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.