Hey guys. How’re you? I’ve missed you! For various reasons too complicated and boring to explain here, I probably won’t be posting much here anymore. I — gosh, this is hard — have actually been posting on my own blog for awhile now. It started as a summer fling, merely to keep track of how much I was writing and I only told a few folks about it. But it was fun! And before you know it, I was hooked! And then graduate school started, and I had to, like, take classes and teach classes and I started a new job, and I got busy, and I haven’t even been posting on that blog, so…

Yeah, yeah. World’s tiniest violin.

The point being, the new site is called Thoughts for a Sunshiney Morning. Check it out if you’d like. It’s on blogger, which actually sucks–WordPress is way better. But I’m too lazy to switch over.

But I have a final piece of ‘Spar business to take care of, which is: Off-Leash Area. As you may or may not recall, I wrote a review of a show they did some time ago. Anyway, they saw the review, and got in contact with me, and they’re nice people, and now I’m on their board. So don’t let nobody tell you Icelandspar never did anything for me.

So, as one of my first duties as a board member, I’m “hosting” one of the garage shows tonight. That means that I’m going to greet people, make a little speech before the show, and hang out afterwards and have drinks and chat with people by the bonfire.

So, Off-Leash Area fans, you should go! There are shows tonight, Saturday, and Sunday. Check out the website for more information, or look at this:

With a cast of three powerful women, including
Jennifer Ilse,
Co-Artistic Director  OLA
Karla Grotting,
2007 McKnight Dance Fellow,
Elena Giannetti

Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays
2 Weekends ONLY
October 3rd through 12th
ALL Shows - 7pm

Attendance to shows in Our Garage are
by Advance Reservation Only
Please call: 612-724-7372
Suggested Donation: $10-$15
(donations at the garage)

Join Us
after the show
refreshments by the fire pit in Our Backyard

So, while I was busy getting married, it seems that my favorite theater company in the Twin Cities has been uprooted. Facing a hefty debt, the Jeune Lune has decided to sell their space and break up, after thirty years.

My favorite production by the Jeune Lune was their Medea from 2002. Like many of their productions, it was the stage pictures that made this stand out in my memory. From the moment I walked into the space, there was the feeling that things were heightened, that things would be played on a more grand level. The stage was spartan, with several sand pits built into the floor, but the entire east wall had been converted into a small canopy. The trees stretched almost to the top of the enormous warehouse in which the company worked. The stage, and the feeling of its space, dwarfed the seating. From the moment you sat down, you did not feel that you were looking down into a tiny snapshot of some world, played by actors for your amusement, but into a larger and grander world than your life.

When you have that impression, and the acting holds up, as it almost always did at the Jeune Lune, the emotional stakes are far greater. You risk more just by going to the show than you thought possible.

The Jeune Lune always risked more than I thought was possible, or at least more than I thought they should. When talking to Colin, I would often lament that I thought they were making mistakes with their choice of shows, but really I was glad they were willing to do it. I may not have liked their adaptation of Amerika much, but I was glad they went for it. Too much of what I hear about it middle of the road crap like the Guthrie’s production of Third, which was so bland as to make me wish I had not paid with a gift certificate, so I could ask for my money back.

Hopefully it isn’t long before they regroup. Hopefully people will be able to watch Steve Epp cough again soon. Several of my friends and I share a joke about going to shows just to watch him cough. I can’t really explain it, but it is an amazing little gesture when he does it.

It was good that they closed out with Fishtank, which was one of my favorite shows of the past several years and a wonderful experience to behold. It is also more than a little bittersweet, as it enforces the impression of what Minneapolis has lost right now.

Last Thursday I went to see Fishtank. Heading home after the show, I ran into a friend who had gone to see the Hives. He asked me what I’d seen, and I wasn’t quite able to tell him.

One of our larger Christmas presents this year was tickets to the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall in the city.  New York City.  Seriously.  (more…)

Got a chance to see Off-Leash Area’s new show on Friday. If you read this and think “Damn, that sounds amazing. Why was Laura so delayed with her insightful review?” never fear. Not only do they have shows this upcoming weekend, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but they’ve added more shows! Friday and Saturday, November 9th and 10th.

Off-Leash area is very difficult to sell to your friends. Every time I want to go to a show, I find myself in the position of persuading people to come with me. Maybe it’s me, but the conversations tend to always go something like this: (more…)

Two more Minneapolis shows that deserve your attention! The caveat here is that my endorsement comes entirely from the presence of people I know and like being in said shows, rather than an objective analysis of the theater companies in question. Nevertheless, both shows sound interesting, I’ll be there, and the people I know are redonkously talented (it’s a technical, theater term). (more…)