Wednesday, October 18, 2017

In The Treetops

A new play
Written and performed by
The Sandbox Theatre, Minneapolis

Not too often (as in never before) have I had the opportunity to see the life of Wanda Gág, artist and author and personal inspiration, portrayed in any dramatic medium, much less in the living flesh in the intimate confines of a small theater. The Sandbox Theatre troupe has been creating dramatic events for several years now, this ode to Wanda is their latest.

The play opens with the adult Wanda, in her studio at All Creation, looking back at her childhood and the games and stories she played with her family to keep it together after the death of her father. For a show aimed at children (there is a lot of prancing and childish hi-jinks) it has an element of despair haunting it: the very effective shadow plays of Wanda’s parents on a back-lit scrim are dreams that still haunt the adult Wanda.

Almost any play written by a troupe will have problems with focus and story line: this effort, with its shifting scenes and minimally defined characters, is no exception. A little better exposition would have helped a great deal. The music, always the hardest thing to get right, is somewhat diffuse as well, although tasteful. The acting is good, adults portraying children are always a stretch, but usually better than children playing children. Kristina Fjellman as Wanda is almost too happy and too nice for the role, the real Wanda suffered immensely, a suffering that is only hinted at here.

I saw the final performance at the Open Eye Figure Theatre although there will additional shows at the Germanic-American center toward the end of the month.

The Shoebox Theatre, Image by Matthew Glover

By Professor Batty


Anonymous Shoshanah said...

OMG I wish I could see that! Sounds fun.

Blogger Professor Batty said...

It was fun, it showed a lot of her life with her siblings when they were young.

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