Fall arts season: Nine picks

Fall is an exciting time, not just for parents and kids as school starts up again, but for arts lovers as the performance season gets back into full swing.

Here’s a look at some of the more compelling events on the horizon, including theater, dance, film and more.

"Test Pilot" (Image courtesy of the artist)

1. “Test Pilot”

This new dance opera by choreographer Penelope Freeh and composer Jocelyn Hagen examines the legendary story of the Wright Brothers as seen through the eyes of their sister, Katharine. September 12-13 at The O’Shaughnessy in St. Paul.

2. “Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet

Pillsbury House Theater presents the final installment of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s “Brother/Sister Plays” trilogy. The first two installments, “The Brothers Size” and “In the Red and Brown Water” were praised by critics as they blended modern black experience with the emotional weight of African gods. Performances run September 12 – October 5 at the Guthrie Theater.

Ananya Dance Theatre presents "Neel"

3. “Neel: Blutopias of Radical Dreaming”

Ananya Dance Theatre marks its tenth anniversary with a production that dares to dream. “Neel”is based on the conviction that “some of the most powerful dreaming comes from marginalized peoples, individuals whose desire for transformation cannot be suppressed.” Performances run September 18 – 20 at The Cowles Center.

4. “Little Boy

Puppeteer and performance artist Masanari Kawahara grew up in Hiroshima playing in the Peace Park built where the atom bomb was dropped. “Little Boy” tells the story of the bomb as it’s brought reluctantly to life, and contemplates its destiny.

"Dear White People"

5. “Dear White People”

“Dear White People” is described as a satire in the tradition of “Animal House” and “School Daze” about being “a black face in a white place.” Shot largely on the University of Minnesota campus, the film takes place at a fictional Ivy League school, and uses humor to explore racial identity in “post-racial” America.  The film has already picked up the Special Jury Award for “Breakthrough Talent” at the Sundance Film Festival, as well as the Best Picture audience award at the San Francisco International Festival.
Limited release on October 17.

6. “Colossal”

Football on stage! “Colossal” wrestles with the best and the worst of our nation’s favorite past-time, telling the story of a pro-prospect in the wake of a catastrophic spinal cord injury.  Like a game, the play is performed in four 15-minute quarters with a half-time show, a drum corps, and a fully-padded cast. Performances run Oct 10 thru Nov 9 at Mixed Blood Theatre in Minneapolis.

Miranda July

7. Miranda July: “New Society”

Filmmaker and performer Miranda July presents the world premiere of New Society, an interactive theater piece that, like much of her work, mines the banal and mundane elements of our lives with humor, lyrical beauty, and surprising poignancy. New Society has been described as “an elaborate concoction in a future to be that intertwines fiction and faith, audience and artist.”

8. “Grounded”

Names as a Top Ten Play of 2013 by both the Guardian and the London Evening Standard, “Grounded” has been hailed as “a searing analysis of 21st-century warfare.” A grounded fighter pilot balances operating military drones with raising her baby daughter. Shá Cage stars in this one-woman show directed by Frank Theatre’s Wendy Knox. Performances run Oct 31 – Nov 23 at The Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis.

9. “On Golden Pond

Longtime stage partners Bain Boehlke and Wendy Lehr star in this show about a couple in their twilight years, and the return of their estranged daughter. Boehlke recently announced he’s retiring from the Jungle Theater in June 2015, so this performance promises to be particularly bittersweet. Runs Nov 7 thru December 21.

What are you looking forward to seeing this fall?