Monday, November 30, 2020

"A Cattywampus Christmas" - a radio play from Yellow Tree Theatre and A.D. Players at the George Theatre

2020 has been a year like no other. But one thing remains the same - fans of Yellow Tree Theatre can return to the charming and quirky (fictional) Minnesota town of Christmas Lake. Co-Founder and Interim Artistic Director Jessica Lind Peterson has written another very Minnesotan holiday comedy, this one as an audio play, which I listened to whilst putting up my Christmas tree. For those of us who have grown to love Christmas Lake resident Martha Knutson and her tater tot hot dish, her pet lizard Katherine, and her obsession with Little House on the Prairie, listening to A Cattywampus Christmas feels like going home for the holidays.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

"The Empathy Project" streaming from Full Circle Theater

This past weekend, Full Circle Theater Company premiered a new play they've been working on for several years. Playwright and Full Circle Core Artist Stephanie Lein Walseth interviewed about 20 people around the state about empathy. She noted in a post show discussion (which followed all four showings of the recorded zoom reading) that she first had the idea for this project prior to the 2016 election, and started interviewing people about a year ago. Out of each interview, she pulled a short story, looking for moments of surprise or something that challenged our stereotypes. The stories are woven together in a structure she compared to the docu-theater style of a Laramie Project or Yellow Face, or like a story circle. The result is incredibly moving, and is well suited to the virtual format as it focuses on one person telling a story.

Friday, November 20, 2020

"Tears of Moons" streaming from Park Square Theatre

#TCTheater artist Antonio Duke first wrote his solo play Tears of Moons in 2016, and it's now being produced by Park Square Theatre. Virtually, of course. But he did perform it on Park Square's basement thrust Boss Stage, a recording of which is being streamed over Zoom just three more times this weekend. This powerful and affecting piece is described thusly: "Join the poetic journey of a man traveling through time, witnessing our country’s shared history and the ongoing violence against Black people. Both personal and expansive, Tears of Moons interweaves African spiritual figures and mythology with Greek epic theatre to reckon with the past and share a vision of strength."

Sunday, November 15, 2020

"The Things They Carried" streaming from History Theatre

The History Theatre continues to offer recordings of past productions to stream during this extended intermission. Currently available is the 2017 production of The Things They Carried. I did not see this production, but I did see a 2014 production of this play, presented in rep with Lonely Soldiers: Women at War in Iraq. I hope that they stream the latter play at some point too, because stories of the sexual harassment and assault that women in the military face are just as important to tell as stories of the soldiers of the Vietnam War. But in the meantime, the roughly 70-minute play (with a 20-minute post-show discussion) is a powerful piece and a great choice to watch at home.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

"Last Stop on Market Street" streaming from Children's Theatre Company

Like many theaters, Children's Theatre Company is offering recordings of past shows to be viewed during this extended intermission from theater. The current show is Last Stop on Market Street from 2018, a show I didn't see because there was so much #TCTheater happening I couldn't fit everything into my schedule (what a great problem to have). I watched it today and found it to be a sweet and entertaining show with a great message. It's available for a 24-hour rental through November 22 (ticket price beginning at $25).

Saturday, November 7, 2020

"Liberty Falls 2020" web series by The Moving Company

The Moving Company is remounting their absurd comedy Liberty Falls 54321 as a four-part web series called Liberty Falls 2020, and I couldn't be happier about it. We revisit the specifically odd characters from the play (last seen in early 2017) in the specifically odd year that is 2020. The first three episodes are free to view, and if you like what you see, the fourth episode can be viewed for only $6.99. The talented and hilarious original cast (plus a few welcome additions) has reunited in creative ways to bring us wonderfully silly story, not without some social commentary. Click here to watch.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

The History Theatre's Virtual New Works Festival "Raw Stages," Fall 2020

Every January, the History Theatre hosts a new works festival called "Raw Stages." Most of their programming is original works, so they rely on these annual workshops and readings as part of the development process. Faced with a long closure of the theater space due to the current and seemingly never-ending pandemic, they decided to hold another "Raw Stages" festival this year - virtually. Workshops and readings are done over Zoom, with the each of five recorded readings available for streaming for a week, spread out about a month apart. I missed the first one, Not In Our Neighborhood (which was supposed to premiere in the spring of 2020), but I've watched the next two, Diesel Heart and Wilson's Girl, the latter of which is available for streaming this week with a live talk-back on Friday. Read on for details of all five new works and how you can watch them.