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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.
Kia Corthron, a playwright of lyrical language and hard subjects who has been associated with the Children's Theatre and Penumbra in the Twin Cities, has won a Windham Campbell Prize, Yale University announced on Friday.
The honor, administered by the university, comes with a $150,000 purse.
Corthron, a writer who uses fierce and lyrical language to tackle tough subjects, is best known for "Breath, Boom," "The Venus de Milo is Armed" and "Splash Hatch on the E Going Down," a play about environmental degradation.
She also has written for the television shows "The Wire" and "The Jury."
Corthron wrote "Snapshot Silhouettes" for the Children's Theatre, a drama about tensions between African-American and Somali students that played in 2004.
Corthron also has been commissioned by the Guthrie Theater.
The playwright, who is American, is one of eight writers named as winners of the Windham Campbell Prize, which awarded a total of $1.2 million Friday.
The others are dramatists Sam Holcroft of Britain and Noëlle Janaczewska of Australia; fiction writers Nadeem Aslam of Pakistan, Jim Crace of the United Kingdom and Aminatta Forna of Sierra Leone; and nonfiction writers Pankaj Mishra of India and John Vaillant, who is Canadian-American.
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.
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.
Attention Tom Hiddleston fans! If you can't wait for Loki's next appearance in the Marvel universe, maybe some live theater will tide you over. He stars as the noble yet reckless general fighting a private war between personal integrity and popular acclaim in the National Theatre Live production of Shakespeare's Roman epic "Coriolanus." The performance, recorded live in late January, shows at 11:00am on Sunday, March 9th at the Edina Cinema.
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