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Chaska teens get "toasted"
by Mollee Francisco
Jul 28, 2011 | 2744 views | 1 1 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dried bread and toasters may be subject matter better suited for breakfast than theater, but for Andrew Brady and Robbie Lyman, the seemingly random items provide the perfect backdrop for a classic detective spoof.

“We tried to think what is the most ridiculous crime one could commit,” explained Brady. They settled on a crime of toaster theft.

Brady and Lyman – both freshly graduated from Chaska High School – are the writers/directors of “Toasted,” a one-act play that joins 167 other theatrical performances at the 18th annual Minnesota Fringe Festival Aug. 4-14.

The Chaska duo didn’t set out to write a piece for Fringe. Instead, they were hoping to get a head start on a project for their sen-ior drama class. They began writing “Toasted” during their junior year, only to find out the following school year that they wouldn’t be performing student-written pieces.

Determined to not let their hard work go unnoticed, they persevered. “We tried a number of ways to see if we could perform it,” said Lyman.

They eventually found out about the Minnesota State Thespian Chapter Festival in early January and didn’t hesitate to enter. “Sign us up!” said Lyman.

A 20-minute version of “Toasted” debuted at the festival to a receptive crowd. “The audience there loved it,” noted Lyman. Brady added that at one point the crowd burst into applause, eliciting huge smiles from the show’s directors.

FRINGE

With new confidence, Brady and Lyman picked up a brochure for the Minnesota Fringe Festival and entered the Fringe lottery a couple weeks later.

“We didn’t know what it was,” said Brady, of Fringe. “We weren’t aware of how big it was. I’m starting to understand now.”

Out of more than 400 applicants, Brady and Lyman ended up No. 9 on the waiting list. And not long after, enough groups had dropped out to secure their spot at the performing arts festival.

There was only one problem. They needed to expand their show to at least 45 minutes to fit within Fringe guidelines. Brady and Lyman got the cast together and got busy writing.

“Toasted” is the sharply written story of a looted toaster shop owner who employs an ace detective to solve the case of her stolen toasters.

“We’re very much inspired by those 1940s film noire detective flicks,” said Brady. “This is an entire spoof on that.”

CHARACTERS

Eighteen-year-old Lauren Beck, Chaska High School’s reigning Homecoming Queen, plays Victoria Strudelle, the victimized toaster shop owner.

“She’s the damsel in distress,” said Beck.

“Vicki is overly dramatic about toasters,” she added. “To her, it’s serious. It’s a really big deal.”

Strudelle enlists Detective Percy Irving, played by Homecoming King Taylor Diles, to help find her missing toasters.

“Our detective is incompetent,” offered Lyman.

“He’s an idiot,” said Diles, of his character. “He’s so extremely full of himself.”

Diles is assisted by his sarcastic secretary Doris, played by 16-year-old Lily Podany.

“She’s the brains behind the operation,” said Podany.

Rounding out the cast is Zach Bolland, 18, who plays the villainous Toastmaster.

“He’s eccentric,” said Bolland of his tuxedoed character.

“He’s off the deep end,” offered Brady.

Like any good villain, Bolland seems to grab the attention of not only the audience, but his fellow cast members.

“I do like watching Zach,” said Podany. “He’s hysterical.”

“[Bolland] is big and fun to watch,” said Brady. “He’s able to grab a lot of laughter with a lot of things most people wouldn’t at-tempt.”

Like the Toastmaster, Bolland, too, is eccentric. Brady and Lyman admit that they had Beck, Diles, Podany and Bolland in mind when they created the characters in “Toasted.” And for the most part, the cast is OK with that.

“I can be an idiot sometimes,” said Diles. “But I don’t think I’m that arrogant.”

SHOW

“Toasted” is geared toward ages 12 and up, but Bolland says that their show has something for everybody.

“The physical comedy plays well to any age,” said Brady. “I think everybody can find something to relate to.”

“It’s not an edgy or controversial show,” he added. “I would bring my grandma to it.”

And though the majority of the group is headed off in different directions for college next year (including Brady to Hamline University on a theater scholarship and Lyman to Columbia University) this may not be the last time their paths cross. They’ve had so much fun working together on “Toasted” that the odds of them reuniting for another show are high.

“I’m already thinking Fringe for next year,” said Brady with a smile.

"Toasted" at the Minnesota Fringe Festival


Written/directed: Andrew Brady and Robbie Lyman


Starring: Taylor Diles, Lauren Beck, Zach Bolland and Lily Podany 


Venue: Playwrights’ Center, 2301 E. Franklin Ave., Minneapolis 


Dates: 5:30 p.m., Friday, Aug. 5; 7 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 7; 10 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 10 and Friday, Aug. 12; 4 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 14 


Tickets: $12 for adults; $5 for kids (12 and under); $10 for seniors and students 


More info and tickets: www.fringefestival.org



Follow the cast of "Toasted" on Facebook or check out Detective Percy Irving's Twitter page
Comments
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cyclonemom
|
July 28, 2011
It is great to see these young people pursue their passion and represent our community in such a wonderful way. Congratulation! Can't wait to see the show!
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