“Please Don’t Blow Up Mr. Boban” is a highly visual and physical clown show that is the story of Mr. Boban, his war-torn bistro, and the struggle to keep his lights on. Based on an English newspaper article about where to eat in a war zone, this collaboration between Live Action Set and UK theatre director Jon Ferguson, is comic, tragic and hard to forget.
“Please Don’t Blow Up Mr. Boban” features seven highly skilled physical performers, including Noah Bremer, Robert Haarman, Megan Odell, Kari Kelly, Kimberly Richardson, Galen Treuer and Vanessa Voskuil. Set and Lighting Design by Mark Ruark. Sound Design by DJ Bach and Rebecca Disrud. Directed by Jon Ferguson.
The piece was created and presented with support from the Minnesota State Arts Board (Artist Initiative Grant, Noah Bremer) and The Soap Factory (residency and original performance space).
2005 Artists of the Year (awarded to Noah Bremer and Jon Ferguson with Live Action Set by City Pages)
2005 Best Stage Production (awarded by City Pages)
2005 Outstanding Experimental Theatre Work (awarded by Start Tribune)
In challenging times, artists can trump politicians and commentators (and critics) by grabbing hold of the ephemera of mood and tone that escapes concrete analysis. Live Action Set did so in this show, a freeform and elusive example of serious clowning that took on wartime tragedy with abundant silliness and an excess of heart. No one who saw and loved the show could describe exactly how, or why, it worked, but its jarring juxtapositions and rapid-fire vignettes captured a year in which rationality seemed to have been tossed to one side and deeper realities were thrust to the fore for those who had an interest in noticing them.
-City Pages Editorial Staff, Best of the Twin Cities issue
Shows of this complexity, bravery and ingenuity are usually imported by the Walker Art Center. With "Mr. Boban," a richly layered piece of comic/tragic performance art, this local collective has single-handedly elevated what it's possible to give to Fringe Festival audiences. Noah Bremer is the centerpiece of this tale centered around a fun-loving restaurateur and others in a small town in the midst of war. The show is at turns slapstick funny, abstract, physical, emotional and metaphorical — always riveting, always surprising — in what patiently unfolds into a character-rich tale about a community surviving and struggling to live normal lives at time of war. I've never seen a more brilliantly constructed ending to a Fringe show.
- Matt Peiken, Pioneer Press
Noah Bremer and Jon Ferguson team up with local genre blenders Live Action Set to create a work that should be immediately be given an open ended run. Inspired by a news article about a news article about a Baghdad café, this collaboration features Bremer as the charming and innocent owner of an unfortunate eatery located within a war zone. The multi-talented cast juggles roles as besieged towns-people, sound-bite-wielding politicians, a conflicted soldier, a rebel, and a grieving mother. Funny, moving, and sometimes even terrifying, Mr. Boban provides an intelligent and provocative response to the violence of our times.
- Caroline Palmer, City Pages
There are so many reasons I love Live Action Set, and this show contains all of them in spades. Another sold out show. If you want to get a seat, come early. They try to get in everyone they can but half the audience can end up being in the standing-room only category. But we were all on our feet applauding them at the end - for a long time. Any way you can see it, though, you should. Flat-out amazing. Heartbreaking and funny all at once. The dance and physical performance work is unmatched. They just keep getting better and better. I was puzzling over where the outrage was about the senseless constant death of the current war in this year's Fringe offerings. It's here. Another show that I very much want to see again, another show very much worth the extra effort to see. I'm not going to have to convince anyone to see Live Action Set after this show. This one not only puts them on the map, it puts them in the ranks of the best of the Fringe. Thank God, they're here year round so we can see more.
- Mathew Everett
"A Life Altering Experience" by Vera Mariner: Not only did this show raise the bar for Fringe shows of the future, it raised the bar for all theater in the Twin Cities and beyond. There are only a few theater experiences that count as life altering for me and this IS and WAS one of them. Having had the experience of creating a show from a kernel, or in this case, a gem of an idea, I can completely appreciate the brilliance of how this piece ebbed, flowed and subsequently arced into a completely magnificent work of art. Everyone -cast members, directors, soundscape creator and designer(S) poured their huge hearts and selfless souls into a timeless story that comprised phenomenal movement and acting. I declare this kind of work a new art form: One that should be held up as highly as any other we cherish. Undoubtedly, BEST OF FRINGE, 2005!!! (Posted on Aug. 13)
"Beautiful" by geoff wold: I'm sure I can't add anything that hasn't already been said about this show. But I have to try anyway. AMERICA NEEDS TO SEE THIS PLAY! Not because it is a statement for or against war. But because it gives a human face to a way of life the mass media seems to refuse to acknowledge. Beautifully staged, the setting/sound/lighting weave seamlessly with the content, and actor/creator/dancers/directors do a superb job. Yes, I'm gushing. There is a good reason. Thank you Live Action Set. (Posted on Aug. 11)
"Wow..." by John Armstrong: The raw emotion in this show is mind-bending. The instant you step foot into the soap factory, you are transported into a completely different atmosphere, one full of hope amidst a wasteland of war. SEE THIS SHOW! (Posted on Aug. 13)
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