Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Yes, they can!

Minneapolis, Minnesota

When everything in the world seems to be going wrong, it is easy to overlook the things that are going right.

Things will be going very right for the four artistic co-directors of Live Action Set when they head to Campinas, Brazil, Jan. 27, for three weeks of study, collaboration, and preparation for their debut at the Guthrie Theater in June.
The directors, Noah Bremer, Megan Odell, Galen Treuer, and Vanessa Voskuil, will study together in week-long workshops with the collaborative, physical theater artists of Lume Teatro, located in the Barão Geraldo district of Campinas.

Although the trip was not planned for the middle of Minnesota’s most biting winter in years, none of the quartet are complaining about the prospect of Campinas’ tropical climate and temperatures in the 80s and 90s. Their timing also will allow them to participate in Brazil’s Carnaval, ending on the eve of Ash Wednesday, Feb. 24.

The travelers see the trip as a rare opportunity for themselves as individual artists and as an organization. "The four of us have never had the opportunity to train together, to focus on growing, and learning a shared performance vocabulary,” said Treuer.

“We are very much looking forward to spending some focused time away, studying, and doing some research for our next performance at the Guthrie Theater."

With a population exceeding one million, Campinas is a city and county in the state of São Paulo on Brazil’s southeastern coast. It hosts an international business presence by the likes of IBM, Motorola, Nortel, Compaq, 3M, Texas Instruments, and Honda, among many others.

During two decades, the Lume company has become a global magnet for theater and dance artists interested in studying clown, Butoh, Noh, Kabuki, and other styles within an atmosphere of collaboration and exchange. In addition to its workshops, the company creates and performs original productions, touring with them to more than 20 countries to-date.

The Live Action Set artists will devote four hours daily to classes, followed by hours of thematic, physical, and language research needed to develop their latest original production, “My Father’s Bookshelf.”

“My Father’s Bookshelf” is a new work about dementia, neuroscience, and the mortality of families. This original play is a mix of family drama and gentle humor, interlaced with a neuroscientist’s passionate lecture on Alzheimer's.

It will be the company’s 13th production since the four artistic directors began creating ensemble-driven performances in 2003. Their work has been a favorite of Fringe Festival audiences and others at several Twin Cities venues.

The Brazilian adventure is supported by a Travel & Study Grant from the Jerome Foundation and additional, individual fundraising. Live Action Set’s artists will share their experience with other Minnesota artists in a two-day workshop in Minneapolis, Mar. 21-22.

[Related Minnesota Mist post.]

My Father’s Bookshelf will be presented in the Guthrie’s Dowling Studio, 818 S. 2nd Street, Minneapolis, June 18-28. Single tickets are priced from $18 to $30, with opening night seats at $34. Tickets are on sale through the Guthrie Box Office at 612.377.2224, toll-free 877.44.STAGE, and online at

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