FRINGE: ‘On the Road to Verona’

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The Minnesota SkyVault Theatre Company is performing their award-winning show, On the Road to Verona, at the 2017 Kansas City Fringe Festival. SkyVault is a regionally and nationally awarded theatre company from Rochester, Minnesota. They have toured On the Road to Verona all over their home state, including at the 2016 Minneapolis Fringe Fest, the Minnesota Renaissance Festival, and the state, regional, and national levels of the 2017 Festival of the American Association of Community Theaters. 

“The cast created a delightful, immersive experience by both using the entire theater and posting to Facebook as the show goes along (Yes, this the one show you are encouraged to use your phones at).” Said Michael Merrimack, an attendee of the 2016 Minnesota Fringe Fest. Expect anyone from a ukulele player humming a love song to an outlaw asking you for advice to hop into the seat next to you. SkyVault blurs the lines between stage and seating, actor and audience, Shakespeare’s revered poetry and a relationship status Facebook post. The result is what Mike Ricci from the American Association of Community Theaters called, “In a word, overwhelming.”

On the Road to Verona starts with a band of motley minstrels who discover that Will, their fearless leader, snuck off to London, taking with him all the script notes. Armed with a couple of trunks, a ladder, and an accordion, the minstrels decide to try creating their own story- a medley of jazz, slapstick, Facebook, and true love. Imaginary forces cause inexplicable character motivations. What really controls the story? The music? The monologues? The Facebook comments posted by audience members? The players explore this mysterious force through Shakespeare’s Two Gentlemen of Verona. “How am I going to tell people what I saw tonight?” Said John Viars of the DesMoines Playhouse, “Because they won’t understand how big it was, how important it was, how incredible it was.”

Besides their original music, which falls somewhere between jazz and folk, SkyVault also uses a one-of-a-kind instrument called the “half-ba” (a tuba that broke so many times, it’s not even a one-ba). The audience will be asked to sing along, but (never fear!) all the lyrics are posted to their Facebook page, Road to Verona, along with updates from all the characters. “The in-world Facebook posts are an interesting supplement to a mad-cap performance, and helped me follow along with the song lyrics.” Said Margo Gray, a 2016 Fringe Fest attendee. Another attendee, Caroline Kirchner, commented that, “Their multi-instrumentalists on the cast keeps a steady musical flow that pushes the show along.”

SkyVault won Best New Act at the 2014 MN Renaissance Festival, Best of Fest at the  2017 MN Association of Community Theaters Festival, as well as awards in music, ensemble acting, and directing at the Region V 2017 AACT Fest. They continue to develop and tour original shows as well as teaching workshops on creativity, improvisation, and collaboration. 

Aged 14 to 18 years, ​

SkyVault is one of the youngest casts performing at the KC Fringe Fest, but they already have years of experience in acting, directing, composition, improvisation, and music. 

The Minnesota SkyVault Theatre Company will be performing on the Levin Stage at the Unicorn T​heatre on 3828 Main Street.

 Their show times are:​

Friday (7/21) at 6:00 

Saturday (7/22) at 7:30 

Sunday (7/23) at 4:30 

Wednesday (7/26) at 7:30 

Friday (7/28) at 6:00 

Saturday (7/29) at 7:30.

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