The Love (Show)boat promises something for everyone

The student-run production of “Triumph of Love” will be premiering this Friday.

by Raghav Mehta

WHAT: âÄúTriumph of LoveâÄù by Pierre Marivaux WHEN: June 18 âÄì August 28 WHERE: The Minnesota Centennial Showboat, 330 21st Ave. S. Sitting quietly on St. PaulâÄôs riverfront, the Centennial Showboat houses an illustrious 225-seat theater that has for more than five decades attracted a disparate audience that includes families, senior citizens and students. Now in its 52nd year, the University of Minnesota Centennial Showboat Theater is ready to officially kick off its summer this Friday with the premiere of Pierre MarivauxâÄôs 17th-century comedy, âÄúTriumph of Love.âÄù Besides taking place aboard a boat, whatâÄôs perhaps the most unique thing about the Centennial Showboat is that itâÄôs a student-run operation that allows aspiring actors from the University of MinnesotaâÄôs theater department to participate in an intensive 10-week production. âÄúItâÄôs basically a full-time job. There are eight shows a week, so we donâÄôt get much time do much else,âÄù said third-year acting major Alex Brightwell. The showboat has been running strong since its first season in 1958, when performances took place on a refurbished military workhorse. The original boat was destroyed in a welding fire in 2000 and has since been replicated. This yearâÄôs play is based on James MagruderâÄôs adaptation of âÄúTriumph of Love,âÄù and follows the disenchanted Spartan princess Leonide (Breana Jarvis ), who is on a mission to return her crown to its respected owner âÄî the young, bespectacled scholar Agis (Alex Brightwell). But Agis is raised to distrust women and the princess is forced to disguise herself as a man in order to win his trust. What ensues is an eccentric tale that delivers accomplished performances and cutesy ragtime jingles that echo the spirit of early twentieth century vaudeville theater. At the helm is widely respected Twin Cities-based director Peter Rothstein, who is known for his contributions to the Guthrie Theater as well as being the co-founder and artistic director of Theater Latté Da. âÄúItâÄôs a unique experience to work with him,âÄù said theater graduate Dustin Bronson . âÄúHe went from a bunch of union actors to baby-faced students.âÄù âÄúTriumph of LoveâÄù is premiering Friday night and will be running until the end of August. For the audience, itâÄôs a chance to bask in University theatrical tradition; for the actors, itâÄôs a pretty damn good summer job. âÄúWe get this opportunity to do this fun play and sing and dance all summer, as opposed to my friends who are all, like, working at restaurants and what not,âÄù Brightwell said.