On the Townsend

By John Townsend September 24, 2010

Categories: Arts & Culture, Our Scene

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A Few Good Men
Through Oct. 3
Sabes Jewish Community Center,
4330 Cedar Lake Rd., St. Louis Park
(612) 396-2025
www.urbansamurai.org

Guantanamo Bay. Hazing. Accidental killing. Aaron Sorkin’s drama struck a nerve when it premiered in 1989, and it still resonates.

Urban Samurai Director Matthew Greseth says the play asks, “Are we willing to suspend or give up some freedoms to ensure that others are upheld? How far are we willing to let our government and military go to protect us from those who wish to harm us? What is the price tag for peace of mind, and who determines at what point that price is too high?”

515
Sept. 30-Oct. 10
Patrick’s Cabaret
3010 Minnehaha Ave. S., Mpls.
(612) 388-8628
www.flowershopproject.com

This partnership between GLBT-rights group Project 515 and theatrical troupe The Flower Shop Project is what choreographer Bryan Gerber calls “an artistic representation of the real-life discrimination faced by same-sex couples who reside in this state. Research shows there are at least 515 laws in our state that exclude same-sex couples from certain rights and benefits that should be provided to everyone. 515 highlights many of these laws through song, theater, and dance. It presents a vision of equality where all families are equal under the law—in their homes, neighborhoods, workplaces, and communities.”

A Cool Drink of Water
Through Oct. 10
Mixed Blood Theatre
1401 S. 4th St., Mpls.
(612) 338-6131
www.mixedblood.com

To open Mixed Blood Theatre’s 35th season, Obie-winner Marion McClinton directs this present-day update of the family immortalized in bisexual playwright Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun. Playwright Thomas W. Jones II notes that her African-American female characters were struggling to break out of conventional and restrictive roles.

Jones explains, “The women of Cool Drink have realized some of what the Hansberry women aspired to, but now recognize that the battlefield is more complex. They’re able to see the contradictions of middle-class life. Education is not the answer, and women are still facing enormous obstacles. They’ve discovered that the more sophisticated you become, the more sophisticated those in power become. These are highly-evolved women who have achieved something personally, professionally, and academically, but they’re still fighting for a place in a world, in a culture, and in a family that are under constant revision.”


Eclipsed

Through Oct. 10
The Playwrights’ Center
2301 E. Franklin Ave., Mpls.
(612) 724-3760
www.franktheatre.org

How would you dress women who are chattel in a recent Liberian civil war? Acclaimed costume designer Kathy Kohl depicts that in Obie-winner Danai Gurira’s acclaimed play.

Kohl relates, “I researched pictures from 2003 Liberia, selecting iconic portraits of women surviving the war as my base images—using them as starting points in collecting costumes. I noted the Western influence in the jeans and tops of the young female soldiers, and though other women wore African print skirts and head wraps, they paired them with Western skirts and tank tops. The basis of the women’s wardrobes is the loot presented to them by the soldiers who keep them, resulting in a worn, random, layered look.”

The Oldest Story in the World
Through Oct 10
Southern Theater
1420 Washington Ave. S., Mpls.
(612) 340-0155
www.southerntheater.org

Theatre Novi Most Director Lisa Channner is staging Kira Obolensky’s adaptation of the ancient Sumerian epic Gilgamesh, with an eye toward homoromanticism.

Channer observes, “Gilgamesh [Erik Hoover] is an arrogant king, made two-thirds divine, one-third human by the gods. As a way to balance his tyrannical temperament, the gods make a partner for him, Enkidu [Billy Mullaney], who is two-thirds animal, one-third human, and with whom Gilagamesh finds peace and a new calmer self. The death of Enkidu is the start of a process of mourning—‘as a man mourns a wife’—that takes Gilgamesh on an epic search for immortality. The story takes place in the ancient city of Uruk, near present-day Iraq, which had its own patron diety, Ishtar, goddess of love and sex. Therefore, Uruk was a place of acceptance and sexual diversity. We call it the San Francisco of the ancient world!”

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