Next week we’ll be treated to The Walworth Farce by Ireland’s Druid Theater. Minneapolis is on the front end of a 209-performance, 22-city, 6-country tour of the world of a new play that is apparently “a blend of the hilarious and horrifying.” It has received all kinds of great press and maybe more importantly played to sold out houses since coming onto the international scene at the 2007 Edinburgh Festival.
I’m excited to see this show for a number of reasons, but I’m also intrigued to see a what a new play that has been broadly successful. It’s no secret that live performance is having a little trouble competing in a super-saturated entertainment market and a troubled economy.
Why am I excited? For starters last spring the Walker presented three fantastic British performances that appeared at the 2007 Edinburgh Fringe Festival: England, Ape, and Story of a Rabbit. I missed England and was chastised for it by my friends. Ape and Story of a Rabbit were delightfully funny as an audience member and challenging as an artist. They challenged me to continue pushing for humanity and clarity of communication even as my work pushes against theatrical assumptions.
Another reason I’m excited is because we have a thriving theater community in the Twin Cities that is consistently producing funny, human, challenging, outlandish work: The Bedlam, Jon Ferguson Theater, Sandbox, Four Humors, Three Stix, Walking Shadow, Red Eye Collaborations, and even my own Live Action Set. Seeing a new play in the same tradition tour the world is inspiring and gives international context for our work. A particularly successful play like this might also help audiences bridge the gap between the Guthrie and the Bedlam.
So what will The Walworth Farce be? It has more institutional backing than any of its British predecessors (Druid Theatre is an established institution in Galway, Farce was presented by the National Theatre in London and by Traverse Theatre – one of the best venues in Edinburgh), and from this youtube clip it looks more like British TV than the others:[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2huVAv_LayY&feature=channel[/youtube]
As we roll unstoppably towards the impending winter, I’m ready to see something funny and human, maybe a little ridiculous. Are you? If not, check out the Druid website. They make a pretty good case for why The Walworth Farce is special:
Or if you’re wanting a review, try the NY Times: