Penumbra Theatre in St Paul announced its next season this morning, which includes trips to the Guthrie and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
In announcing the season Penumbra founder and Artistic Director Lou Bellamy (above) says he chose the season with the idea that everyone is feeling the reverberations of the recession.
"Still, many have shown incredible resolve. To honor this spirit of determination, I've selected plays that celebrate ordinary people showing extraordinary courage when life tests our mettle. Art plays an essential role in trying times: it reminds us of our humanity. The stories this season promise to open our eyes as well as our hearts."
The season opens with the regional premiere of "Sleep Deprivation Chamber" by Adam P. Kennedy and Adrienne Kennedy in September, followed by the popular holiday production of "Black Nativity: Now's the Time" which opens in late November.
The new year begins January 20th with "Julius by Design" by Kara Lee Corthron, a world premiere production directed by Bellamy, followed by "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" by August Wilson. This is the latest show in Penumbra's committment to present all of Wilson's 20th Century cycle, and will be performed at the Guthrie Theatre.
The final show, opening April 21st, is "I Wish You Love" by Dominic Taylor, the second world premiere. It will travel to the Kennedy Center after its St Paul run.
Bellamy encapsulates the plays like this: "'Sleep Deprivation Chamber' is a riveting look at a mother's struggle to save her son. Again "Black Nativity" testifies to the power of faith and family. "Julius by Design" insists upon humanity in the wake of a murder. In Wilson's gritty blues drama "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom," pride is deadly in the face of racism and greed. And finally in I Wish You Love, Nat "King" Cole represents a uniquely American dilemma; how could a dapper and elegant star so endear white audiences and also be required to endure the insult of racial prejudice?"
You can find more details at the Penumbra web site.
And here I thought the Minneapolis Library had the corner on great battles, with its "Which is better: Twilight or Harry Potter?" debate. But no, another great showdown is in the offing this Saturday, with poetry slam teams from both Macalester and the University of Minnesota taking the stage, or in this case, the basement of Dupre Dorm (at Macalester).
Both campuses are sending teams to the College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI) at Emerson College in Boston this April. This weekends national-style competition is meant to raise funds for the trip; admission is $5 at the door.
Doors open at 7pm, with an open-mic at 7:30 and the competition getting underway at 8pm.(1 Comments)
The Nobel Foundation has not confirmed it, but according to the newspaper El Mirador Paraguayo, 29 year old Nestor Amarilla has been nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Amarilla, a native of Paraguay, earned scholarships to Fridley High School and Metropolitan State University after learning English from a Peace Corps volunteer based in his hometown, Coronel Oviedo.
While in the Twin Cities, Amarilla wrote numerous plays. One of those, "Saved by a Poem" he directed in Teatro del Pueblo's 2006 Political Theatre Festival. According to Teatro Del Pueblo, it is that very play, which also goes by the name "Fecha Feliz" ("Happy Date") which earned Amarilla his Nobel nomination.
Based on a true story, "Saved by a Poem" takes place in the countryside of Paraguay in 1975, when General Alfredo Stroessner was in power. In the play, the mother tries to save the life of her only son from dictator Stroessner through a poem.
The list of nominees for a Nobel prize are normally not revealed until fifty years after the award is given, but news of Amarilla's nomination was leaked to the press. The winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature will be announced in October. If Amarilla were to win, he would be its youngest recipient.
Teatro del Pueblo is currently in the second week of its ninth annual Political Theatre Festival, continuing through March 13, 2010.(2 Comments)