by Matthew A. Everett | 8/26/09 • Another, yes another, scrappy little theater company rears its head in the Twin Cities this weekend. One weekend only, blink and you miss it. Red Letter Theater is the brain child of young director David Hanzal. And he’s amassed some pretty interesting collaborators, both on and offstage for this one. Not to mention he’s already landed himself a grant to help get the production up on its feet. No shrinking violet, this one. Of course, it helps to have a regional premiere by an edgy (late) playwright in your back pocket as well. The late playwright would be the troubled Sarah Kane. The edgy play being premiered is “Phaedra’s Love.”
|single white fringe geek is the blog of matthew a. everett. in addition to being one of seven bloggers covering the minnesota fringe festival for the daily planet, he blogs throughout the year about theater and culture.|
Heather Stone, fresh off her great work in this year’s Fringe as “June of Arc,” is in the title role. Nicholas Leeman, who I liked a whole lot in last Fringe’s “Hue and Cry” and the Urban Samurai farce “Protection Program,” is playing Phaedra’s incestuous object of desire, Hippolytus. But, as the press release makes clear, this ain’t yer grandma’s tragedy… The tag line for the production is “Have you ever had a love that burned you?” (No comment) “Phaedra’s Love is Sarah Kane’s contemporary, radical reworking of Seneca’s classical tragedy. Hippolytus (Nicholas Leeman), the spoiled prince, is driven to a reclusive life. Emotions, love in particular, and need of any type are an unbearable threat to him. His uncontrollable sexual impulse, which would otherwise draw him into contact with others, must express itself in masturbation and the humiliation of his sexual partners.” OK…. “Phaedra (Heather Stone), his stepmother, is desperately in love with him. Her drive to submit herself to the impossibility of her desire, to lose herself within it, is the opposite of Hippolytus. Phaedra’s longing for Hippolytus forms the second of the twin impulses that move this contemporary royal family towards a violent destruction.” Yikes… “With additional performances by Helen Buron, Kayla Hambek, Peter Heeringa, Eva Nelson, Jonathan Peterson, Steve Ramirez, Andrew Sass, Linda Saetre, Larissa Shea, this Red Letter production will also feature wigs by David Pipho, who previously designed for the Jungle Theater’s critically-acclaimed production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, cutting-edge fashion designs by local artist Megan Wannarka, and an original score by experimental percussionist Dylan Jack.” This, on a stage in a black box where food is being served before, during & after the show, traffic whizzes by just outside the back wall, and there’s a bowling alley just beyond the theater doors. Damn, I love the Bryant Lake Bowl. And anyone brave enough to do theater there. So, the details… Performances at 7pm this Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, August 27, 28, 29 and 30. Doors at six for food and drink. At the BLB – 810 West Lake Street, Minneapolis. Tickets $12, or $10 for students, seniors, and groups of 10 or more. Call 612.825.8949 or go to www.bryantlakebowl.com for reservations. More info on Red Letter Theater at www.redlettertheater.com I’ll be seeing it opening night, Thursday, and reporting back. But since it’s the shortest of short runs, I wanted to give an early shout-out. What can I say? I’m intrigued. The first of my post-Fringe theater outings. Perhaps I’ll see you there. Matthew A. Everett is a local playwright and three-time recipient of grant support from the Minnesota State Arts Board. Information on Matthew and his plays can be found at matthewaeverett.com.
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