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Gremlin Theatre has turned lemons into lemonade for a production of "A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur." The small company had to shut down its run of the Tennessee Williams play last week at a St. Paul house rented from St. Clement's Episcopal church. Turns out the occupancy status of the house did not allow a theatrical production and negotiations with the city proved futile.
However, the show will go on, at Open Eye Figure Theatre in Minneapolis. Susan Haas, Open Eye's producing artistic director, offered Peter Hansen's company the use of an apartment space that is in the same building as Open Eye's theater. Hansen said the room, which Haas and Michael Sommers use as a workshop studio, will work perfectly. There's even a working kitchen in the back.
Jef Hall-Flavin directed the show, with a cast of Suzanne Warmanen, Sara Richardson, Jane Froiland and Noe Tallen. "Creve Coeur" is a late work from Williams that re-explores many of the themes of earlier plays. It's a one-act set in 1930's St. Louis.Hall-Flavin's production will move to the Williams festival in Provincetown, Mass., in September.
Gremlin's production opens at 7:30 Thursday and runs through the weekend (4 p.m. Sunday). The second week's performances run Wednesday through Sunday, with the same curtain times.
Go to gremlin-theatre.org for more information.
There were no lights on in the house and nary a soul walking up the steps. A handwritten note on the door confirmed our suspicions: the performance had been canceled because of "Unforeseen Circumstances." Oh well, I hadn't had the pleasure of driving on St. Paul's city streets this winter so the trip was well worth the disappointment.
Gremlin's artistic director, Peter Hansen, said Friday morning that Gremlin found out that the "occupancy and the legal status of the Blue house were not what we believed them to be when we rented the facility from St. Clement's."
Hansen said several days of negotiations with the city of St. Paul and St. Clement's failed to resolve the problem. Gremlin has suspended all ticket sales for the production, which is still targeted to bow at the Tennessee Williams Festival next fall in Provincetown, Mass. Jef Hall-Flavin directed the short late-career piece.
Gremlin is still mulling options for a Twin Cities production before that time. Hansen said in an email Friday morning that "I have never experienced anything like this." Gotta feel sorry Peter, one of the truly nice guys in Twin Cities theater. He's currently performing as C.S. Lewis in "Freud's Last Session" at the Guthrie studio. It might have been tough Thursday night keeping focused on that while Gremlin had to cancel its opening. Just to make absolutely clear, this event has no impact on the Guthrie production.
The Independent Filmmaker Project Minnesota, a fixture on St. Paul’s western border since 2005, will soon be packing up for a move.
Seeking a new headquarters with lower rent than its current location, the media arts center will soon announce a new address. The current leased space at 2446 University Av. W. in St. Paul, a 7,500-square-foot site filled with spacious offices, “is no longer meeting our needs,” IFP Minnesota Executive Director Andrew Peterson announced Thursday. While he emphasized that “IFP MN is on strong financial footing,” a less costly home base “is crucial to future stability and success.”
IFP was founded in 1987 when a group of Minnesota filmmakers got together to create a Sundance-bound feature, “Patti Rocks,” and to encourage local filmmakers to create projects outside the studio system.
Economizing on rent will help the organization, which administers several McKnight grants, direct its resources to its core mission. “All non-profits need to be responsible with their budgets and weight spending toward programming, rather than rent,” Peterson said. In recent years, IFP Minnesota has tightened its belt with staff salary cuts.
IFP Minnesota's current space, which includes gallery space, administrative offices and photo darkrooms, opened a decade ago the help of many community leaders and funders to serve the independent film and video community. The new location will allow space and reallocated resources for expanded youth workshops, new film and video courses, additional professional development, and more media artist fellowships, as well as other events and exhibitions.
Hatcher wrote the play about a school project when he was 11 years in Steubenville, Ohio. He adapted, directed and performed Shakespeare’s drama for his fifth-grade class – and it turned out to be his first hit. He attempts to recapture the heady and naïve optimism of youth in the show.
Hatcher has had a few other successes since. Winner of the 2013 Ivey Lifetime Achievement Award, he has contributed dozens of plays to the Twin Cities theater community (well, not contributed as in “gave;” he got paid for the work). He’s also written a few screenplays, including “Casanova” and “The Duchess.”
The one-man show is Hatcher retelling the memories of the event that launched him on his career.
Barkhad Abdi may have found the follow-up to his feature film debut, "Captain Phillips."
The Minneapolis Oscar nominee is reportedly in negotiations to star as a South African marathon champion in the historical drama "The Place That Hits The Sun."
The movie is a biography of legendary Zulu distance runner Willie Mtolo, and his friendship with Ray de Vries, a white bar owner. Their unlikely relationship transcended South Africa's apartheid policy of racial separation.
Before 1991 Mtolo and other South African runners were not allowed to compete internationally because of sanctions resulting from its apartheid policies. Mtolo won the 1992 New York Marathon, outdistancing his rivals and running alone the final 3.2 miles.
Producer Noel Pearson (of the Oscar-nominated Daniel Day-Lewis drama "My Left Foot") is developing the project for his Ferndale Films.
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