LWest Bank Theaters

Live theater, unlike other fiscally light winter fun (i.e., sleeping and nose picking), is not free and can be taxing on pocketbooks.

Yet, a not-so-famous proverb once stated, “When words are many, sin is not absent, and he who holds his tongue is no fun and doesn’t get to the theater much.”

For this reason, let it be known that just beyond the shoals of the Mississippi and its rocky escarpment lies a minefield of theatrical possibilities. The University’s West Bank offers cerebrally drained students experimental, dance and classical theater, all in a two-mile radius.

Indeed, sobering soliloquies and doggerel, even if they cannot change one’s financial luck, enrich your word bank. And since linguistic skills are crucial at the University, why not pick up some woolly verbiage to combat that professorial pedantry this spring?

Mixed Blood Theatre

The Mixed Blood Theatre Company is not a cult, it just sounds like it could be one.

Instead, Mixed Blood focuses its creative energy on producing culturally themed pieces.

Risk taking is often a factor in selecting their productions. Take, for example, their last nontraditional production, “Sweet Nothing in My Ear.” The American Sign Language drama tells the story of a deaf family’s struggle in a community much like ours, in which deafness is viewed as a disability.

While more risque filmgoers might combat occasional on-screen translations, live theater tends to lack the film subtitle equivalent. It was impressive to find interpreters on stage translating the actors’ sign language for the audience. Talk about nontraditional.

Indeed, Mixed Blood’s commitment to cultural, racial and educational themes is what propels their theater away from entertainment value into the realm of social action and change.

With this in mind, Mixed Blood’s newest production promises to be a thriller.

“Topdog/Underdog” is a drama about the sibling rivalry between two street hustlers. The older brother, Lincoln, is a card shark while his younger brother is just your run-of-the-mill shark. Playwright Suzan-Lori Parks was the first black woman to win a Pulitzer Prize in drama for her play. Included in the “Topdog/Underdog” cast is Thomas W. Jones II, playing Lincoln, a resident artist and frequent cast member in Mixed Blood productions.

Besides, Mixed Blood Theater is housed in a 19th-century remodeled firehouse. That should be reason enough to go.

University Theatre

Where have you been? If you have not heard about this year’s police lineup of anti-heros appearing on campus, then you gots to get edumacated dawg!

Every year the University Theatre offers a range of diverse theatrical productions from dance and experimental to classical genres. With the bevy of calendar events listed in the theatre and dance departments’ pamphlet, there is no excuse for boredom. Why leave campus when every weekend can be dramatic?

A main focus of University Theatre is its determination to educate through student-centered productions. Professors, resident artists, and theater and music students often collaborate on works, pushing the limitations of “the known.”

The University Mainstage production of “Macbeth” is sure to paint a darker picture of your already dark winter landscape.

Any axis of evil has nothing on Macbeth’s homicidal tendencies. Polished by Alesandra Wolska’s direction, “Macbeth” plumbs the depths of an existential universe where action is futile and bloodlust reigns.

Southern Theatre

The Southern Theatre does it all for local artists.

The productions they choose to feature promote awareness and support for the arts community in the Twin Cities.

Like Mixed Blood, they tend to cater to the non-traditionalist, but their performances are usually steeped in dance and music. If you are a visually and aurally-bent person searching for something different, this is the place to start.

Then again, if you are just looking for a venue to present that pretty piece of poetry you dictate to the wall at home, look no further than Saturday nights.

All the trimmings of the one-man show are welcomed at “Balls,” the Southern Theatre’s weekly cabaret. “Balls” is not censored within the parameters of public decency, and the pizza party following the performance is just so cool.