Guthrie Theater "Dollhouse" opening night audience cheers mention of Target

Categories: Theater
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Michal Daniel
"You spent how much at Target?": The happy couple in "Dollhouse"
​Last Friday was opening night at the Guthrie for Rebecca Gilman's Ibsen adaptation Dollhouse. While I had some qualms with the show (review appearing online later today; print edition tomorrow), it remains a solid piece of theater that will serve as primo post-show inter-gender conversational fodder. One moment that struck a little weird, though, came when Sarah Agnew as Nora, coming home after a shopping spree, announced that
 hubby Terry (Peter Christian Hansen) needn't worry about how much dough she just spent . . . because she did the bulk of her shopping at Target. 

Now I have no beef with the Target Corporation; if everything in my house purchased from its stores were to disappear, I would be wandering around half-naked, rasping in a parched voice for coffee, and searching in vain for everything from eating utensils to writing implements (well, that actually pretty much does describe the scene at home, but let's not get sidetracked).

No, the strangeness was the audience reaction to this innocuous line: the expected laughter of recognition, then a healthy amount of applause

What's this all about? Again, no knock on Target (the Dollhouse program credits the company with supporting the Guthrie's discount rush-line tickets), but clapping for a company? Even if the audience was full of Target employees, would they cause a play to stop for fifteen seconds while they applauded the name of their employer?

Is this what they call "Homersota" (often mentioned on KFAN), where Minnesotans march in lockstep support for anything that springs from our district of the north? Is this like the flap over the turf at Target Field not being from Minnesota, or the throwaway local references Tony Kushner sprinkled into The Intelligent Homosexual knowing we would eat them up?

Ah well, no harm done . . . but if you go see the show, give us an update. Are people still cheering for the big red bullseye? 

Finally, a note of positivity. Agnew also later delivered the funniest line of the night, spot-on, and it got the biggest reaction of the evening: knowing, uproarious laughter. 

Dollhouse plays at the Guthrie through July 11. For tickets call 612.377.2224 or click here

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