Friday, February 28, 2020

Kyle Abraham's A.I.M. at Northrop

Photo by Steven Screiber

Kyle Abraham’s dance company A.I.M. was at the Northrop Auditorium in Minneapolis, Minnesota on February 27th for a student matinee performance. The interdisciplinary dance team draws on different styles to create something new, often using a collaboration of infused work from hip hop vocabulary, rave culture, and the dancers' unique backgrounds including Cunningham and Graham.

Monday, February 24, 2020

'The World Over' at Open Window Theatre

Princess Isobel (left) and her nurse Cindra (center) discover Adam the castaway. (Erika Kuhn [left], Abby Day -[center], Andrew Hey [right])

Getting your daily dose of medieval drama just go got easier ‘The World Over’ by Keith Bunin and directed by Jeremy Stanbary is at Open Window Theatre in Inver Grove Heights through March 15th.

This theatrical fable revolves around Adam (Andrew Hey), an orphan who believes himself to be the lost prince of Gildoray. He is on a quest to find his mythical homeland. The narrator and geographer (Grant Hooyer) describes his journey with various maps and artifacts. Adam’s journey takes him across land and sea. He finds love with Isobel (Erika Kuhn) but it’s not enough. Pride gets in his way, and he learns about loss in the pursuit of his dreams.

Director Stanbary’s creative staging consists of a crow’s nest to the left of the stage with a ship’s mast to the right.  A multi-purposed wooden deck serves as a site for meetings with the king.  Beneath the deck are imaginative settings where characters wander in and out caves or pits. Thirty characters make up the play with eight central roles. The design team consists of Sarah D. Pierucki (set), Nate Farley (costumes), and Jeremy Stanbary (light/sound).

Adam, a castaway. (Andrew Hey)

Sound and lighting contribute to the highly theatrical experience, particularly during a fierce hurricane scene with sound effects along with storm footage projected onto the backdrop and intense movements from the characters as they flail about and blue cloths are thrown to create the image of waves crashing down. The pacing is fast, leaving little time for the audience to take in the more emotional scenes that revolve around a character’s death or another’s arrival.  There are great moments when a character straddles the crow's nest and looks downs into the scene with intrigue. 

And no medieval story would be fit without a magical bird.  This one is equipped with a plexiglass head and beak with three characters holding it together, the bird's untimely fall gets a laugh.  
Tucker Brewster Schuster is a standout in a number of his roles. There are moments when his penetrating stares make you believe there is something in the distance worth discovering, if we all had an imagination that powerful. At one point, he grabs a character by the coat collar and carries him off the stage. Andrew Hey's delivery of Adam is energetic and powerful, particularly in fight scenes.

Director Jeremy Stanbary posted in the playwright notes, 'The World Over' is a play that asks us to reflect on what we live our lives for and how we go about living our lives. It’s a story about our common humanity that affirms always and everywhere that life is worth living, because sorrows and losings and fools there are plenty. But there are wonders here, too, and resurrections.
'The World Over' is a timeless adventure story that is ground-breaking for Open Window, a theatre that has moved to its new home in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota.


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