The words "spiritual festival," to the secular urbanite, may bring to mind unpleasant visions of hellfire revival sermons or patchouli-soaked chanting sessions. But though the performers of the second annual Spirit in the House may address those tropes in their explorations of religion, the festival is known for its critical and ironic approach to spirituality. After all, faith hard-won is stronger than faith untested. The offerings, scattered over ten days and clustered in six performance spaces of the Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church, encompass music, dance, storytelling, and theater. Four films will also be screened. Playwright and actor Kevin Kling will debut his new play Back of Beyond (billed as "a brief tour of the Bible"), while longtime local spoken-word artist Nancy Donoval plans to revisit her one-woman show, Date Rape for Beginners, an account of her road of reconciliation after her own rape. Promising an edgy, irreverent look at the journey to enlightenment, a super team of five local storytellers and poets (billing themselves as "deep believers") have joined together under the curatorship of veteran teller Kay Kirscht for a performance they call Quest. Those craving the salty taste of sacrilege in their spiritual journeys are urged to attend when theater troupe Maximum Verbosity unveils its version of the messiah in Jesus: The Lost Years, based on apocryphal "infancy gospels." But these are only a smattering of highlights from the festival; a full schedule awaits those seeking theatrical Nirvana at www.spiritinthehouse.org.
May 23-June 1, 2008