The Changelings at Ten Thousand Things Theater, performing at Bedlam Lowertown and at Open Book

Ricardo Vázquez, Joy Dolo, Shá Cage, Luverne Seifert, Kimberly Richardson and Kurt Kwan in The Changelings.

Ricardo Vázquez, Joy Dolo, Shá Cage, Luverne Seifert, Kimberly Richardson and Kurt Kwan in The Changelings.

By now you must know the Ten Thousand Things drill: no stage lights, no recorded sound effects, minimal set pieces, intricate music woven into the action (in this case created by the very busy, very talented Annie Enneking, guitarist and radioist extraordinaire).

What do you get at TTT? Acting. First rate acting, by the crème de la crème of the Twin Cities creative community. You get to see their work in thrilling boardroom intimacy. Beads of sweat, vocal tics and techniques, costume creases, perfect timing (something that all the TTT actors have), spot-on interactions, rich poetry, comedy. TTT plays are funny, exquisitely enjoyable. Theatrical perfection.

The Changelings by Kira Obolensky is no exception.

Okay: this weekend The Changelings plays at Bedlam Theatre in St. Paul. Then the play moves to Open Book where it runs through June 5. In addition, there are “free shows” at various community venues; check the TTT website. Whew.

The Changelings is presented by: the breath-takingly incisive Shá Cage; the goofy and focused Luverne Seifert; Ricardo Vázquez, the handsome fellow with the winning grin; the lithe and super-creative Kimberly Richardson; Kurt Kwan, with the muscular presence and impeccable timing; and, last but by no means least, the ineffably wonderful Joy Dolo. You’d be out of your mind if you didn’t immediately betake yourself down to TTT to see these marvelous artists at work.

Firm direction, BTW, is provided by TTT’s artistic director Michelle Hensley, using her patented technique of actors circling the outside of the seats, then moving quickly onto the stage for their scenes. Lovely.

The play? The Changelings is a charged, highly weird, language-focused, theatrical, lyrical, symbolism-rich domestic drama. Set in Threadsville, home of the famous rope factory, where the men spend their time wishing they had the dough to bet on the ponies. Into this mix comes Otto (Vázquez), claiming to be the Craggs’ longlost son. Is he?

Occasionally I found The Changelings frustrating: too long, too dense, too many things left up-in-the-air. But what do I know? Certainly The Changelings does its job, by providing a first rate vehicle for some first rate actors.

John Olive is a writer living in Minneapolis. His book, about the magic of bedtime stories, Tell Me A Story In The Dark, has been published. His adaptation of Sideways Stories From Wayside School can be seen (locally) at Youth Performance Company. Please check out John’s informational website.

 

 

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