Green T Productions heads to the outer realms with 2001: A Space Odyssey

Turning Stanley Kubrick's tour de force exploration of humanity's origins and possible evolution into a stage show is a tall order. It's one that Kathy Welch and Green T Productions believe they can fill.

The company's version of 2001: A Space Odyssey opens this week at the Tek Box at the Cowles Center for Performing Arts. It's a work that is a fusion in many ways. It is a fusion of different movement and dance techniques that the company has explored in recent years. It also fuses the film with material from Arthur C. Clarke's novel, which the famed science-fiction author developed alongside Kubrick's film.

"I love the movie. I love the book," Welch says. "We're using the baseline training we have to create something new. 2001 is such a famously enigmatic film that it seemed to be a good opportunity to try and create something very otherworldly that has these forms in our background, but not as explicit as other Green T productions."

This follows last fall's adaptation of The Hobbit, which had the different races of Middle Earth in these different theatrical forms, from flamenco elves to kabuki dwarfs. 

"We are very much using the structure of the film, informed by the novel," Welch says. "The opening dawn of man sequence is very much a movement piece. We have an onstage narrator to help tell the story."

As the story develops, additional techniques are used to bring the tale to life, such as simulating micro and low-gravity locales and bringing mad computer HAL to life. Even these more realistic scenes "still have a strong movement element to them."

Of course, much of the film's enigmatic reputation comes from the ending. "The ending is open to interpretation," Welch says. "We've chosen to hone on the aspect of it being a discussion of the evolution of humans through the use of tools."

Green T has been on the scene since 1999, though the company kept a low profile for a number of years between 2002 and 2009. Since then, "there has been a resurgence of activity," Welch says.

Unlike Kubrick, Green T doesn't have a multi-million dollar budget to bring the show to life. "It is a lot of movement and it is very simple. It's very sparse in terms of life. We have musicians live onstage and a rich soundscape. We use the actor's bodies and the audiences' imagination to do it," Welch says. "It's an enjoyable story told in an intriguing way. We are not spoon-feeding it to the audience. There is a lot of subtlety with the movement and music."


2001: A Space Odyssey
Friday through Dec. 1
Tek Box in the Cowles Center

528 Hennepin Ave. S., Minneapolis

For tickets and more information, call 715.246.3285 or visit online.