Fringe Family

Joseph and Sara Scrimshaw, the unofficial First Couple of the Minnesota Fringe Festival, on freaks, JonBenét, and the devil inside

Q: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve seen at the Fringe—and were you in it?
JOSEPH: One year, my brother and I were doing a very cartoonish, Marx brothers–like show, while in the space below us there was a dancer from India who was actually low-level royalty and had somehow heard of the Fringe. The juxtapositions—that’s what I love about the Fringe.

Q: There’s a show this year called An Evening with JonBenét Ramsey. Is that going too far?
SARA: Wacky for the sake of wacky isn’t going to get far, even at the Fringe.
JOSEPH: It’s gotta have a hook, but also substance. You are competing, after all, with 160 other shows.

Q: Should the Fringe be juried?
SARA: No way! Only if it’s unjuried can it be inclusive of the whole community. Let the audience decide.
JOSEPH: Some people think the fact that anyone can enter means there are schmucks putting on crappy shows, but that’s not how it turns out. I love that it also means even Joe Dowling can enter. I hope he does!

Q: You’re both in the Fringe with separate shows this year. What are they about?
SARA: Stories from folklore and myth intertwined with modern-day dance.
JOSEPH: Actors auditioning for the role of Satan in a sitcom about Satan.

Q: Do you think people will relate to a sitcom about Satan?
: I think most people like evil, don’t you?
JOSEPH: And they recognize Satan. How intimately they know Satan remains to be seen.

The Minnesota Fringe Festival runs August 5 to 15,

For a preview of this year’s Fringe, visit

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