Not knowing what to expect, I was actually surprised that more than half of the evening was spent at the Boss Stage. But not unpleasantly so, because the pieces performed on the stage are highly entertaining. The central conceit of the show is a school field trip, led by a somewhat grumpy teacher (charmingly played by director Joe Chvala). The field trip is all about the history of St. Paul. We learn about the beginnings of the city, once known as Pig's Eye after the city's first non-native resident and bar owner Pierre Parrant, as well as other times throughout history, most notably the prohibition days when gangsters were allowed to live in St. Paul as long as they didn't commit their crimes within the city limits. This allows for some fantastic '20s costumes and dancing, with music by noted vocalist Natalie Nowytski and narration by "tour guide" Colleen Somerville-Leeman.
The field trip conceit also introduces us to two mischievous students, played by Rush Benson and Brian J. Evans, in a series of dance pieces. I could watch these two All. Day. Long. Their pieces, including a secret handshake that goes on for ten minutes, a fight in which they use imaginary weapons and never touch, and detention spent drumming with pencils on desks, are so fun and playful and absolutely delightful to watch, a definite highlight of the evening.
|the cast of Passing through Pig's Eye (photo by Rick Spaulding)|
Passing through Pig's Eye continues through September 11, with performances Wednesdays through Sundays, even over Labor Day Weekend when many theaters are dark, so it's a great choice if you're staying in town. So go, wear comfortable shoes and weather-appropriate attire, participate in the dancing or sit back and watch the pros, learn a little of our history, and enjoy this truly unique and highly entertaining event.