A few days ago, Theatre de la Jeune Lune announced that they are closing the doors of their warehouse home forever. Though there is no doubt that the spirit of Jeune Lune will live on in many different ways, the theatrical landscape of the Twin Cities will be different.
Over the years, the Walker co-presented several plays on the Jeune Lune stage. It’s hard to imagine that there could be any playing space that suited those works more perfectly. The company transformed a warehouse building in downtown Minneapolis into a dramatic, versatile playing space with just the right amount of architectural poetry.
One Walker/Jeune Lune co-presntation was Theatre de Complicite’s Street of Crocodiles, a show about the life and death of writer/artist Bruno Schultz. That show played 10 years ago but I can still vividly recall the thrill of watching each performer enter the stage in a new and magical way; one climbed out of a bucket that sat on the floor of the stage catching drips of water, another casually walked down the back wall of the theater, his body parallel with the floor. All the images that followed were equally fantastic and captivating. I was introduced to an entirely new way of storytelling and it completely blew my mind. And the touring show seemed so perfectly suited to the Jeune Lune playing space it’s hard to picture it on any other stage.
Here’s a sampling of some of other the Walker co-presented with Theater de la Jeune Lune:
2000 Tiger Lillies
Now the curtain has officially fallen at Jeune Lune. Though I am sad to see Jeune Lune wane, I know that many of the companies, artists and actors who passed through that space left infused with Jeun Lune’s playful spirit.
I’m reminded of the bit of verse the company borrowed from Bertolt Brecht to create their name:
As the people say, at the moon’s change of phases
The new moon holds for one night long
The old moon in its arms
Now Theatre de la Jeune Lune itself has become the moon that other artists will hold in their arms.
Company members and other collaborators have been launched to many corners of the world. Last summer I watched Vincent Gracieux perform in a tent on the French country-side with Footsbarn Theatre. I have my eye on former Jeune Lune apprentice Paul Thureen who is now part of a New York Company called The Debate Society. Locally, I can still get a fix of exposed brick and visual innovation at Open Eye Figure Theater, founded by frequent Jeune Lune collaborators Michael Sommers and Sue Hass.
I’m glad the Walker was a part of the history of Jeune Lune. With a heart that is both heavy and hopeful, I say farewell to the old moon and look forward to gazing at many new moons.