, the popular annual showcase of boundary-crossing performance alternatives, returns to the Southern Theater January 6-30 for a 17th season. A presentation of the Walker Art Center and the Southern Theater, the series opens with Joe, a Walker-commissioned work by theater artist Richard Maxwell that chronicles one man’s life from childhood to old age, told by five actors (January 6-9). Out There continues with the Minnesota debut of the New York City-based spoken word/theater/hip-hop collective Universes performing Slanguage, a collection of vignettes evoking the multi-ethnic street culture of New York (January 13-16); former Minneapolis-based playwright Lisa D’Amour’s OBIE-winning portrayal of Nita & Zita, Romanian sisters who lived and performed their exotic dance/contortion routines among the eccentrics of 1940s New Orleans (January 20-23); and the alt-country music-theater of vocalist Cynthia Hopkins and the six-member band Gloria Deluxe performing Accidental Nostalgia, “an operetta about the pros and cons of amnesia” centered around the tale of a woman who sets out to discover the childhood source of her memory loss (January 27-30).
All performances—at 8 pm Thursday, Fridays, and Saturdays, and 2 pm on Sundays—take place at the Southern Theater, 1420 Washington Avenue South, Minneapolis. Promotional support provided by City Pages. Supported in part with funds from the Bush Foundation. Walker without Walls is made possible by generous support from Target.
The presentations of Slanguage and Nita & Zita are two in a series of programs designed by the National Performance Network (NPN). NPN is an independent organization created by Dance Theater Workshop and is comprised of arts organizations in 40 cities and 25 states. NPN is made possible through major funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Again this year, Out There includes a unique interactive series, Inside Out There, which offers an opportunity to get the inside story from visiting Out There artists and to participate in interactive workshops and demonstrations presented at 2 pm on Saturdays. Sessions are at the Southern Theater and are free with a paid ticket for the performance. Space is limited and the series is expected to fill up early. To reserve a spot, call 612.375.7622. In addition, on each Thursday of the series, Walker members receive half-price tickets and free, informal receptions for artists and audiences take place after the show. Each Friday performance concludes with a post-show talk with the artists.
A complete listing of Out There performances follows.
OUT THERE 17
Copresented by the Walker Art Center and the Southern Theater
Southern Theater, 1420 Washington Avenue South, Minneapolis
Tickets and information: 612.375.7622 (additional discounts may apply)
Thursday, January 6, 8 pm $20 ($10)
Friday-Saturday, January 7-8, 8 pm; Sunday, January 9, 2 pm $20 ($16)
“One of the most gratifyingly original talents in experimental theater.” —The New York Times
Launching Out There with a Walker-commissioned work, Richard Maxwell (Boxing 2000, Out There 2000) presents a touching look at one man’s life, from childhood to old age, told by five actors. His pathologically circular dialogue is boosted by quizzical monologues and off-kilter, Maxwell-penned pop tunes sung by the Joe’s in a surreal lounge set, complete with grand piano and a ceiling of twinkling stars. Poetically deadpan, Joe offers a glimpse into one man’s engagingly ordinary life while encouraging audience members to locate the magic in their own. Copresented with the National Performance Network (NPN). Co-commissioned by Walker Art Center, the Wexner Center, Bite ‘04, and Barbican, London.
Inside Out There
Saturday, January 8, 2 pm
Richard Maxwell, Artistic Director of New York City Players, and members of the cast will hold an open discussion on his unusual methodology and style of writing, directing, and composing music for experimental theater.
Thursday, January 13, 8 pm $20 ($10)
Friday-Saturday, January 14-15, 8 pm; Sunday, January 16, 2 pm $20 ($16)
“Exuberant, insightful . . . a work of heart and soul that distills the essence of [New York] city.” —The New York Times
For their Minnesota debut, the Universes take the stage with their unclassifiable mix of spoken-word, hip-hop, jazz, down-home blues, theater, and street politics. Assembled as 30 vignettes, Slanguage conjures New York City’s multiethnic culture in its finest—and most joyous—moments. The five eclectic personalities creating the Universes’ brand of street theater find their heroes in “Chinese shoes at a Latin house party/Playing spoons to disco toons/With a knish in my left hand/And the blues in my heart.” Copresented with the National Performance Network (NPN). Presented in association with the MN Spoken Word Association.
Inside Out There
Saturday, January 15, 2 pm
Join the artists for a musical and poetic journey while learning how to work as a performative ensemble, Universes style. Participants will engage in writing exercises and hone their performance styles. Bring your pens and your imaginations to this one of a kind experience. Limited to 15 participants.
Nita & Zita
Thursday, January 20, 8 pm $20 ($10)
Friday-Saturday, January 21-22, 8 pm; Sunday, January 23, 2 pm $20 ($16)
“Mr. Interviewer, shat do you want? A moldy story filled with boring facts, or a show?” —Nita
The Southern transforms into a vaudeville-style cabaret with ex-Minneapolis playwright Lisa D’Amour’s OBIE-winning biography of “international dancers” Flora and Piroksa Gellert, Romanian sisters who emigrated in the 1920s and became legends among the eccentrics and outsiders that make up New Orleans’ mystique. Nita & Zita re-creates their oddly charming, idiosyncratic mix of burlesque, contortionism, and pure visual fantasy. Questioning what is truth and what is myth, this surreal cabaret searches for what matters in the personal quest for artistic freedom. Created with Katie Pearl and Kathy Randels. Copresented with the National Performance Network (NPN). Produced by ArtSpot Productions.
Inside Out There
Lisa D’Amour, Kathy Randels, Katie Pearl: And Again
Saturday, January 22, 2 pm
Flora and Piroska Gellert, the real-life sisters who inspired Nita & Zita, are legendary for the obsessive polka dot pattern they painted on every surface of their home. This multidisciplinary workshop examines obsessive repetition in word, image, and gesture. Come examine that impulse as demonstrated by artists such as Henry Darger, Sister Gertrude Morgan, Yayoi Kusma, and the sisters themselves, and uncover your own obsessions in an exploration of multiples, excess, and the desire to do it again. Limited to 20 participants.
Thursday, January 27, 8 pm $20 ($10)
Friday-Saturday, January 28-29, 8 pm; Sunday, January 30, 2 pm $20 ($16)
“Part alt-country, part Lou Reed, part Patti Smith, part performance artist.” —The Washington Post
Tragicomic alt-country music-theater? Of course. This wry tale of intrigue and memories lost and found (and perhaps better suppressed) is by OBIE and Bessie Award–winning singer Cynthia Hopkins and her six-member band Gloria Deluxe. Charming yet disturbing, this piece of personal storytelling revolves around the travels and travails of a woman suffering from severe memory loss and cleverly unfolds through live music, movement, and ingenious videos and sets designed by the Wooster Group’s Jim Findlay and Jeff Sugg. Directed by DJ Mendel and choreographed by Joanna Che Toback.
Inside Out There
Saturday, January 29, 2 pm
Imagine the jump from page to stage with the helpful insight of director-performer Cynthia Hopkins in this 90-minute interactive storytelling workshop. Limited to 15 participants.