'Theater: A Sacred Passage'

To know where you're going, you need to know where you've been. At least, that seems to be the thinking behind "Theater: A Sacred Passage," the premiere production of Full Circle Theater.

Rick Shiomi, who retired from Mu Performing Arts in 2014, directs an ensemble of 10 actors that explores the lives and careers of the five Twin Cities artists who make up Full Circle: Shiomi, Martha Johnson, Lara Trujillo, Stephanie Lein Walseth and James Williams.

The narrative describes their comings of age with an intertwining exploration of their cultural and racial identities. Allen Malicsi's Shiomi relates growing up as a banana (yellow on the outside, white on the inside), while Bethany McHugh's Walseth struggles to find a context for her multiracial heritage.

John Stephens, as the young Williams, humorously describes the discombobulation of moving from a predominantly black community in the South to Minnesota. Trujillo (played by herself) laments her lack of connection to her Latino background. Carolyn Pool's Johnson recounts her first experience with yellowface (white actors portraying Asian characters).

"Sacred Passage" features strong performances, particularly by Siddeeqah Shabazz, Song Kim and Marcos Lopez as various family members, and comes alive in the scenes that intersperse the monologues. Often, however, it demonstrates a static quality that belies the richness of the subjects' collective artistic talents. Ultimately, this work feels a little like a first date, with the real relationship yet to come.

(7:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 2 p.m. Sun. Ends Nov. 22; Dreamland Arts, 677 N. Hamline Av., St. Paul; $5-$15, 651-645-5506 or dreamlandarts.com)

Lisa Brock