The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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July 25, 2013

Area theatre talents preview Fringe Festival productions locally

Area theatre talents preview Fringe Festival productions locally

Ten straight hours of theatre rehearsal are tough for anyone.

Even Carter Allen, a soon-to-be senior acting student at Minnesota State University who has desired to be an actor since he took his first class at age 3, admits the last month of preparation has taxed his nerves and tried his resolve.

As Allen was rehearsing his role in "Spamalot" — a rollicking musical comedy that concluded MSU's Highland Summer Theatre season this month — he was also rehearsing his roles for one of several area productions selected for the Fringe Festival, the annual theatre showcase held Aug. 1-11 in various venues across the Twin Cities. Cast in all three vignettes that comprise North Mankato playwright Greg Abbott's "DiRections," a dark comedy about trusting technology over instinct, Allen used the challenge as an opportunity to demonstrate his acting mettle.

"I'd rehearse from 1-5 (p.m.) for 'Spamalot' and then again from 6:30 to 10:30 or 11 (p.m.)," Allen said. "In between, I'd go and meet with the people for the Fringe show. ... It's good practice because you never know what you'll be asked to do while you're out there as a professional. I want to show people I'll work for them and with them."

The results of Allen's labors will be on display Friday at the Mankato Brewery during a local preview of two area shows that will be playing at this year's Fringe Festival. Included in the showcase is Abbott's play -— which represents the writer's first solo credit at the Fringe — as well as "Vanquished," Eagle Lake playwright Tom Barna's one-man play that recounts the experiences of a single man who struggles to find happiness within a life that has repeatedly intersected him with some of history’s most tragic moments.

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