New Jerusalem Offers Muddy History Lesson

Categories: Theater

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Photo by Sarah Whiting
Michael Hugh Torsch and Rachel Weber (front) and James Ramlet and George Muellner in New Jerusalem.
David Ives built his reputation on tight, short plays that weren't afraid to tackle deep and even obtuse subjects. Even more recent full-length pieces, like Venus in Fur, balanced the philosophy with an intense, narrative drive.

Ives's New Jerusalem is a sprawling, diffuse piece chock full of intriguing ideas that offer a window into the birth pains of modern intellectual thought that, even though the show has been around for a number of years, feels like it is an edit or two away from completion.

See also:
Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company Celebrates 20 Years

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Park Square Opens Boss Stage with The House on Mango Street

Categories: Theater

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Photo courtesy Park Square Theatre
The House on Mango Street.
Last week, the finishing touches were being put on two premieres at Park Square Theatre: The House on Mango Street and the space it will occupy, the new Andy Boss Thrust Stage.

So while the tech crew focused lights and built the stage, the construction crew worked to wrap up the final touches in the theater, including the glass boards to the sides of the seating areas.

See also:
"House on Mango Street" brings poetry of youth to stage

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Scares Abound at the Third Twin Cities Horror Festival

Categories: Theater

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Images courtesy Twin Cities Horror Festival
Doll Collection.
There will be blood... and guts, and tension, and frights aplenty over the 11 days of the Twin Cities Horror Festival. Nine different shows will be part of the third version of this event at the Southern Theater.

Think of it as a mini Minnesota Fringe Festival, except it all takes place at one location, and the acts have been selected to participate instead of chosen by lottery. (No, not the Shirley Jackson type.)

Oh, and they are all shows about things that "go bump in the night."

See also:
Scares and Laughs Aplenty at Horror Showcase

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Theatre Pro Rata Captures the Spirit of 1984

Categories: Theater
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Since it was published 65 years ago, George Orwell's 1984 has been the model for oppressive, dystopian states in fiction.

Through the decades, 1984 has stubbornly resisted strong translations into other media. (Think Big Brother, the wretched reality TV show.) But Michael Gene Sullivan's stage adaptation comes close to the original. The playwright keeps the core of the novel while still creating something absolutely theatrical.

Theatre Pro Rata captures much of that spirit -- along with some baggage that slows the action down -- in an often frightening production.

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The Secret Lives of Coats Offers Charming Absurdities at Red Eye

Categories: Theater

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Photo courtesy Red Eye Theater
Cast members of The Secret Lives of Coats.
The experimental Red Eye Theater and a tradition-bound musical wouldn't seem to go together, but The Secret Lives of Coats binds the two like peanut butter and, if not chocolate, then at least apple slices.

The show, created by Stephanie Fleischmann and Christina Campanella, takes us to the coat check of a swank New York restaurant, where a trio of women spend their evenings taking the coats of the rich, famous, eccentric, and everything else under the sun.

See also:
Rosa Simas Presents Haunting Work at the Red Eye


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33 Variations: Mediocre From Beginning to End

Categories: Theater

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Photo courtesy Park Square Theatre
Karen Landry and Edwin Strout.
A lot of the talk in 33 Variations (and there really is a lot of talk here) is about why the great composer Ludwig Van Beethoven spent so much time pulling apart a simple and mediocre-sounding waltz.

Mediocre is the watch word for this Park Square Theatre production. We have a mediocre script from Moises Kaufman, a group of actors giving mediocre performances, and mediocre directing from James Rocco.

See also:
Park Square's Latest Offers Less Than Meets the Eye

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Theater on the Go: Turning the Green Line into a Mobile Stage

Categories: Theater
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Photo by Ashley Hanson
Theater-goers don't typically have to hop on the train to catch the next scene of their play, but for Green Line Theater they may have to do just that.

This Saturday, community-engaged theater artist Ashley Hanson, photographer Wing Young Huie, and playwright Jessica Huang are turning the Green Line into a mobile stage for the final part of Minnesota Museum of American Art's month-long exhibit "From There to Here."

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Theatre Pro Rata Enters Nightmare of 1984

Categories: Theater

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Photo by Charles Gorrill
Grant Henderson and John Middleton.
You might think that, 30 years after the titular date, George Orwell's 1984 would be a quaint relic of a more paranoid past.

You would be wrong.

See also:
Theatre Pro Rata takes "Twelfth Night" to the parks

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Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company Celebrates 20 Years

Categories: Theater

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Photo by Sarah Whiting
Michael Hugh Torsch and Rachel Weber (front) and James Ramlet and George Muellner are part of New Jerusalem, the latest show in the Minnesota Jewish Theatre's 20th anniversary season.
Twenty years ago, Barbara Brooks just wanted to put on a show exploring Jewish issues for a Twin Cities audience. Today, the Minnesota Jewish Theatre is still going strong and about to open the second show of its anniversary season.

"I grew up in New York City in Queens and came out here in grad school," she says. "When I came out here, there was a real undercurrent of racism. It didn't seem like the people mixed very well."

See also:
Rose: Five Hours in the Holy Land

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Mixed Blood's Colossal Offers a Smart and Moving Take on Football

Categories: Theater

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The closest I ever came to an on-field football experience was in the seventh grade, when the jock in the locker next to mine shoved his cup into my face. Despite that close encounter, I've followed the sport religiously, spending much of my time glued to the TV and perusing the back alleys of the Sports Illustrated website.

Yet the sport's stench has gotten as bad as that of Dale's cup, with high-profile arrests, chronic brain injuries, and a league as sleazy as professional wrestling. It's been almost enough to drive me away. Almost.

See also:
Colossal Takes on Football's Culture of Violence and Silence

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