On the Townsend

By John Townsend June 5, 2008

Categories: Arts & Culture, Our Scene

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Bulrusher
Through June 14
Pillsbury House,
3501 Chicago Ave. S., Mpls.
(612) 825-0459
www.pillsburyhousetheatre.org

In Bulrusher, by Eisa Davis, a young black woman foretells the future through water, the source of life.

Christiana Clark, who plays the title role at Pillsbury House, says, “At 18, new and unknown longings have begun to point her toward her true self. She wants to love, and won’t let anyone tell her whom she can or can’t love.”

Bulrusher’s Obie-winning director, Marion McClinton, notes, “Sex and sensuality complete us as human beings. The ultimate Life Source, represented physically in Bulrusher by the river, cares little about whom you love or how you love. The Source wouldn’t have made it the most pleasurable sensation we can physically feel, and the perfect expression of the deepest kind of love, if it were something we were not supposed to experience. That’s why violence hurts. It’s bad for you.

“The Source, God, is only concerned with why you love. In Bulrusher, which to me is about the possibilities of love, exploring self through sexuality is as natural as breathing, and the first step from childhood to the adult soul. The Source sees neither gay nor straight—only the depth, the journey, the heroic quest to touch, to understand the greatest gift bestowed, the only thing we can do that is God-like, which is to love each other through touch, when words can no longer express the depth of it.”

socktesting
June 5-15
The Soap Factory
518 2nd St. SE, Mpls.
(612) 623-9176
www.myspace.com/socktesting

Actor-writer Mark Abel Garcia and choreographer Megan Mayer are cocreating socktesting, wherein six characters slowly are asphyxiated.

Mayer observes, “We tend to lose sight of what’s in front of us, and gloss over what really matters: whom and what you love, and the ability to find joy in the present moment. I see this as an investigation of that sense of loss, and as a way to spark myself to find meaning in what I have now, rather than regret not appreciating it when it becomes too late.”

Garcia adds, “Our piece speaks not only to an end of civilization, but to the idea that we will be too busy doing our routines to notice.”

Standards of Care
June 6-15
Patrick’s Cabaret
3010 Minnehaha Ave., Mpls.
(612) 227-1188
www.patrickscabaret.org

Transgender plays are rare enough, but those that deal with the female-to-male experience are even rarer. Leave it to gutsy 20% Theatre to bridge the gap. At Patrick’s Cabaret, it presents Standards of Care, by Tobias K. Davis. Two FTMs in clear need of support put their own support systems on a collision course.

Director Claire Avitable loves pieces that deal with MTF issues, but, in her words, “People need to know what the opposite experience is like.”


Daak: Call to Action

June 12-15
Southern Theater
1420 Washington Ave. S., Mpls.
(612) 340-1725
www.southerntheater.org

Ananya Dance Theatre is extraordinary in its evocation of female-to-female intimacy blended with charged geopolitical themes. Choreographer Ananya Chatterjea calls her dance theater a queer space.

Chatterjea’s latest, Daak: A Call to Action, not only deals with land rights, but also, she points out, “works through connections among women, through the intimacy of gentle touch and fierceness of bodies marking space through rhythmic structures, to remember histories that are not written, but live in our bodies. These are histories of land stolen, communities broken, and women’s lives ruptured. But these are also stories of resistance, where the breath and together-dancing of different women make possible certain dimensions of history otherwise unimaginable.”


A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Through June 22
Guthrie Theater
818 S. 2nd St., Mpls.
(612) 377-2224
www.guthrietheater.org

In 1997, Guthrie Artistic Director Joe Dowling staged a fun, sexy, and racially diverse A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He now revisits Shakespeare’s towering comedy with deeper insight. Costume designer Paul Tazewell and set designer Frank Hallihan illuminate the play’s three realms with a mixture of nightclub chic, pagan sexuality, and subtle shards of (anti)militarism. This time around, Dowling’s interracial choice feels more intentionally subversive. John Stead’s marvelous aerial effects enhance this thrilling take on human arrogance collapsing into loving interconnection.

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