The Brutes: War is... you know

The Brutes: War is... you know
Photo by Eric Melzer

Meet Constantine. A proud nation that has been reduced to about 100 square feet and six starving citizens. Still, while their land is now surrounded by warring neighbors, the citizens cling on to whatever they can: their flag, a national symbol, the words of their anthem, or just messages from the front.

In a world of violence run by "the brutes," the gentle citizens of Constantine never had a chance. The latest piece from Theatre Forever doesn't haven the brightest message, but it certainly is an honest one.

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Fully embracing the horrors and absurdity of war, Jon Ferguson's latest work is at turns hilarious and horrifying. These aren't the hardened super soldiers of our fantasies, but everyday citizens squeezed until there is nothing left but ritual and legends.

This can be singing the national anthem, or sitting down for the morning meal, even if it consists of a single olive. There are regular deliveries from "the post" that include messages from their brave leader or the taping of a message from Jennifer, a woman from somewhere else (she can't remember where) who has been stuck with the failing nation for four years.

Ferguson's innovative and experimental physical style is on display throughout, aided by a talented cast of seven performers who craft compelling, though sometimes nameless, characters throughout.

The script doesn't take time for back stories, though we can sense where these characters were before they became shell-shocked creatures surviving at the seeming whim of the forces outside the bunker.

Dominic Orlando provides a script that, like the rest of the show, merges the poetic with the absurd and the brutal. The found performance space (a machine shop in south Minneapolis) and harsh lighting only add to that sense, all underscored by the music of Tim Cameron.

The Brutes is a tough, brutal, and haunting show. And one that is absolutely worth your time.


The Brutes 
Through June 30
8 p.m. Thu.-Sat.; 7 p.m. Sun.
2204 Minneahaha Ave., Minneapolis
Tickets are $20; $15 with Fringe button, seniors, and students. 
Pay what you can on June 20 and 27
For tickets and information, visit online.

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Theatre Forever

2204 Minnehaha Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55404

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