Attack ads, suggestions for creativity, new works, auditions and more

by Levi Weinhagen • Oct. 22

News and notes |

Hiya Lords and Ladies of the MN Performing Arts world-

I hope you had a good weekend.

As awful as the bigotry-based "vote yes on the marriage amendment" television commercials currently running are, is everyone finding the local campaign ad wars as amusing as I am? There’s a deep well of absurdity in every commercial. I’ve been particularly enjoying the Rick Nolan versus Chip Kravaack ad battle.

The Kravaack and Nolan ads have everything; silly sound effects, poorly edited-in special effects, a vague lack of focus, and, probably most importantly, a foreboding voice-over. I want to hire voice-over actors with political ad experience to get me out of doing things I don’t want to do by using that foreboding voice to describe why those things are a bad idea.

As I watched these advertisements I couldn’t help but think about what it would look like if local theaters competed for audiences by putting out negative ads about other theaters. Would Mixed Blood pull old misleading quotes and use slowed-down music to try and take down The Jungle’s production of Pinter’s ‘The Birthday Party?’ How many times would James Sewell ballet use the “boi-yoi-yoi-yoing” sound effect to turn audiences against the Guthrie’s ‘As You Like It?’

There’s a solid chance that I’ll be making an attack ad against my own next production, just for my own enjoyment.


A while back, Fast Company magazine ran an article called 4 Lessons in Creativity from John Cleese.

John Cleese is most famous for being a part of Monty Python but he’s made a ton of other really funny, really interesting things. The article is a recap of a talk Cleese gave at the Cannes International festival of Creativity.

In it he shares some helpful insights and reminders such as, “We can’t control our unconscious but we can look to how we can create the circumstance in which it becomes easier for us to work with our unconscious.”

Worth a few minutes perusal if you can make the time.


New Work

We try to feature new works happening about town. Here are some.

"Engaged" is a new play written by Gemma Irish and produced by the new company BOOM! theater. In describing this show the producers say, “friends new and old are pulled into the fray, insults and food get thrown, and the very institution of marriage is called into question as these two men fight for the right to love who they love.”

"Meronymy" is a new play written by Rachel Jendrzejewski and produced by Red Eye theater. The show has been described by its producers as a “kinesthetic, kaleidoscopic, live audiovisual performance portrait of memory in the Information Age.”

Plus, on October 27th Open Eye Figure Theatre is presenting their
Full Moon Puppet Show. This show serves as a time and place when newcomers to the figure theater form can perform for the first time and veterans can try out new ideas.


Did you guys know Off-Leash Area is bringing their show “Psst!” to the Cowles Center this coming June?

They’ve got a Kickstarter campaign going to fund the production and marketing costs and with less than a week left to make their goal they’re only about one third of the way there.

I didn’t get to see previous productions of “Psst!” and think it would be exciting to see it at the Cowles Center. If you feel the same and are able, now looks like the time to donate.


There’s a bunch of new auditions and jobs up on our classifieds section.

You could help make Narnia, belt out Damn Yankees tunes, learn a new accent or get a job at the Playwrights’ Center.


That’s a few things going down around town.

Hope you get as good a week as you give



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