What makes Once so special is that it's an atypical love story, about an Irish "guy" and a Czech "girl" who meet in Dublin when both are a bit "stopped" in life. He's a musician who's heart-broken over his ex and thinking about giving up music, she's a young mother and immigrant whose husband is back home, leaving her in limbo. They form a close and intimate (although platonic) connection that changes both of their lives, as they play and record music together with a community of musicians. Through this process they both become unstopped, and are able to move forward on their separate paths through life. It's also a love story about Ireland, and music (as if those were two separate things). Playwright Enda Walsh adapted the movie in a way that maintains that authentically Irish feeling, that bittersweet mixture of joy, pain, and music that is the hallmark of that "little rock in the ocean." Once celebrates the power of music to bring people together, to inspire, to heal.
|the cast of Once (photo by Terry Cartie Norton)
|Steven Grant Douglas and Alyson Enderle
(photo by Terry Cartie Norton)
In the beautifully renovated NorShor Theatre, a smaller wooden stage is built on the theater stage of the 600-seat theater, with a backdrop of metal plates adorned with instruments of all sorts. But these are just for show, the working instruments fill the spaces on either side of the stage, along with a few stools and crates, which are brought onto the stage as needed for set pieces. The cast is dressed authentically and specifically, including the girl's dress with boots and jacket, and the guys vest, jeans, and newsboy hat (scenic design by Curtis Phillips, costume design by Peg Ferguson).
Click here for more information on Duluth Playhouse's 2022-2023 season, which includes Main Stage and Youth Theatre productions at the NorShor, along with some edgier Underground shows across the street at Zeitgeist. It's a pretty great way to end a day of exploring Lake Superior's gorgeous and endlessly fascinating North Shore.