Mixed Blood Theater performs for first-year Carlson students

Kelly Hildebrandt

The Mixed Blood Theater packed a full house on the West Bank Wednesday as it showed “MBA Mission Impossible” for Carlson School of Management first-year MBA students.
The play was written by Syl Jones, a National Endowments for the Arts Playwright Fellow in Theater, in collaboration with the Carlson School of Management, and Mixed Blood’s EnterTRaining program.
The program uses theater and comedy to discuss issues like diversity and disability that occur in the workplace. The play included a discussion afterward. “We did extensive research before we did this play,” Jones said. “We wanted to hit the stereotypes.”
This is the second year CSOM has used the play to discuss diversity and teamwork with first-year MBA students.
“It’s been a real successful part of their orientation,” said Mixed Blood Theater member Jody Bartl.
“A good percentage of their work is a grade that’s based on their teamwork,” Bartl said referring to the MBA program, adding that it gives students an idea about what the business world is like.
“It helps to kind of diffuse some of the hot-button topics,” said Verna Elaine Munson, the program associate for the MBA program. “It really reaches out and grabs you at different levels.”
The play adopted a “Mission Impossible” theme while introducing diverse characters like an older mother, a white male, and a Jewish African-American who hates the word “bro.”
These characters are forced to work together and recognize each other’s differences through a series of projects.
The team gets to know each other through a game show called “What’s my Minority?” and the over-worked mother realizes she can’t take the pressure while singing “Carlson School Drop-out.”
Following the play, Jones hosted a discussion that prompted students to talk about diversity and their reaction to the play.
“I was thinking they are really beating us over the head with these stereotypes,” said John Hoven, a 30-year-old first-year MBA student.
“Some of us have to sacrifice to be accepted,” Jones said during the discussion, later asking the question, “Can he (a student) be successful at the Carlson School of Management as an individual?”
“For me it is sacrificing personality to conform to swim with the sharks,” Hoven said.
EnterTRaining was created in 1990 by Jones and Jack Reuler, the founder and artistic director of Mixed Blood Theater. They have performed plays for Honeywell Inc., Mayo Clinic and the City of Minneapolis.