Art, sports and gender issues merge as Mixed Blood Theatre kicks off its eclectic 2014-15 season.
The Minneapolis playhouse will stage Andrew Hinderaker’s “Colossal,” a highly athletic, football-themed drama performed by 24 male actors in four 15-minute “quarters.” It centers on a once-promising star football player whose spinal-cord injury affects both his pro prospects and his relationship with the teammate with whom he’s in love. Transgender director Will Davis stages a play that’s part of a rolling national premiere. Toby Forest, a quadriplegic actor from Los Angeles, leads a cast that includes Stephen Yoakam and Ansa Akyea (Oct. 10-Nov. 9).
Taylor Mac, the Obie-winning New York playwright and drag performer, will do the second production of his provocatively absurd comedy, “Hir.” The play is about a returning Afghan soldier who finds that the sister he left has become his transgender brother. Sally Wingert has been cast as the soldier’s mother in the production, to be directed by Niegel Smith (Feb. 27-March 22, 2015).
“LGBTQI characters, artists and themes permeate the year,” said Jack Reuler, longtime artistic director at Mixed Blood, “as do themes of immigration and the face of the new America.”
Katori Hall, who wrote the widely produced drama, “The Mountaintop,” will premiere her play “Pussy Valley.” It orbits the lives of a quartet of strippers in a Mississippi club (April 17-May 10, 2015).
Mixed Blood also will do a series of plays about Africans and Muslims in its neighborhood-centered “55454” series. Yussef El Guindi’s “Pilgrims Musa and Sheri in the New World” is a comedy about a Somali immigrant who falls in love with a non-Muslim American woman (Jan. 17-19, 2015). Warren Bowles’ “African America” is a play for young audiences about the variety of African languages and cultures (Feb. 7-9, 2015). Seema Sueko’s “Hijab Tube” concerns a young Muslim-American woman’s struggles with issues of faith and identity (April 25-27, 2015). Aditi Kapil will direct the premiere of Dean Poynor’s “Young Negress Stepping Out of the River at Dawn,” about Rwandan exiles in America, starring L.A.-based actor Owiso Odera (May 16-18, 2015).
Mixed Blood concludes its season with a festival of new Arab writing next June and July, including Kathryn Haddad’s “Safari,” Mohamed Yabdri’s “A Clown in Exile,” and Taous Claire Khazem’s “In Algeria They Know My Name.”
During the season, Mixed Blood will host shows by other Twin Cities companies, including Mu Performing Arts, Walking Shadow and the Fringe Festival.
While Mixed Blood has a free rush line, seats can be guaranteed with a paid membership that starts at $35. 612-338-6131 and mixedblood.com.
Rohan Preston • 612-673-4390