|the playbill for Speed-the-Plow, constructed|
as a movie script with typewriter font
and brass fasteners holding it together
The new theater company Dark & Stormy Productions is again staging a theater production in a non-traditional setting, i.e., not an actual theater. Last summer they staged Outside Providence, a trio of short plays, in an office building in downtown Minneapolis. The location for this production is a building in Northeast Minneapolis. It looks like a cool office space, entirely appropriate for this play that takes place in a movie studio office. Also like Outside Providence, there are multiple staging areas, with the action moving to a new location in the space for the second act, and the audience following along. It's a fun change of pace from the usual theater where you sit in your seat in the dark for two hours. I also appreciated the high stools in the second row which provided a great view without having to see around someone's head.
|Karen (Sara Marsh) makes her pitch|
to Bobby (Bill McCallum)
|Charlie (Kris L. Nelson) makes his pitch|
to Bobby (Bill McCallum)
The mission of Dark & Stormy is to develop the 18-35-year-old theater audience, something they say is lacking. I'm slightly outside of that age range, but looking around at the theater I often find I'm one of the youngest people there (especially at certain theaters or on a Sunday matinee), so I think they have a point. The audience had a good laugh when Sara talked about the mission before the show, as we looked around to see that very few of the 30 or so people in the audience fit into this age range. The ideas are great - cool space, a small audience leading to an intimate experience, inexpensive ticket prices, relatively short run times - so hopefully the young audience will find them. But whatever your age, this is a great play by one of the best known American playwrights/screenwriters, with a great cast, in an interesting non-traditional space, which makes for a unique and entertaining evening at the theater, even for us old folks.
*Wikipedia tells me that the playwright explains the perplexing title thusly: "I remembered the saying that you see on a lot of old plates and mugs: 'Industry produces wealth, God speed the plow.' This, I knew, was a play about work and about the end of the world, so 'Speed-the-Plow' was perfect because not only did it mean work, it meant having to plow under and start over again."