You’ve seen “Birdman,” or heard about it, right?
“H2O,” a play by Louisville’s Jane Martin, was developed about the same time as that Oscar-winning 2014 film, and has sort of the same setup. A Hollywood actor gets rich enough playing a superhero that he intentionally goes to Broadway to play “Hamlet.”
“Yeah, I’ve heard that, but I haven’t seen the movie,” said Peter Hansen, whose Gremlin Theatre is producing “H2O” at the Minneapolis Theatre Garage, with a Friday opening.
Hansen is also playing the lead role, directed by longtime Gremlin friend Ellen Fenster. Hansen worked for her to good success in “Rocket to the Moon,” one of 2014’s best local productions.
In “H2O,” Hansen will play a rich actor who feels empty. His life is in chaos, and he seeks to be taken seriously in “Hamlet.” He auditions (and casts) a devout Christian for the role of Ophelia. Her moral and philosophical certitude and sense of calm appeal to him.
The play had its premiere last year at the Contemporary American Theater Festival (CATF). That production’s director, Jon Jory, has said the play is something of a “great books” course, with lessons in Shakespeare and the Bible.
Ashley Rose Montondo, just seen in “The Crucible” at the Guthrie, plays the woman, a role that Jory said should not satirize faith.
“She provides structure for him,” Jory said in a video for CATF.
Hansen said Mixed Blood’s Jack Reuler steered the play Gremlin’s way. It’s newer, a two-hander, 90 minutes long and has a gritty story — the kind of stuff Hansen likes to do with Gremlin.
“It’s a nice coup for us,” he said. “It’s a small-cast, actor-driven play.”
7:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat., Thu. Ends June 27. Minneapolis Theatre Garage, 711 W. Franklin Av., Mpls. $22-$30. 1-888-71-842-5387 or www.gremlin-theatre.org
Red Eye is in the midst of its New Works 4 Weeks festival. Hayley Finn, associate artistic director at the Playwrights’ Center, has created a piece that mixes performance and audio broadcasts.
In “Private Party,” the audience will get headphones that channel the inner thoughts of a person in the “midst of a gallery opening.” The piece erases some of the distance between performance and audience as we mingle through an art installation. Among the performers are Maggie Bearmon Pistner and Skyler Nowinski. Sound designer Andrew Lee Dolan and audio engineer Peter Morrow collaborated with Finn on constructing the piece.
8 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 7 p.m. Sun. Red Eye, 15 W. 14th St., Mpls. $8-$15. 621-870-0309 or www.redeyetheater.org
‘Winds of Change’
Michael Matthew Ferrell and Jason Hansen have been putting their senior citizen troupe, Alive & Kickin, through some steps and songs for a new performance at the Bloomington Center for the Arts. The company has 28 members from ages 65 to 91.
“Winds of Change” blends history and storytelling as several cast members tell their stories between musical selections that range from Lady Gaga to Cole Porter. If you have not seen this bunch, it’s worth the effort. They’re sort of inspiring, and Ferrell pushes them to be their best.
7:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 2 p.m. Sun. and Thu. Ends June 14. 1800 W. Old Shakopee Rd., Bloomington. $26-$29. 952-563-8575 or aliveandkickinmn.org