The Quick & the Dirty:
We roll dice to randomly determine which shows we will review. Once one of our reviewers has seen the show, they post a full review. The reviewer also gives each show a rating on a scale that is based on gaming dice values (d4 – d20: lowest to highest). Finally, we try to sum up the experience of each show in a Ten-Word Summary, which can be handy for those with short attention spans and those who want to Tweet a mini review to their friends.
The Long and the Short of it:
Many years ago (2004, to be exact) the editor of this site was invited to be a blogger on the Minnesota Fringe Festival website. Although, at that time he considered himself a columnist, since the term blogger wasn’t all over the place, yet. Anyway… as part of an 8-person cadre of columnists called the “League of Extraordinary Fringers”, Christopher Kidder-Mostrom (then just Christopher O. Kidder) came up with a clever way to ensure that he didn’t show favoritism to any given show in the festival. He rolled dice on charts to determine what plays to see. Every show had an equal chance to be seen. No favors to friends. No making sure to only see the top selling shows. It’s a system that he used for 7 years to determine what shows to write about in the Twin Cities, even after he switched from the MN Fringe website to the legitimate press (CityPages, Secrets of the City, and Minnesota Monthly).
After relocating to Chicago and writing for local rags such as Center Stage Chicago and Newcity Stage, Chris launched this site to go back to how he used to determine what to see… Rolling dice! He also got a few other writers to join in on the joy of randomly determined theatre. The writing staff now consists of Sarah Bowden, S. Margaret Wagner, and Kidder-Mostrom. Each week the dice are rolled, compared with a chart that lists 20 shows currently running or opening in Chicago, and then the writers head out to take in some theatre. Some is good. Some is bad. All of it is thoughtfully related to our readers and rated in our own characteristic way.
Each week, we publish the chart that we used to find our shows, so that you might also have the chance to roll the dice on a night of Chicago theatre. It’s an exhilarating way to make up one’s mind. And a method that often takes you where you might not otherwise go. The best part, the randomness has always resulted in us seeing far more great shows than stinkers!