Twin Cities 2014 fall theater preview
John Middleton and Grant Henderson in 1984
More than a hundred shows are slated to open over the next few months at Twin Cities theaters. Some of the shows that most excite me:
Marcus, or the Secret of Sweet
This piece gets a nod based on the Pillsbury House Theatre/Mount Curve Company's fantastic productions of the first two parts of Tarell Alvin McCraney's Brother/Sister trilogy. Like In the Red and Brown Water and The Brothers Size, Marcus takes us to rural Louisiana, where the title character experiences his sexual awakening.
McCraney's language is a rich Creole with African and Southern influences, and just plain gorgeous poetry. It offers tremendous challenges to the cast, but — as the previous productions proved — great rewards as well. Sept. 12-Oct. 5. Guthrie Theater, 818 S. Second St., Minneapolis; 612-377-2224
Sports fans may feel left out of most theater, but Mixed Blood Theatre has them covered.
The always-inventive company heads back to the field with Colossal, which is receiving a rolling premiere (five companies nationwide will present it this year). Colossal deals with a gay athlete who is dealing with a life-changing injury.
The play mimics a football game with 15-minute quarters, a halftime show, and full-contact acting. Oct. 10-Nov. 9. Mixed Blood Theatre, 1501 S. Fourth St., Minneapolis; 612-338-6131
Dystopias are hot, so Theatre Pro Rata is taking us back to George Orwell's iconic 20th-century vision of a totalitarian state via this recently crafted play by Michael Gene Sullivan. The script strips the tale down to its bare essentials. We join hero Winston Smith after he has been captured, interrogated, and tortured for his thought crime.
Two big talents, Grant Henderson and John Middleton, star in a saga that still has plenty of resonance in a surveillance- and drone-rich world. Oct. 17-26. Intermedia Arts, 2822 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-234-7135
Love's Labour's Lost
The ghosts of Theatre de la Jeune Lune return to the Twin Cities for a fresh interpretation of Shakespeare's early comedy. For nearly 30 years, Jeune Lune brought a bit of French flair and anarchistic energy to Twin Cities theater. The company was recognized around the world, and earned a regional Tony Award in the early 2000s.
Financial troubles eventually doomed the theater, but over the past few years, several Jeune Lune vets — now with the Moving Company — have kept their iconoclastic vision alive through a string of pieces that have been madcap, maddening, beautiful, and strange, often within the same scene. They promise more than just a strict reading of the play, reshaping it into a work that borrows from the full canon for a quick-paced romp through romance. Nov. 21-Dec. 21. The Lab Theater, 700 N. First St., Minneapolis. 612-333-7977.
Jonah and the Whale
7th House Theater is in its infancy, but has quickly risen to the top of companies to watch with its fresh look at Hair last year and its stripped-down Little Shop of Horrors this summer. The company will take an ambitious step up with an ensemble piece that moves the Old Testament tale to the Mississippi River, complete with bluegrass and folk music. Dec. 19-28. Guthrie Theater, 818 S. Second St., Minneapolis; 612-377-2224.
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