Layla Claire as Pamina and Andrew Wilkowske as Papageno. Photo by Michal Daniel.

The Magic Flute

by SOPHIE KERMAN You might think you know what opera looks like: big people in old-fashioned clothing repeating the same phrases over and over. Right? Wrong. The Minnesota Opera‘s production of Mozart‘s The Magic Flute is colorful, dramatic, and surreal. An opera, yes – but not like you’ve ever seen one before. The Magic Flute is a weird opera…

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Home Street Home Minneapolis: No Turning Away

by BECKY DERNBACH, guest reviewer Becky Dernbach is the communications coordinator for Occupy Homes MN and the author of Fannie and Freddie, a rhyming picture book about the housing crisis. Home Street Home Minneapolis mixes song, spoken word, humor, and heartbreak with stories about homelessness in downtown Minneapolis, written and performed primarily by people who have experienced it.  “I’m…

Gary Anderson as Clarence Darrow. Photo by Petronella Ytsma.

Naked Darrow

by SOPHIE KERMAN “If you lose the power to laugh, you lose the power to think.” – Clarence Darrow If you grew up in a radical left-wing household – or if you’ve been to law school – you’ve probably heard of Clarence Darrow, the famed defense attorney whose messy personal life didn’t interfere with saving 102 individuals from…

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The Odyssey

by SOPHIE KERMAN Charlie Bethel has garnered rave reviews, both locally and nationally, for his one-man adaptations of classic texts from Beowulf to Gilgamesh and, now, The Odyssey. Local critics seem to enjoy listing positive adjectives to describe Bethel’s performance: Dominic Papatola calls him “dazzling”, Ed Huyck says the show is “funny, thrilling, moving, and educational”, and John Olive qualifies Bethel…

Nate Cheeseman, Hannah Steblay, Zachary Morgan, and Nissa Nordland. Photo by Zach Curtis.

A Chaste Maid in Cheapside

by SOPHIE KERMAN Our language has changed quite a bit since 1613, but our sense of humor clearly has not. Sure, there are a whole lot of “forsooth”s in Thomas Middleton‘s A Chaste Maid in Cheapside, but the characters it mocks are still alive and well today: the incessantly chattering gossips, the pretentious scholar spouting verbiage no…

Red, White, [Black & Blue]

Red, White, [Black & Blue]

by SOPHIE KERMAN Political theater has a fine line to walk between didacticism, partisanship, and voyeurism into trauma. This is something that co-creators Michael Opperman and Nathan Tylutki were deeply aware of when constructing Red, White, [Black & Blue]: Uncharged at Guantánamo, a performance piece about the detainees currently remaining uncharged at Guantánamo. The term “performance piece” (my…

Theatre Forever's "The Big Show".

The Big Show

by SOPHIE KERMAN How many ping pong balls can you pick up in 30 seconds? In 15 seconds, can you come up with 5 different things that you’d like to put in a mailbox but probably shouldn’t, because you’re pretty sure it’s a felony? Game shows are weird, unpredictable, and completely arbitrary, and this might…

Peter Christian Hansen as C.S. Lewis and Robert Dorfman as Sigmund Freud. Photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp.

Freud’s Last Session

by JAMES JOHNS, guest reviewer* Described as a play of “what if” by director Rob Melrose, Freud’s Last Session imagines a conversation, bordering on debate, between Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis as they struggle to understand each other’s positions on logic, faith, and the existence of God. An older atheistic Freud, suffering from late stage oral cancer, requests a…

Andrew Durand and Patrycja Kujawska in "Tristan & Yseult". (In this production, Yseult is played by Etta Murfitt.) Photo by Steve Tanner.

Tristan & Yseult

by SOPHIE KERMAN The story of Tristan and Yseult (or Isolde) has been told and re-told for centuries, from the original 12th-century French romance to Wagner’s 19th-century opera to Ridley Scott’s fairly atrocious 2006 adaptation. Such a long history provides the freedom to take a few liberties, to push and pull the tale into new forms…