|Misha (Blake Hogue) gets caught between the sisters|
(Sandra Struthers and Mary Fox, photo by Justin Cox)
|Zachary Stofer and Sandra Struthers in the icehouse|
(photo by Justin Cox)
|Katie (Mary Fox) shows Anders (Matt Wall) how to tie a knot|
(photo by Justin Cox)
A Gone Fishin' Christmas, along with YTT's other original Christmas plays, nicely explores the very real conflict between rural and urban Minnesota, something I have experienced first hand. Both of my parents are the only ones among their siblings to have left the small towns of their birth to move to "the Cities." Returning to those small towns for holidays, my sister and I are definitely viewed a bit differently as the only cousins from the Cities. You need to look no further than the map of how Minnesotans voted in the recent election to see that there's a growing divide between outstate Minnesota and the metropolitan areas. I find this concerning, and worthy of a much larger conversation than is possible here. Not to sounds too trite, but maybe if we were all forced to spend a few hours in an icehouse floating on Lake Superior, we might also discover we have more in common than we think.
Yellow Tree Theatre has done it again. Jessica Lind Peterson has written another modern Minnesota classic, this one with obvious affection for her hometown of Duluth, which she refers to "Paris with less baguettes." This allows for not just Minnesota references (what's not funny about lutefisk), but even some Duluth specific references (such as Bent Paddle Brewery and local band Trampled by Turtles). This wonderful cast and creative team have beautifully, hilariously, and poignantly brought this uniquely original Minnesotan to life on Yellow Tree's intimate stage in a fun, playful, and touching way. It's one of those plays that touches you, makes you laugh until you cry, and leaves you with a warm feeling inside. Sweet but not sappy, outrageously funny but not offensive, it's everything we love about Minnesota and the holidays. If you've never seen a Yellow Tree Christmas play before, get thee to Osseo for A Gone Fishin' Christmas continues before it closes on December 30! And if you have seen one or all of them, this one is another gem and maybe even my favorite of them all (until next year).
Watch this video for a peek at a few crazy and heart-warming scenes from A Gone Fishin' Christmas, accompanied by the original song "Letter to the Author" sung by songwriter Blake Thomas* (the only songwriter I know who can rhyme lutefisk with ludicrous in a such a sweet and quirky way that it makes you smile while bringing a tear to your eye).
A Gone Fishin' Christmas Trailer from Yellow Tree Theatre on Vimeo.
*For more Duluth-based humor, music, and storytelling, listen to Blake Thomas and Mary Fox's radio show Take It With You, which also features Zachary Stofer. Seasons 1 and 2 are available now free online for your listening pleasure, and the recently completed Season 3 will be uploaded soon. And if you happen to find yourself in Duluth on the third Tuesday of the month sometime next year, go see it recorded live at the Underground.