Nautilus showcases new home with Ordinary Days

The cast of Ordinary Days.
The cast of Ordinary Days.
Image courtesy Nautilus Music-Theater
Nautilus Music-Theater is getting a new home, though it is only a floor away from their old one.

The longstanding developmental organization has moved offices and studio space down a floor at 308 Prince Street in St. Paul's Lowertown neighborhood. The new digs come at the same time Nautilus presents its latest studio production, Ordinary Days.

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Producing in their own space gives Nautilus "a sense of artistic ownership over the space we were in, and having flexibility within the space was more important than a space that was extravagant or large," says Ben Krywosz, the theater's founder and artistic director.

The second-floor space had its issues, from low ceilings to the upstairs neighbors (the top floors of the building are residential). "It would be nice to be in someplace more expansive," Krywosz says. 

The new space was actually two spaces that were combined into one. There was refurbishing to do -- including removing at least a dozen coats of paint from the brickwork -- along with bringing the space up to code as a public venue and performing space.

The fruit of that labor will be on display over the next three weeks for Ordinary Days. The intimate production follows past shows presented by Nautilus at their space, with seating for only 40 patrons. 

Nautilus first tackled Ordinary Days as a staged reading, featuring the talents of Kersten Rodau, Doug Scholz-Carlson, Jill Anna Ponasik, and Max Wojtanowicz. Krywosz loved the performers and wanted to retain them for a full production.

"The downside of working with good people is that they are often busy elsewhere. This has been on the docket for a while. There was a convergence of schedules that worked out with the move," he says. "It wasn't crucial to keep them -- there are a lot of performers who could perform the roles -- but there was a real chemistry among the four of them. They are naturals for these characters."

The show, created by Adam Gwon, "basically is four people in New York, but it could be any city. It is about the desire we have to make connections and how hard that can be for us sometimes. There is a secondary theme of find what is special in what is, though by us, as ordinary. Life is quite extraordinary in of its self. You don't need special events to realize how special life can be," Krywosz says.

A selection of the piece will be performed in a definitely less-intimate setting Monday, when it is featured in the annual Ivey Awards program at the State Theatre in Downtown Minneapolis. Nautilus has won two Iveys in the past, for Sister Stories and I Am Anne Frank.

While Nautilus will continue to put on larger productions at theaters around town, the intimate space will be the host of the regular rough cuts series and productions appropriate for the venue.

"The size of the piece was right for us. It's four performers and a piano. We are trying to create a very intimate music theater event. It is an intimacy that we all crave," Krywosz says.


Ordinary Days
Thursday-Oct. 6
308 Prince St., suite 190, St. Paul
For tickets and more information, call 651.298.9913 or visit online.

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