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Showing posts from May, 2017

365

Yesterday was a day of a lot of thought and discussion, with a lot of people I know and care about. There was anger and confusion and sorrow and frustration in the wake of the Walker's Open Letter about "Scaffold" (released, I'll note, at 4:30 on the Friday of a holiday weekend). It was a day of hard truths.

It was also opening night for 365 Days/265 Plays - a 2017 Remix at Full Circle Theater Company (I posted about the open rehearsal process for this show last week). I'm not directly involved with the production, but I have been working with the company, and I think very highly of them.

By the time 7:30 rolled around last night, once we picked up the babysitter and calmed the dog and had grabbed something to eat and gotten over to the theater, I was exhausted from the day, and honestly, the last thing I wanted to do was to see a show.

Which only proves to me how badly I needed it.

For the next two hours, I was surrounded by a lot of stories. Stories Suzan-Lori …

Having an Appetite

This isn't a review. I'm not a reviewer, and even if I was, you could not read this and go see the show, because it happened for one night only. If you were not part of the 30 or so people who saw Appetite by Skewed Visions tonight, let's face it, you missed out.

The night started with a back alley entrance, a warm garden in spring blow, a cat called Potato wandering through like an especially furry host. A motley set of chairs, a table of wine and snacks. But that's not the appetite they meant.

Then, two different kinds of audio feedback. Ted Moore with a hyper-sensitive microphone with feedback that reacted to the smallest vibrations in the room, seeming improvised but actually highly scored. Kyle, who swallowed the notes from his saxophone, rather than playing them. At some points, I swear there was actual color coming out.

Then Charles Campbell, looking as he started the night like he was setting up a Spaulding Gray monologue in an oreo suit. Who then manipulated s…

On Assumptions

I've been thinking a lot about assumptions today.

I was thinking about them because this morning I had to drive back, park, and run back onto the house to send a file; as I was doing so a passer-by saw fit to passively-aggressively chastise me about parking too far from the curb.

I was thinking about them because, as my friend Mo commented on Twitter earlier this week:
There's a review of Refugia floating around whose assumptions about a scene skewering the dangers of assumptions are just too ironic 4 words. I was thinking about them because I had to stop my car and sit by the side of the road for a few minutes while listening the the "74 Seconds" podcast about the shooting of Philando Castile.

There are all kinds of assumptions, and some dramatically different consequences.

But what if we actively fought against assumptions, rather than piecing them together into "what is the truth" like a low-budget Law and Order episode?

What if we assumed that people aro…

Refugia

I'm starting to seem like one of the awesome Minnesota Theater Bloggers with my frequency of theater blogs (yeah, I only wish!), but I can't stop thinking about Refugia at the Guthrie last night. Thanks to my years at Jeune Lune I've known Dominique Serrand for over half my life, and it was clear to me last night that this was the play that he has wanted to create for at least that long a time. I'm stopping just short of calling it his magnum opus (because I hope there's a lot of great work left of his to see), and I don't want to take away from the other great work he's directed and co-created over the years, but this is the most significant and complete piece he's directed.

I need to start by saying that the Guthrie was the most lively and intense I had ever seen it last night. With three stages active (Refugia on the proscenium, The Bluest Eye in the thrust, and Mu's Charlie Chan in the Dowling studio, plus some prom photos being taken), the lobb…

The Vulnerability of an Open Rehearsal

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Last night, I was lucky enough to get invited to an open rehearsal for 365 Days/365 Plays: A 2017 Remix, by Full Circle Theater Company. I've admired the brand new company, begun by Rick Shiomi, Martha Johnson, and several other of the top theatre creators in Minnesota, but I have only recently begun to work with them.

I'm also very affected by Suzan-Lori Parks' work, and remember being hit hard by 365 Days/365 Plays in 2006 when she conceived of it. That year seems like yesterday and today. It was the year I lost my mom, and the year I got married, and here was this odd piece of short, direct plays that were really hard hitting. It's a spiky piece, extremely issues-based, and that year I saw several performances of the pieces from many diverse theaters, as companies nationwide collaborated in producing it as one big cycle.

So I have to admit when I found out Full Circle was doing it, my first thought was "why?" As we talked more, I saw intellectually how it…

It's May Day!

If I were to look over past posts, I would likely see several about the Heart of the Beast Theater's annual May Day parade. We don't have Mardi Gras, but we have May Day, and especially in times like these, there's something magical about being with a group of people experiencing May Day together. This year, more than ever, its diversity and range of ages represented really struck me. Long live May Day!

It was also a weekend of other community-building. Beatrix's art is included in this year's ArtWalk in downtown Saint Paul, so there was a small reception at the Ordway for that (and I DO mean *small,* but it was fun.) Her art is up at the Starbucks across from Subtext on 5th Street through June 4, if you want to check it out.

After that, her Norwegian dance troop danced at the Festival of Nations. They did a great job, and as we walked through the displays and food hall afterwards, lots of people had questions about the dance and her bunad.

Last night I was able to…

Your Values, Your Kid

Lately Beatrix and I have been having a lot of discussions around the term "Smash the Patriarchy!" It started with what "patriarchy" is, and then why you would want to smash it, and then into greater depth. Quite honestly, it's an easier thing to discuss in abstract than the specifics of why Congress would want to eliminate healthcare as we know it for all Americans.

She's not 100% on board, but she kind of likes the idea and we discuss why it's important to me. She's a thoughtful kid, and doesn't want to hurt anyone's feelings, and so she doesn't want the patriarchy to feel bad. I can accept that — for now. But I want her to keep thinking about it.

I don't remember having these kinds of discussions with my parents. I certainly saw them live their values, and so I grew to them. To this day, I share my mother's view that hypocrisy is the worst possible sin. And I got a great supportive email from my dad today after he saw me featu…