55454 Series to Highlight 'Africans & Muslims in America' and More; Mixed Blood Theatre's 2014-15 Season Announced!
Cementing its role as a purveyor of new plays, as a destination for the finest talent in the field, and as an anchor in its Cedar-Riverside Minneapolis neighborhood, Mixed Blood Theatre Company will produce, present, and host 20 theatrical productions in the Alan Page Auditorium of its historic firehouse theatre between August of 2014 and July of 2015.
Mixed Blood will produce three new plays with 4-5 week runs, and a series of four plays with one-week runs: the 55454 Series - Africans & Muslims in America. In addition, Mu Performing Arts will become the Resident Producing Company with three firehouse productions, the MN Fringe Festival will present 58 performances of eleven productions, Walking Shadow Theatre Company (in association with Mixed Blood) presents a local premiere, the St. Paul Conservatory of Performing Arts offers its annual J-Term production, and, as an additional tie-in to Mixed Blood's 55454 Series, Mixed Blood will host a microfest of "New Arab American Theatre Works."
Mixed Blood's adventurous line-up will feature Star Tribune 2013 Artist of the Year Sally Wingert, Obie Award winner Taylor Mac, and Olivier Award winner Katori Hall, joining scores of the best of Minnesota's and America's actors, directors, playwrights, and designers to populate the creative teams of Mixed Blood's own season offerings.
Artistic Director Jack Reuler: In 1988 Sports Illustrated wrote a feature story on Mixed Blood as the theatre in America for sports-oriented plays. In 2007 and 2014 Mixed Blood received national and local awards for our work in disability and theatre. And a 2014 joy has been the same sex marriages of friends and colleagues, signifying real societal change. When I read Andrew Hinderaker's amazing play, COLOSSAL - incorporating football, disability, and gay themes - I knew we had to produce this ideal-for-Mixed Blood spectacle. In preparing for COLOSSAL with director Will Davis, a remarkable transgender theatre artist, I have come to appreciate the complexity of language around gender fluidity in a vernacular that is binary, which drew me to Taylor Mac's outrageous comedy HIR, laying forth a picture - and a lexicon - of the future in a world with shifting views on gender. And among my most enduring sources of pride was our 2009 Ivey Award winning production of Pulitzer Award winner Ruined, about four courageous women who were sex workers. The setting couldn't be more different, but that emotional wallop is rivaled in Katori Hall's PUSSY VALLEY.
Ever since I was a kid, I've invited my friends over to play, especially those who excel at what I love. That childhood zeal has carried into my professional life, epitomized in the upcoming season. We have the good fortune to partner with top-of-the-field theatre artists and arts organizations to bring our audiences 12 curated months of 20 productions that propel Mixed Blood's mission and vision to make seismic leaps. LGBTQI characters, artists, and themes permeate the year in all of Mixed Blood's Mainstage shows, as do themes of immigration and the face of the new America, in our 55454 Series, in our new affiliation with Walking Shadow Theatre Company, in a new Arab American microfest, and in Mu Performing Arts' programming as our inaugural resident theatre company.
As champions of the development, production, and dissemination of new plays, we showcase a year of premieres. Our venue is our home of almost four decades, and our Minneapolis neighborhood, reflective of the global village, defines the world we promote, deeply shaping this season's programming. I'm deeply fortunate in that I don't harken back to my youth for 'the good old days.' At Mixed Blood, these are, indeed, the best of times."
At the intersection of virtuosity and social change...
Mixed Blood Theatre Company 2014/2015 Season:
(NNPN Rolling World Premiere)
October 10-November 9, 2014
Performed in four 15-minute quarters with a half-time show, featuring a dance company, a drum corps, and a fully-padded cast, COLOSSAL is an epic event that simultaneously celebrates and attacks our nation's most popular form of theater: football.
A star football player - a pro prospect, one of the most graceful runners in the world, in love with a team mate - struggles to move forward in the wake of a catastrophic spinal cord injury. With a cast of two dozen men, and full contact choreography, this play about love, ability, and extraordinary feats of strength tackles definitions of masculinity and the male body as a vehicle for language, violence, and silent expression through dance, football, and disability.
Toby Forrest, a quadriplegic actor from Los Angeles, leads an ensemble that includes Stephen Yoakam, Ansa Akyea, Darius Dotch, and twenty others. COLOSSAL is a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere, to be produced in a single year at the Olney Theatre Center, Mixed Blood Theatre, Dallas Theater Center, and Southern Rep.
Written by Taylor Mac, Directed by Niegel Smith
February 27-March 22, 2015
Obie Award winning drag icon, queer performance artist, and playwright, Taylor Mac has penned a hilarious and unsettling comedy that is a deconstructed family drama put through a commedia wringer in a style he coins Absurd Realism. It is simultaneously a farcical and disarming satire, a discourse on power, and a blistering critique of "troglodyte fascist hetero-normative" culture.
Isaac returns home from picking up the dismembered remains of his fellow soldiers in Afghanistan, only to find that his home has likewise been blown asunder. His house is a mess, his formerly macho father has suffered a stroke, his mother (played by Sally Wingert, Star Tribune 2013 Artist of the Year) runs the disintegrating household with tyrannical glee, and his sister is now his transgender brother, intent on subverting traditional gender-centric paradigms and linguistic forms - replacing him and her with the play's eponymous pronoun "HIR."
Written by Katori Hall
April 17-May 10, 2015
Centering on the lives of four strippers and propelled by the poetry and athleticism of live pole dancing, PUSSY VALLEY is a profound exploration of the African American, white, gay, straight, young, and old denizens of a strip club in contemporary rural Mississippi. Embedded in a world of poverty, abuse, power imbalances, racism, jealousy, homophobia, abandonment, and sexploitation, this searing drama reveals resilient women in pursuit of happiness, stability, motherhood, independence, a decent living, and romance, always battling for personal integrity.
In the words of playwright Katori Hall, the first African American to win the Olivier Award for THE MOUNTAINTOP and one of few African American women playwrights to be produced on Broadway, "PUSSY VALLEY lives at the intersection of hip hop and strip club cultures."
New plays by, about, for, & with Africans and Muslims in America
PILGRIMS MUSA AND SHERI IN THE NEW WORLD by Yussef El Guindi
Directed by Mark Valdez
January 17-19, 2015
Smart and funny, this winner of the American Theatre Critics' Steinberg New American Play Award is a comic love story centering on a Somali immigrant who falls in love with an American non-Muslim woman, after immigrating to the US for an arranged marriage with an American Muslim.
AFRICAN AMERICA by Warren C. Bowles
February 7-9, 2015
An African American woman investigating her Afrocentrism via the African diaspora in the U.S. dilutes all perceptions of a monolithic African culture. The complexity of Africa's disparate languages, cultures, races, and politics is revealed in this play for young audiences.
HIJAB TUBE by Seema Sueko
Directed by Bill Partlan
April 25-27, 2015
This family play is about Islam in America through the lens of a young American Muslim woman deciding whether or not to wear hijab, suggesting that the dogmas of other countries are transcended in the U.S.
YOUNG NEGRESS STEPPING OUT OF THE RIVER AT DAWN by Dean Poynor
Directed by Aditi Kapil
May 16-18, 2015
A love story about Rwandans living in America, struggling to survive the violent atrocities of their past, while planning a marriage and life in a new world. The play follows the structure of a Rwandan wedding, with interludes using the vocabulary of intore cultural dance.
To complement the 55454 Series, Mixed Blood hosts a microfest:
NEW ARAB AMERICAN THEATRE WORKS:
new plays by local Arab American theatre makers
June 22-July 12
SAFARI by Kathryn Haddad
Two Arab immigrants on a road trip across the Midwest explore the meaning of friendship, as they struggle with changing cultural norms, on a search for the American dream.
A CLOWN IN EXILE by Mohammed Yahdri with Noah Bremer
Yahdri's naive tragic clown goes on a journey to overcome his sense of cultural inferiority. After searching the world for a place to call home, he discovers that his dreams sit on the wings of a paper plane.
IN ALGERIA THEY KNOW MY NAME by Taous Claire Khazem (working title)
This comedic one-woman show investigates cross-cultural marriage and living beyond your comfort zone (with the in-laws!).
In addition, Mixed Blood's Alan Page Auditorium will act as home for other great work by Twin Cities theatres:
Mu Performing Arts becomes the resident producing company at Mixed Blood, presenting:
Mu Daiko (Taiko Concert)
November 13-16, 2014
January 29-February 16, 2015
May 28-June 21, 2015
The Minnesota Fringe Festival
58 performances of eleven productions in ten days
July 31 - August 10, 2014
Walking Shadow Theatre Company (in Association with Mixed Blood):
The Whale by Samuel D. Hunter, directed by Amy Rummenie
November 26-December 21, 2014
St. Paul Conservatory of Performing Arts
Presents J Term Student Production
January 24-25, 2015
Mixed Blood Membership (including Guaranteed Admission to the entire Mixed Blood produced season) is on sale now, with rates as low as $35.
All performances take place in the Alan Page Auditorium in Mixed Blood's historic firehouse theatre, reconfigured to three different relationships between audiences and artists throughout the season. Admission for individual shows can be obtained in two ways: 1) Through Radical Hospitality (now entering its fourth season), admission is FREE on a first come/first served basis starting two hours before every show, or 2) Advanced reservations are available online or by phone for $20 per person (beginning Aug 1, 2014). All performances are captioned with projected supertitles. Patrons with disabilities are eligible for free advanced reservations and free transportation to and from the theatre.
Mixed Blood Theatre invites the global village into its audience and onto its stage for provocative and virtuosic theater. By providing free admission through Radical Hospitality, the company is revolutionizing access and building a truly inclusive audience in its historic firehouse theater in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis. The award-winning Mixed Blood also tours regionally and creates customized productions for the workplace.