The fruits of our labors

by Mo Perry • Jan. 15

News and notes |

Last week it was announced that two Minneapolis theater companies--Mixed Blood Theater and Ten Thousand Things--are among the recipients of a Mellon Foundation grant that will allow both theaters to add a full-time playwright to their staffs for the next three years. Minneapolis is the only city outside of New York to have two companies on the recipient list.

Qui Nguyen, whose play War is F**cking Awesome just had a workshop and staged reading at The Playwright’s Center, will be joining Mixed Blood Theater, and Kira Obolensky will join Ten Thousand Things, which has produced two of her scripts (Raskol and Vasa Lisa) in the past few years. Congratulations to both theaters and both playwrights!

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This is a lovely article in the New York Times about Reed Birney, a New York actor whose long career of disappointments and struggles has finally given way to a series of opportunities and successes that he says make him feel like “the poster boy for perseverance.” It’s the theatrical equivalent to that old story about Michael Jordan being cut from his high school basketball team--a heartening example of what can come to those who keep plugging away in the face of disappointment and discouragement.

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Speaking of long, slow, steady climbs up the career ladder and under-recognized talent, I was disappointed to see that John Hawkes (who hails from Alexandria, Minnesota) didn’t get an Oscar nomination last week in the Best Actor category for his work in The Sessions. It’s hard to feel too sorry for a working actor who makes a good living doing what he loves, but then, I was never able to enjoy watching the Super Bowl either, because I always felt such overwhelming pity for the members of the losing team. Also, I don’t understand football.

Anyway, here’s a fun little blog on others who were “snubbed” this year. Were you disappointed at any of these omissions, or others? Who are you rooting for?

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The Minnesota State Arts Board announced the recipients of their 2013 Artist Initiative grants, which provide funds “for artists at all stages of their careers, to support artistic development, nurture artistic creativity, and recognize the contributions individual artists make to the creative environment of the state of Minnesota.”

The grants are awarded to artists in disciplines ranging from dance to poetry to theater. The list of theater recipients includes some familiar names (such as Peter Rothstein and Amy Rummenie), and some more unfamiliar. The full list is here, along with descriptions of how the recipients plan to use the funds. Another reminder of all the very cool work that’s going on in the Twin Cities all the time. Congratulations to all the artists who received a grant!