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BEST THEATER FOR NEW WORK Minneapolis 2000 - Hidden Theatre

There are quite a few noteworthy local theater companies specializing in contemporary work--Hidden Theatre, 15 Head, Outward Spiral, and Eye of the Storm come first to mind. Yet we have to give the nod to Bain Boehlke's Jungle for producing two new plays by local playwrights this season. It was, in part, a welcome surprise: The Jungle, though always one of the finest theaters in town, has in the past concentrated largely on repertory classics. This year Boehlke and company produced both Tossin' Junk, a flawed but nevertheless promising debut for playwright Meg Grundy, and Kira Obolensky's Lobster Alice, which was one of the best locally written plays to reach the stage in recent memory. (It proceeded to play in New York.) The Jungle's production of the latter, which Boehlke directed, was especially fine: a cerebral, witty script about the clash of the imagination and industry given a sensitive and finely observed staging. Perhaps Boehlke has been inspired to seek out such fresh fare to fill his theater's lovely new house. We can only hope he continues to mix such new theater art in with the treasured antiques.

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