'Work of Heart' merges visual arts with theater

The latest Interact piece merges the efforts of the company's gallery and theater into a delightful event that takes the audience to far-off planes before returning everyone "home."

The evening begins before the show at the Lab Theater, as the back of the set is packed with the artwork created by Interact members. It's more than just a gallery (though many of the pieces are for sale), as playwright Dawn Brodey took the work of six of the artists as inspiration for her play, which takes an everyday person on an epic quest.

The story centers on John, a worker drone whose late-night drudgery is interrupted first by an eccentric office cleaner, then by Queen Zwelga, who emerges from a garbage can to invite John on a journey to save her homeland from the evil oppressors who once enslaved her people.

From there, it's a trip through Oz by way of Neil Gaiman, with our nervous-nelly hero learning about bravery and love while traveling through worlds, including one where the weather can change at a moment's notice, and facing a confrontation with an oracle where they are allowed to hear the answer to one question. As they journey, John and Zwelga learn plenty about themselves and their environment. For John, it's about learning about the beauty of his own drab world; for Zwelga, it's about the true nature of their long ago, but unseen enemies.

'Work of Heart' merges visual arts with theater
Artwork on display for Work of Heart

A trio of guest artists join Interact's own company of performers with disabilities to bring the piece to life. A simple set, with more artwork by or inspired by the original creators, brings the various worlds of the play to life. (As does a lot of stage fog, which is heavy enough to induce some coughing from the audience.)

The guest artists Heather Bunch, Leif Jurgensen, and Heather Nargang give the piece plenty of energy, but it is the full Interact company that really makes the show work.

Leah Adcock-Starr directs the whole affair with a light touch, cleverly using the full Interact company in several different guises. All of this put together makes for a real joyful evening of art and performance.

Work of Heart
The Lab Theater
701 First St. N., Minneapolis
Through May 19
For information, call 612.616.1727 or visit online

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The Lab Theater

700 1st St. N.
Minneapolis, MN 55401-1143


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