FARMYARD, by Franz X. Kroetz. Presented at L'il Pony Theatre in St. Paul. A compelling and gritty story of a family's attempts to deal with the unplanned pregnancy of their adolescent retarded daughter. May 1989.
    KATZELMACHER, by Rainer W. Fassbinder. Presented at the L'il Pony Theatre in St. Paul. An exploration of the perpetuation of racism and bigotry in society, set among a group of underemployed youths in a small town. (16mm black & white film and live performance). February 1990.
    TOP GIRLS, by Caryl Churchill. Presented at the People's Center. A highly theatrical, challenging and complex look at the price of power in women's lives throughout history. June 1990.
    QUARTET, by Heiner Muller. Presented at the Southern Theater. Based on the French novel LES LIASONS DANGEREUSES, this daunting work explores games of seduction, betrayal and conquest. October 1990.
    SINCERITY FOREVER,* by Mac Wellman. Presented at Red Eye Collaboration. A scathing and hysterical attack on the veiling of right-wing bigotry and hypocrisy in the name of religion, this highly poetic work confronts questions of obscenity and censorship in American culture. December 1990.
    MIRIAM'S FLOWERS,* by Migdalia Cruz. Presented at the People's Center. A compelling and uncompromising look at a family unraveling in the grief of losing their youngest member. February 1991.
    LUCY LOVES ME,* by Migdalia Cruz. Presented at the People's Center. A black comedy which presents a disturbing exploration of the rage and terror lurking in the isolation of modern urban life. February 1991.
    MEDEA,* by Beverly Smith-Dawson. Presented at the Southern Theater. A multicultural reworking of the Medea myth using music and dance to explore issues of race and gender from a contemporary perspective. November 1991.
    ETTA JENKS, by Marlane Meyer. Presented at the Southern Theater. A chronicle of a young actress' pursuit of dreams of movie stardom, as she is derailed into the pornography industry. June 1992.
    UNDER CONSTRUCTION,* work-in-progress staging of Wendy Knox's adaptation of Heiner Muller's DESCRIPTION OF A PICTURE, EXPLOSION OF A MEMORY, Euripides' ALCESTIS, and the classic Noh-drama KUMASAKA. Presented at the Southern Theater. November 1992.
    MACHINAL, by Sophie Treadwell. Presented at the Southern Theater. A classic example of early American experimentation in the theatre, Treadwell's 1928 Expressionist work was loosely based on a New York tabloid murder case which sent one of the first women in the U.S. to the electric chair. March 1993.
    MAD FOREST, by Caryl Churchill. Presented at the Theatre Garage. An exploration of life in Romania before and after the overthrow of the Ceaucesus, told through live performance, recorded and live video, and projections. October 1993.
    TOTTERING HOUSE (HUOJUVA TALO),* by Maaria Koskiluoma, based on a novel by Maria Jotuni. Presented at the Southern Theater. A compelling unraveling of a young woman's dreams of "happily ever after" in the face of the unrelenting cycle of family violence. (English language premiere) March 1994.
    DESCRIPTION OF A PICTURE, EXPLOSION OF A MEMORY,* based on texts by Heiner Muller, Euripides, and Noh-drama, adapted by Wendy Knox. Performed at the Southern Theater. An exploration of life and death from several cultural perspectives, told through music, movement and performance. November 1994.
    MEASURE FOR MEASURE, by William Shakespeare. Produced at the Southern Theater. This rarely produced "dark comedy," set in a world sometime between 17th century England and 20th century America, confronts the concept of injustice and examines the question of how power changes people. November 1995.
    THE AMERICA PLAY, by Suzan-Lori Parks. A jazz-based, poetic piece, asking questions about the absence of Black stories in mainstream American history. Performed at the Theatre Garage. November 1996.
    THE EDUCATION OF WALTER KAUFMANN, by Kevin Kling. The sometimes charming, sometimes twisted story of a young man's education in the school of life, which explores the various ways in which we learn--by instinct, by intellect, by role model, by experience. Performed at the Southern Theater. March 1997.
    KALEVALA: dream of the salmon maiden,* created by Ruth Mackenzie, directed by Knox, co-presented with the Walker Art Center, Guthrie Theater and the Southern. This evocative weaving of music, movement and theatre, based on the Finnish epic known as the Kalevala, explored questions of self definition, and the relationship between societal demands and individual truths. Southern Theater: July 1997; Guthrie Lab: June 1998.
    ALCHEMY OF DESIRE/DEAD-MAN'S BLUES, by Caridad Svich, Theatre Garage. Set in a world and a time not clearly divided between the living and the dead, where spirits, rituals, and cigars are the stuff of life and death, ALCHEMY OF DESIRE/DEAD-MAN'S BLUES is a poetic journey to the place where desire meets memory, love and loss. Also, LATE NIGHT DESIRE, DEAD-MAN'S CABARET, a rotating late-night showcase of local artists, featuring many and varied responses to the notion "desire." November 1995.
    THE CHEKHOV PROJECT,* by Anton Chekhov and Kira Obolensky, Southern Theater. Linked by the themes of brides and weddings, THE CHEKHOV PROJECT features three short works portraying Chekhov's objective and irreverent observations of the institution of marriage. March 1998.
    AMBIENT LOVE RITES,* by Daniel Alexander Jones. A hole has been ripped into the heart of a community with the murder of a young gay man, which remains unsolved six weeks later. A swirl of mystery and spirits, the piece tracks the journey of the disparate characters who loved the missing one as they move towards healing their heartbreak. Theatre Garage. October 1998.
    FARMYARD,* by Franz X. Kroetz. An all-new staging of Frank's premiere work, presented at the Minneapolis Theatre Garage. May 1999.
    THE THREEPENNY OPERA. Bertolt Brecht & Kurt Weill's musical masterpiece which focuses on the question the link between money and morality. Presented at the Southern Theater. October 1999.
    THE TRESTLE AT POPE LICK CREEK, by Naomi Wallace. Centered on the relationship between two teenagers in 1936, who are looking for a life better than that of their parents, the play focuses on the need for human connection. Presented at the Loring Playhouse. January 2000.
    THE ADVENTURES OF HERCULINA. Kira Obolensky's piece, at the Southern Theater, directed by Artistic Director Wendy Knox. Based on a true story of a hermaphrodite born in France in the 1800's, Herculina's quest for true love ranges from a French convent school to an encounter with Sarah Bernhardt, from the boudoir of a bawdy British prostitute to a sideshow of freaks, and all poetic points in between. November 2000.
    PERFECT PIE, by Judith Thompson. Two women haven’t seen each other since a life-changing incident 20 years ago. In the course of an afternoon when the two meet up again, past and present electrically collide with laughter, tears, mystery, and home-grown wisdom as a buried secret reveals the different paths the women’s lives have taken. March 2001.
ui
  THE RESISTIBLE RISE OF ARTURO UI, by Bertolt Brecht. When an economic slump provides prime conditions for the rise of a small-time thug (strikingly similar to Al Capone) to take over the vegetable trade in 1930's Chicago, a parallel is set up for the story of another thug who is rising to power on the world stage in 1941, Adolf Hitler. UI is a viciously funny "parable play," written but rarely performed in the United States. October 2001.
2001 Self Defense
  SELF DEFENSE, or death of some salesmen, by Carson Keitzer. Seven white men have been found dead along I-95 in Florida. When her girlfriend betrays her, a prostitute is arrested and charged with their murders. She says the men tried to rape her; the police say she's a serial killer. A fascinating and feisty piece of theatre inspired by an actual case, SELF DEFENSE portrays the events leading up to and surrounding the trial of Jo, modeled on the real life character of Aileen Wuornos. Playwrights' Center. February 2001.
William Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew
  TAMING OF THE SHREW, by William Shakespeare. One of Shakespeare’s early works and bawdiest comedies, the play tackles a subject which remains a lightning rod for modern audiences: gender roles. October-November 2002.
2003 Lovesong of Oppenheimer poster   THE LOVE SONG OF J. ROBERT OPPENHEIMER,* by Carson Kreitzer. Presented at The Playwrights’ Center. THE LOVE SONG OF J. ROBERT OPPENHEIMER imagines a spirited conversation, a wrestling match, an argument between Lilith--an archetypal figure in Hebrew mythology (the first woman God created), who was cast out when she couldn’t behave and was replaced by Eve—and J. Robert Oppenheimer, the creator of the atomic bomb, a Jew who was also cast out, losing his security clearance by the U.S. government after he had created the tool they needed to stop Hitler." February 2003.
    THE CRADLE WILL ROCK, by Marc Blitzstein. One of the first pro-union musicals written in this country, THE CRADLE WILL ROCK is set in Steeltown, USA. Mr. Mister, the corporate magnate, has bought up (or paid off) every sector of the community. Through flashback and song, the piece illustrates how each of them sold out, with the exception of Larry Foreman, a union organizer who victoriously organizes the town against the corporation. October 2003.
    SICILIAN NIGHTS, by Jack Zipes. A fascinating and layered work populated with hags, fairies, ogresses, and princesses wrestling with curses. It is a delightful and sometimes naughty epic, which looks at issues of gender and power as it examines how we use stories to control our own lives. March-April 2004.
    FUCKING A, by Suzan-Lori Parks, is a riff on Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel THE SCARLET LETTER. In Parks' highly imaginative, idiosyncratic version, Hester bears a branded "A" on her chest, which, according to the law, must be visible at all times as punishment for her crime of being the mother of a son who steals food. When her son was sent to prison for this crime, she was given the choice of prison herself or remaining free while working at an unsavory profession, that of an abortionist. When there is an escaped convict on the loose, complications develop and the dream of seeing her son transforms into a desperate act of mercy. October 2004.
2005 Women of Troy
  THE WOMEN OF TROY, adapted by Wendy Knox. A company generated adaptation of Euripides' THE TROJAN WOMEN and HECUBA, featuring an original blues-based score composed by Marya Hart. Set on the eve of the fall of the city of Troy, THE WOMEN OF TROY retells the stories provided in Euripides' THE TROJAN WOMEN and HECUBA. THE WOMEN OF TROY explores the impact of war on society, especially women and children, and examines how wartime transforms us into that which we most fear. February-March 2005.
god of hell   THE GOD OF HELL, by Sam Shepard. Set in a Wisconsin farmhouse, Frank and Emma's bucolic lifestyle as dairy farmers is disrupted when they offer cover to Haynes, a long-time friend of Frank's who is on the lam from a mysterious government project involving plutonium. When an unctuous government bureaucrat appears at their farmhouse, questioning their patriotism and knowing far more about them than they would like, their heartland lifestyle is turned into a chilling scene of runaway government. November 2005.
Suzan-Lori Parks' Venus   VENUS, by Suzan-Lori Parks. VENUS is based on the true life of Saartje Baartman, a woman lured from her South African home with the promise of "making a mint" as a dancer. She was then sold into a London freak show and exhibited to a voracious public, fascinated by her anatomy, especially her large posterior. VENUS was directed by Frank Artistic Director Wendy Knox and featured Shá Cage in the role of "the Venus Hottentot." The cast also included Maria Asp, Patrick Bailey, Virginia Burke, Gary Keast, Taous Khazem, Carson Lee, Adia Morris, Dana Munson, Michelle Myers, Jonathan Peterson and Emily Ziimmer. Joel Sass designed the set, costume were by Kathy Kohl, lighting was by Michael Kittel and Michael Croswell designed sound. March-April 2006.
MOTHER COURAGE
  MOTHER COURAGE AND HER CHILDREN, by Bertolt Brecht. Pillsbury A Mill Machine Shop. October-November 2006.
The Exonerated
  THE EXONERATED, by Jessica Blank and Eric Jensen. March 2007.
Martin McDonagh's THE PILLOWMAN
  THE PILLOWMAN, by Martin McDonagh. Directed by Wendy Knox; featuring Aru Shiney Ajay, Maria Asp, Patrick Bailey, Chris Carlson, Jim Lichtscheidl, Grant Richey, Kai Russell, and Luverne Seifert. At the Guthrie. September-October 2007.
Puntilla
  PUNTILA AND HIS HIRED MAN MATTI, by Bertolt Brecht, based on a story by Hella Wuolijoki. Directed by Wendy Knox; featuring Maria Asp, Patrick Bailey, Joe Botten, Tony Brown, Aaron Coker, Celeste Jones, Jonathan Peterson, Jennifer Phillips, Aja Pridgen, Cheryl Willis, and Emily Zimmer. At the City of Minneapolis Public Works yard (26th Street E & Hiawatha Ave, in the Bridge Building). March-April 2008. Download the newsletter
Vinegar Tom
  VINEGAR TOM, by Caryl Churchill, at the Ritz Theatre. Set in England in the 17th century, VINEGAR TOM explores the witchcraft trials of the time. Directed by Wendy Knox, Set Design by Andrea Heilman, Costumes by Kathy Kohl, Lighting by Michael Wangen, Sound by Zach Humes Stage Managed by Kasey Brandt, Spencer Putney and Katie Burger. Featuring Patrick Bailey, Virginia Burke, Dona Werner Freeman, Emily Gunyou Halaas, Katrina Hawley, Christopher Kehoe, Lori Neal, Anika Solveig and Cheryl Willis. Original music composed by Annie Enneking, Marya Hart, George Maurer, Ruth MacKenzie, Willy Murphy and Pablo. Download the newsletter
bog of cats poster
  BY THE BOG OF CATS, By Marina Carr. With a cast that features Virginia Burke, John Catron, Annie Enneking, and Melissa Hart, with Sulia Altenberg, Gabe Angieri, Tony Brown, Christopher Kehoe, Bob Davis, Izzy Rousmaniere, Eric Sharp, Anika Solveig and Cheryl Willis. Set in rural Ireland, By The Bog of Cats mixes the trademark dark humor of the Irish with an uncompromising tale of abandonment and shocking self-sacrifice. Hester Swane (Virginia Burke) is an Irish "tinker," a woman born of gypsies, and tied to the bleak landscape of the bog where she has lived her whole life. Her younger lover, Carthage Kilbride (John Catron), with whom she has a daughter, is on the verge of a marriage to another woman that will bring him land, wealth and respect. Refusing to acknowledge that Carthage could ever leave her, Hester grips more tightly and tragically to the life she believes is rightfully hers. Download the newsletter
bog of cats poster
  PALACE OF THE END, was composed of three monologues, based on factual people and events, whose characters and words are imagined by the playwright. The first was inspired by the media circus around Lynndie England, the Army private who was convicted of torturing Iraqi prisoners; the second was inspired by the well-publicized events surrounding the death of the British weapons inspector David Kelley; the final piece was inspired by the true story of Nehrjas al Saffarh, a well-known member of the Communist party of Iraq and a mother of four, who was tortured by Saddam Hussein’s secret police in the 1970s and died when her home was bombed by the Americans in the first Gulf war. Download the newsletter
metamorphosis
  METAMORPHOSIS, adapted by the company from Franz Kafka's classic novella, takes a new look at the life of Gregor Samsa, a traveling salesman, who wakes one morning to find that he has been transformed into a “monstrous vermin.” Life just isn’t the same after that. Presented at Open Eye Theatre, April 2010. Download the newsletter
eclipsed
  ECLIPSED centers on the lives of five women who are thrown together by the recent civil war in Liberia. Salvaged as chattel from wartime looting, these “wives” of the commanding officer form a hardscrabble alliance and develop their own a hierarchy as they confront questions of survival within their compound. Surprisingly vivacious and often funnier than you would expect, Eclipsed raises thought-provoking questions about power and resistance, solidarity and complicity, as the women hold out for the hope of a brighter destiny. Download the newsletter
santaland diaries
  SANTALAND DIARIES, “Based on David Sedaris’ delightfully acerbic observations of his experience working in Macy’s SantaLand, this hysterical alternative holiday classic entertained as “Crumpet the Elf” recounted his uproarious encounters during the height of holiday merriment.”
cabaret
  CABARET by Kander and Ebb. Set in the “Kit Kat Klub,” a seedy cabaret where an aspiring American writer, Cliff Bradshaw encounters British singer Sally Bowles. As begins to splinter as Hitler rises to power. Presented at the Centennial Showboat, 2011. Download the newsletter
ajax
  AJAX IN IRAQ by Ellen McLaughlin. Populated with Greek gods and contemporary soldiers returning from Iraq, AJAX IN IRAQ is a mash-up of Sophocles’ classic play AJAX and stories from today’s newspaper. Parallel narratives follow Ajax, a Greek warrior, and A.J., a contemporary female soldier on duty in Iraq, both of whom are undone by the betrayal of a commanding officer. The intersection of their stories explodes the timeless struggle in making sense of the madness of war. Presented at the Playwrights’ Center, Nov. 2011. Download the newsletter.
santaland diaries
  SANTALAND DIARIES by David Sedaris, a restaging of Frank’s alternative holiday classic. Presented at the Woman’s Club, Minneapolis, 2011.
standing
  STANDING ON CEREMONY by multiple writers, including Jeffrey Hatcher, Jordan Harrison, Moisés Kaufman, Mo Gaffney, Neil LaBute, Wendy MacLeod, José Rivera, Paul Rudnick and Doug Wright. A showcase of short plays that encourage discussion about marriage equality. Presented at the New Century Theatre, Minneapolis, 2012.
water
  THE WAY OF WATER* by Caridad Svich. Set in the heart of the devastating aftermath of BP's environmental disaster, THE WAY OF WATER is a story about four people making do as best they can, trying to stay afloat in the land of many compromised dreams.Presented at the Playwrights’ Center, 2012. Download the newsletter.
santaland diaries
  SANTALAND DIARIES by David Sedaris, a restaging of Frank’s alternative holiday classic. Presented at the Southern Theatre, 2012.
misterman
  MISTERMAN by Enda Walsh. Thomas Magill is a well-meaning evangelist who has an obsession with sin, a man who has no doubts about his mission to bring the people of Inishfree closer to God. In a deserted warehouse, sifting through his memory and his collection of tape recordings, he repeatedly relives a single day in his search for heavenly peace. Presented at the Southern Theatre, 2013. Download the newsletter
maple and vine
  MAPLE AND VINE In Jordan Harrison’s MAPLE AND VINE, a contemporary, professional couple decides to abandon their Manhattan lifestyle, opting for a simpler existence right out the 1950s. They join a cult-like group of people who have recreated 1955 Eisenhower America somewhere in the Midwest, the SDO-- the Society of Dynamic Obsolescence. With a Committee on Authentication to ensure that standards of the time are observed, they confront a whole new set of questions.
threepenny
  THREEPENNY OPERA by Bertolt Brecht. Set in the Victorian underworld of London just as the Queen’s coronation is about to take place, THREEPENNY is populated with cynical prostitutes, petty thieves, con men and corrupt officials, and revolves around the notorious criminal “Macheath,” known as “Mack the Knife.” Written in 1928 as “an opera for beggars,” THE THREEPENNY OPERA changed the course of opera and musical theatre. Download the newsletter

 

 

* Denotes professional premiere of the work

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[Last updated August 7, 2014 ]