working mom find themselves precariously balanced on the edge of sanity. Drawing on his love for Dostoevsky and the Russian Clown, Undine and cast create characters that reflect different aspects of the human condition — from virtuous to foibled, from revolutionary to self-obsessed.
Audience Reviews from the Fringe Festival website:
I was greatly looking forward to Before Dark, after enjoying this crew's fringe offering last year, Exposure ... and it did not disappoint. Impressive performers all, the Live Action Set is a company to watch!
—Diane Mountford (Posted on Aug. 8)
FINALLY, A SHOW I CAN RECOMMEND!
I loved it. This is what the fringe should be - A little bit experiermental, taking a chance with the material, and pulling it off expertly. From the very beginning with the Pirate, I knew I was going to like it. It was very well acted, thought out, conceived, and artsy. Very funny. I loved the interaction between the Bandito, and the pirate. The mom personal was alittle slow at first, but pulls it together quicky. Its quirky and not for people who need a "formal" traditional show. Its for people who like the bizarre, and artsy.
—ERIC Fetrow (Posted on Aug. 12)
it was wonderful!
i enjoyed how the characters were revealed as the show went on, like peeling the layers off a piece of summer sweet corn and getting a tasty treat in the end....it was fun, it was buttery, it made snow look beautiful in august.
—julie kesti (Posted on Aug. 12)
And now for something COMPLETELY different...
I stumbled into this show by accident (having an hour to kill before meeting my wife), and OH am I glad I did!!! As soon as I saw in the program that "Before Dark" was from the "Voice In Head" crew, I knew I was in for a weird and wonderful time, and I was not disappointed. These folks inject more energy and creativity into the Absurd than anyone else I've seen. The interactions between The Pirate and The (truly hot) Bandita are priceless. She is wonderfully expressive with a minimum of words, and her repeated attempts at a Declaration of a State of War somehow hold the chaos together (the Pirate's Declaration of Bananas notwithstanding...). And when the actors (and the audience) are all exhausted, they pull off an ending that's surreal and sweet all at the same time. This is a wonderful show - don't miss it!
—Doug McNair (Posted on Aug. 12)
The Taste of Giggle
What a delightful and unexpected world these players weave. The words and music become tactile and something smells purple. I’m so very very very sorry it was only an hour. Five stars. Do it some more.
—John Munger (Posted on Aug. 12)
My only regret is that I did not see this show earlier in the week so that I could have spread the word. I generally don't go to dance shows but I am glad that I went to this one. The choreography, the music, the humor, the dancing,... everything about this show was delightful and uplifting. OK... I have one more regret. While all of the company was absolutely wonderful, I was particularly struck by Vanessa Voskuil. My regret is that I had to run to another venue and did not have time to tell Vanessa personally how much I enjoyed her performance (her character, her actions, and her genuine and beautiful smile). Even when she was moving through the lobby (as I was walking in a minute late) after she exited the stage and before she reentered through the back of the house, she totally maintained her adorable character. Vanessa, if you're out there, WOW!! I'm totally hooked. I SO want to see you perform again.
—Franklin Heller (Posted on Aug. 15)
The pretty snowfall made me cry.
—Valerie Valentine (Posted on Aug. 13)
This show is swaggering and hysterical, both to extremes. I loved it.
—Caroline Toll (Posted on Aug. 14)
Thank goodness for Live Action Set and The Theatrical Music Company!!! Where else could you find a piece like Before Dark, one that experiments, takes changes, crosses genres and pulls it off smartly? The cast of talented dancers and actors offer strikingly funny -- and sometimes tender -- vignettes that create a gripping, edgy performance. Plus, you’ll never see a bandito, a pirate, a mom and a postman dance together anywhere else. What the show lacks in cohesion it more than makes up for in vibrancy and energy. This is what the Fringe is all about. I can’t wait to see more from these guys.
—Ethan A. (Posted on Aug. 14)
Lots of fun!
If you're willing to accept this piece on its own terms, it's a lot of fun. I must strongly disagree with a previous reviewer's suggestion that the piece should be (unfavorably) compared with silent comedy cinema classics. There are certainly other traditions of physical theater than silent film, and this piece profits by incorporating many physical styles, subtle and broad, from clowning to modern dance. If you enjoy watching performers who are versatile, physically precise, and who clearly hope you're having as much fun as they are, then go see Before Dark. Clever staging, catchy music, daring but comfortable audience participation. Viva El Bandito!
—David Pisa (Posted on Aug. 9)
Definitely worth seeing!
I really enjoyed this show! The musician and dancers were talented, and the work was engaging with a real sense of humor. This was the first time I've seen Live Action Set, but I'll definitely be checking them out in the future!
—Leah Weaver (Posted on Aug. 9)
The troupe from last year's Exposure have done it again.
Unfortunately, they're closed now. I saw their last performance and it was just what I was hoping for. And they're forming a new company to continue their work - The Live Action Set - so be on the lookout for them in the coming year between Fringes. The dangerous thing about knowing several members of the cast - if they see you, you're drafted. So I became a performer in the Fringe as a rather bewildered secondary pirate for about five minutes. There's a reason I stay offstage, people. Let the professionals handle the acting. I have to admit it wasn't nearly as terrifying as I'd feared. They're very good sports, in addition to being amazing dancers and physical comedians. This is a group to watch. For more details visit my blog on this site as Single White Fringe Geek with the League of Extraordinary Fringers or the section "In My Humble Opinion" on my website www.matthewaeverett.com
—Matthew Everett (Posted on Aug. 14)
these guys rock!
This was a super fun show - summed up well by a fellow fringer after the show: "This kind of show is exactly what rocks about the Fringe." Indeed - this was truly a Fringy show. Lots of well-executed performance elements thrown into this show - choreography, soundtrack, physical comedy, non-verbal - all of which clearly allowed the actors to show off their considerable range of talents. The content is light - won't make your head hurt, but not brainless either. Worth seeing!!
—Tara Jenson (Posted on Aug. 7)
Fun! Fun! Fun!
Quit reading now and just go and enjoy well-tuned physical performances. It's completely "left-brain" joy.
—Carola Allin (Posted on Aug. 8)
A Fun Show
Silly, silly, silly. Fun, fun fun. Have you seen too many diatribes and angst ridden monologues in the Fringe, then come see this. It is light-hearted, with an obviously very talented cast. I had a great time. Try to become Bandito's compatriot, it looks fun, but avoid becoming the Pirate's friend! That looks embarassing but iit still looks very fun. Alright become the Pirate's friend, I'm just envious. No matter what fun will be had by all.
—Edwin Strout (Posted on Aug. 9)
Intriguing, quirky and fun
Fringers will delight in seeing a visually potent production of action-clowning. Great use of music and dance throughout. Though there is no "plot," the production tickles us with its randomness. Actors maintain wonderfully diametic characters. I found the Bandito's control of character most impressive . Note: audience participation is possible.
—Kevin Symanietz (Posted on Aug. 8)
Excellent (like Mr. Burns)
This is a great show. The cast is made up of gifted dancers who give intense, committed performances. Humor held together the sparse narrative. I didn't get the seasons motif, but it provided a beautiful denouement.
—Michael "Mickey" Foley (Posted on Aug. 12)
Its hard to look away
If you want to see performers that have beautiful control of their bodies, go and see this show. This piece is very visual, with quirky character work and subtle, simple clowing. This could be your only chance to see a postman, a bandito, a pirate, and a single mom dance together... and when they turn it on, its very on!
—Jon Ferguson (Posted on Aug. 8)
Silly. Strange. Eclectic- This show requires a shift (but most definitely not a drop) in expectations. From the moment of entry, The Live Action Set establishes a tone of silly but precise humor that carries them through to the end. No, there is no clear cut story, but that's not what this piece is about. Each performer is completely engaging and distinct, and kudos should go to the live musician as well- she could get lost in the corner behind the more ostentatious performers.
—Amy Rummenie (Posted on Aug. 9)
I don't know what to think of theater like this. It's strange, and I find myself sometimes intrigued but other times irritated and bored. The cast is obviously very talented, but what's going on? This one is more coherent, however, than Voice in Head.
—Katherine Glover (Posted on Aug. 7)
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