The Passage tells the story of an 11-year-old boy named Albert, a normal kid with a normal life, except that something about it is not quite right. There's a monster in his basement, keeping his dad captive, and his mother is the only one who's allowed to visit him. But of course the monster isn't really a monster, and what this monster is that is devouring his dad is soon made clear. Albert is determined to save his dad from the monster, and enlists his new neighbor and friend Cassie to help him, as they brave the scary basement where they encounter a closet creature made of coats and a couple of not very brave knights. Turning the Rubik's cube and getting closer to the solution gets Albert closer and closer to his dad, and when he finally finds him, he learns the truth. He comes out of the passage a changed person, but yet still the same person he always was.
|the cast of The Passage|
(photo by Amy Anderson)
The chorus may tell the story, but the main characters in it are children, and they've picked some good ones here: Alejandro Vega, a standout in many Children's Theatre ensembles of late, and Mary Bair, who commanded the big stage at the Guthrie like a pro last year in To Kill a Mockingbird. Both are open, present, thoughtful, charming, and completely winning in a way that only children can be. Completing this strong ensemble and bringing warmth and depth to their roles as Albert's parents are Lara Trujillo and Bob Beverage.
|Cassie and Albert on "cup comm"|
(Mary Bair and Alejandro Vega,
photo by Amy Anderson)
The staging is relatively simple, in the Guthrie's black box studio set up as a traditional proscenium. Just a few set pieces (a door, a window, a table) are moved around to create a sense of space, and video projections are used sparingly to further define location. Costumes are also simple, with a a white stripe on the grey-shirted chorus matching the white stripe of the set. The entire production design is detailed, yet subtle, to allow the story and music to be the star (set design by Eli Schlatter, costume design by Sarah Bahr, and projection design by Adam Raine).
The Passage, Or What Comes of Searching in the Dark is a beautiful, funny, and poignant piece of music-theater about nothing more and nothing less than love, grief, friendship, family, self-discovery, and growing up. In short, it's about life - the joy and the pain, the epic and the mundane, told in an innovative and modern way. Continuing through December 4 in the Guthrie Theater's 9th floor Dowling Studio, get your $9 ticket to see an inventive new original musical before they're gone!
This article also appears on Broadway World Minneapolis.