Freshwater Theatre Explores Memory in Two Shows Opening This Weekend


Freshwater Theatre Company continues its season-long investigation into memory with two shows opening this weekend. Running in repertory, Jenna Zark's If You Don't Weaken follows a woman seeking to mourn her grandfather, and Recollection Collection is a series of short plays. Both look at how memory affects our lives.

The company has been putting shows on in rep since 2010. Producing two shows at a time helps with one of the goals of the theater, which is to give as many opportunities to Twin Cities artists as possible. "We like to be able to work with more people and to do more work," says Ben Layne, co-artistic director at Freshwater. 

The practice also maximizes the use of their space. "You can do more performances of one show, but the audiences aren't necessarily bigger," he says. 

If You Don't Weaken opens Saturday. Zark, whose work was recently onstage at the Minnesota Jewish Theater Company, submitted the piece to Freshwater a year ago. "We really enjoyed it," Layne says. While the company has helped Zark develop the script, much of the original writing remains.

The play centers on a woman who has recently lost her grandfather. Although she is not devout, she decides she wants to enact the Jewish mourning ritual, a process that takes a year. But at her dwindling synagogue she can't get enough people to make up a quorum for the ritual. So she entices some her friends, including other lapsed Jews (one of whom is a pole dancer) to help her carry out her plan. Her grandfather, Sydney, makes appearances throughout the play as a ghost. "It's a play about religious awakening and finding yourself," Layne says. It's also about figuring out how to grieve in your own way. 

Recollection Collection, which opens Sunday, includes six different plays all based on the concept of memory. Some are by local playwrights, others are from out of town. Each have been paired with one of the six six directors. 

In one play, "One, Three, Two" directed by Brian Joyce, a man can't remember any number combinations, such as passwords or telephone numbers. Another play, "Making Some Noise" by Claudia Haas, looks at three sisters who have lost their mother in the 9-11 attacks. This year, they decide to do something different to celebrate her memory. 


If You Don't Weaken

7:30 p.m. March 28 and April  2, 4, 6, 9, 10-11; 3 p.m. March 29 and April 12

Recollection Collection

7:30 p.m. March 29-30, April 3, 5, and 8

Reserve tickets here.

Nimbus Theatre

1517 Central Ave. NE, Minneapolis