Sunday, January 17, 2021

"To Breed, Or Not To Breed" by Fortune's Fool Theatre at the Crane Theater and Now Streaming

Back in early November when theaters were open at limited capacity, just before the November surge tightened things up again, Fortune's Fool Theatre presented a new piece called To Breed, Or Not To Breed at the Crane Theater* in Northeast Minneapolis. I chose not to attend, because I've been very cautious since the start of the pandemic and don't anticipate returning to the theater until the vaccine is more widely distributed and/or local case numbers decrease significantly (maybe this spring if things go well?). But fortunately for us, Fortune's Fool recorded these performances and have made them available to view on YouTube for free, with a suggested donation if you're able. I watched all three 50-ish-minute installments this weekend and found this series of storytelling pieces about the choice to have or not have children very engaging, moving, relatable, and honest.

Storytelling is a genre of theater I enjoy, but rarely experience outside of the Fringe. Master storyteller Ariel Pinkerton (co-Artistic Director along with her father Daniel Pinkerton), conceived (no pun intended) this piece, which was directed by Ben Layne. Each of the three performances include stories from six local authors/artists/actors about their experiences around the idea of parenthood. Stories of people who unintentionally became parents at a young age; stories of people who were very intentional about their choice to breed; and stories of people who chose not to have children. This is a topic not regularly discussed, and it's refreshing to listen to this broad range of beautifully honest stories.

We have stories of adoption, of loss, of real-life "Modern Families," of traditional families, of chosen families made up of close friends, of choices easy or hard, even a literal pros and cons list. Some of the stories are funny, some are heart-breaking, some are poignant, but all are very raw and honest looks inside someone's very personal life story. I'm grateful to the artists for being vulnerable and sharing their stories, and to Fortune's Fool for putting this show together and making it available to everyone with a device and internet access.

The filming is very simple and straight-forward, with a single stationary camera trained on the speaker. But that works because storytelling is not about fancy tech, it's about one person telling their story, and that's what shines through in these recordings.

To Breed, Or Not To Breed is available to stream now through the end of January. See Fortune's Fool's website for links to the videos and programs with info about the artists involved.

*Crane Theater is selling "SAVE THEATER WEAR A MASK" masks for $10 to benefit Minnesota Fringe's Theater Emergency Relief Fund. Cute, comfy, a great statement, and for a good cause!