Monday, October 26, 2009

WOW - Northern Lights/Southern Cross

The Guthrie presents
An Interact Theater production of
Northern Lights/Southern Cross:Tales from the Other Side of the World
an international collaboration with Australia’s Tutti Ensemble

Now through November 8th, 2009

I had the pleasure of taking in a preview production of this fine piece of theater with my beautiful wife on the one year anniversary of the day that I proposed to her at the Guthrie. I cannot believe how lucky we are to have stumbled upon such a gem.

Rarely am I moved to tears during live theater. It is weird, because I can cry pretty easily during a sappy chick flick, and I love live theater a ton more than that, but it is a rarity for me to get emotional enough to let a tear fall. I can think of a few productions that have done it...

Spring Awakening on Broadway
In the Heights on Broadways
Parade the Musical during its original North American tour
Rent in its latest tour with the original Roger and Mark

Okay....there may be a few more, but for all of the shows I have seen, my point is that it doesn't happen often. However, in Norther Lights/Southern Cross the tears were a-flowin'!

N.L./S.C. is incredibly difficult to describe. It is like nothing I have ever experienced in my life. The play is centered around the story of Kevin Kling, a Twin Cities' storyteller who was in a significant motorcycle accident. His story is at the heart of this piece. Kling plays a character with a very similar story in this production and he does it with amazing tenderness and humor. He is truly a remarkable gift to the Twin Cities.
Playing his wife in the production is Australian, Catherine Campbell. Catherine is a fine example of the collaboration between Minnesota's Interact Center and Australia's Tutti Ensemble. If it weren't for this collaborations, us Minnesotans would have never been exposed to Campbell's grace and amazing storytelling abilities. She brings us through the heartbreak of almost losing a husband with strength and humility.
Did I mention the show had huge influences in Aboriginal and Native American storytelling. Somehow the blend of these two ostracized groups works SO well with Kling's story of recovery. It is hard to explain how it happens, but somehow we are introduced to a multitude of cultural influences in the 75 minute play and not one of them feels out of place. We get didgeridoo, fancy dance, tribal drums, and a gospel choir!!!!
But perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the evening comes from the Interact Center's chorus of actors playing clowns. The Interact Center is a group charged with providing distinct arts opportunities for people with disabilities. The clowns, allow the hyper-fantastic theatrical experience of N.L./S.C. to be rooted in something beautifully human. The moments they are on stage help lift the piece from the stage and into our hearts as audience members.
The bad news...I hear it is selling out quickly! I encourage you to get tickets if you can while they are still available!
Pictures Courtesy of

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