The Southern takes on experimental theater with “New Breed”

“Minneapolis New Breed” offers a foothold for beginning Twin Cities theater companies.

John Sand

âÄúMinneapolis New BreedâÄù WHERE: The Southern Theater, 1420 Washington Ave. S. WHEN: Feb. 25 âÄì 28 TICKETS: $18 The lines between dance and theater seem to have been set in stone long ago. The strict divisive criteria between forms of movement and types of story-telling usually prevent newer experimental production groups from getting a foothold in the theatrical Twin Cities area. With âÄúMinneapolis New Breed,âÄù The Southern Theater is breaking down a few of the barriers to success and celebrating a new type of theater-dance synergy. âÄúMinneapolis New BreedâÄù is a big shot for three small performing companies, Lamb Lays with Lion, Mad King Thomas and SuperGroup. According to Jeremey Chatterton, artistic director of performance group Lamb Lays with Lion, his generation of trained performers is underrepresented in this community, but bigger theaters are starting to open their minds and doors to new programming. A chance at performing in a full-sized theater like The Southern is something for groups like these to take advantage of, as opportunities like this donâÄôt come around often. Most beginning companies, like Lamb Lays with Lion, which started two and a half years ago, are usually relegated to smaller venues and sometimes even basements. âÄúInstead of risking giving each of us our own show, itâÄôs a nice variety evening of three well-crafted productions,âÄù Chatterton said, âÄúEven though they might not directly talk to each other, we are coming from the same generation.âÄù This generation is characterized by new forms of technology that can blur the lines between genres of production. ChattertonâÄôs company is working this time with Anton ChekovâÄôs âÄúThe SeagullâÄù via renowned English Director Katie MitchellâÄôs production notes. Chatterton reads the notes aloud while two separate groups of actors carry out the scenes. Breaking the illusion of the narrative by introducing its source material can result in fragmentation, but thatâÄôs the intention. The chaos reflects Lamb Lays with LionâÄôs contemporary deconstructive approach to classical theater. âÄúMy actors even get really drunk halfway through the second half,âÄù Chatterton added, âÄúbut, you know, they had to work hard before I let them start drinking.âÄù SuperGroup performer and Co-Artistic Director Erin Search-Wells was in charge of text design for what she calls a âÄúcontemporary musicalâÄù based on a variety of meshed conversations and sketch comedies. The fledgling dance-theater group consists of four members each given one role: music/sound, movement, text and concept design. Each person writes their own 40 minute section independently. These scores are then blended into a single show. So what new terminology will form to discuss these âÄúnew breedsâÄù of theater? What will the genres be called? Witness the kinetic, physical deconstructed madness to find out.