The Big Lowdown returns with big theatrical games

Don't believe the stories, this giant puppet dog is as friendly as they come.

Don't believe the stories, this giant puppet dog is as friendly as they come.

I didn't know I would be revisiting my childhood Saturday evening when I headed for Lowertown and the second Big Lowdown event.

Yet there I was, almost four decades since my last round, leading a game of Red Light/Green Light, while a cadre of my fellow travelers tried to tag me it.

See also: The Big Lowdown hits Lowertown this weekend


Presented by PlaceBase Productions and Bedlam Theatre and featuring contributions from dozens of creators, The Big Lowdown took its participants on a walking tour of the Lowertown neighborhood. On loading docks, in alleyways, and in the basements of buildings, we engaged in a series of short, theatrical events often designed to bring the audience into the fold.

So, I got to toss a giant six-sided die to help guide a boxing match during "A Giant Salt Shaker Filled with Light," while a proxy-Prince looked on. For "The 1st Annual Fabulous Unity Strut," I put on a leopard-print smock, army helmet, and dog's ears to take part in a sort of drag race at the farmers market.

The second Big Lowdown had a stronger structure than last year's edition, which was packed with so many stations it was impossible to see them all. All of the physical activity, however, was a bit exhausting, which meant the finale in the park (which included an egg hunt and funky dancing) felt muted.


The most striking moment came during "Softening the Curves of the City," as the orange-jumpsuit-wearing members of the BodyCartography Project slowly moved up and down an alley, occasionally joining together to form a full shape before dividing again. Their final cluster was around another member of my group, who had to quietly contort himself to be free of the now "sleeping" street creatures. All of this made for a beautiful moment, played against the noise of a St. Paul Saturday night.