Walking Shadow examines the specter of parenthood
Among the bevy of shows opening this weekend is Walking Shadow Theatre Company's latest production, The Crowd You're In With, where the question of whether to--or not to--conceive a child is front and center. With the opening this Friday, it has been a hectic week for director Amy Rummenie, but she took the time to answer a few questions with City Pages via email.
City Pages: How did you come to select the show? Where did you find it and what made you think it would be a good fit for Walking Shadow and the Twin Cities theater scene?
Amy Rummenie: Even though this is the first show of our season, it was the final one we selected, and we were a bit stymied on what fit best with our already chosen Drakul and after the quake. We were reading scripts at every free moment, and finding this one was the chance product of a small spree on Amazon.com. I was trying an experiment in finding plays I loved, then checking out the "recommended" titles below. We had been looking for a smart modern comedy/drama, ideally penned by a woman with the kind of moral/ethical grey area that we gravitate towards exploring.
CP: What were some of the challenges in bringing the piece to the stage?
AR: This story focuses on compelling dialogue and intricate twists of opinion, but we have a great cast who have grabbed hold of the characters fiercely and have shaken a stunning amount of detail from their parts.
For the most part, our major challenges have been technical. We're taking definite advantage of the height of the People's Center Theater with a tremendous set: The backyard and backside of a Chicago two-flat apartment building, complete with exterior stairs and faux slate patio tiles. It didn't help that the elevator was out when we loaded our two-story walk-up into a three-story walk-up, and rumor has it that moving 4x8 sheets of lauan plywood in a windstorm was... less than fun.
CP: Does the concern at the center of the play--about whether having children or not--feel like a modern concern, or do you think it has always been with us, albeit in different forms?
AM: In this case, I think it's a largely modern concern. The play takes a very careful look at working mothers and modern-day trendy uber-parents. But it truly points a lens at what it takes to make a name for yourself in our very individualized world, where passions and obligations try to find a balance.
CP: What can you tell me about the cast?
AM: The cast is a seriously enthusiastic and detail-driven bunch with a passion for discussion. I've left the space 20 minutes after a rehearsal ended only to find the actors still intensely debating the ideas in the parking lot. Some of the cast are Walking Shadow alums: Lindsay Marcy, Joe Bombard, Jim Pounds, and Shad Cooper have performed in a total of 8 shows before this. The rest of the cast are new to us but no less beloved: Adam Whisner, Maggie Bearmon Pistner, and Bethany Ford. We all bonded quickly, and even actors who were strangers to each other at the start of the rehearsal process seem like old friends--perfect for this story.
CP: Why should someone select this show over the half a dozen others opening this weekend (and no fair saying they should see them all).
AM: I have to say that the subject matter is perfect fodder for conversation--this is the kind of play you see with a small group of friends so you can hash it out over drinks afterwards. Honestly, I can't wait until it opens so I can talk about it with a whole new crowd. I hear echoes of conversations I've had with my friends and family and want to hear their take on the issues.
The Crowd You're In With runs Friday, November 5 through November 20. For more information, check out Walking Shadow Theatre Company's website.
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