Art Hounds: Art about shifting friendships, changing times

A heart made out of paper
"Feathered Heart" by Joleen Emery.
Courtesy of Joleen Emery

Minneapolis actor Nissa Nordland was drawn to the play “Wish You Were Here” because of the premise: It’s a one-act improvised comedy about grief.

A group shares memories about a friend who has died some time before. The show, which tends to vary each night, considers how their relationships have changed since the loss.

“I love that it's the idea of bringing joy to a situation that we often are looking at with a sad lens,” said Nordland. “We are celebrating the person… and finding the joy in remembering them, and then figuring out, where do we go now?”

The show was created and directed by Mike Fotis, a co-founder of Strike Theater, which is dedicated to building a community of sketch comedy, storytelling and the spoken word.

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Nordland says the cast features a group of Twin Cities “comedy legends” who are sure to bring a funny and heartfelt show.

“Wish You Were Here” runs March 10-11 and 23-25 at 7:30 p.m. at Strike Theater in Minneapolis.

Actor Meghan Kreidler of Minneapolis is a big fan of JuCoby Johnson’s plays, which she says explore heavy, thought-provoking topics through the lens of love. She’s looking forward to seeing his new play, “5,” at the Jungle Theater, co-produced with the Trademark Theater.

Johnson acts in the play he authored, about two close friends who own a convenience store. When a real estate developer offers to buy the store located in a rapidly changing neighborhood, the two friends face decisions that will test their friendship.

Kreidler says it’s a show about family legacy, gentrification, and what happens to friendship as environments evolve.

“I think the thing that excites me also about this piece is where it's being done,” adds Kreidler, “because the Lyndale Lake Street area [where the Jungle Theater is located] has so rapidly changed over the last five to 10 years, and I feel like audience members will be able to engage with the show in a different way based on where they're seeing it.”

“5” opens Saturday and runs through April 16.

Molly Anthony of Richfield is an artist and teacher who lately has focused on teaching art for self-care, and she loves the meditative process of creative Joleen Emery.

The Spring Grove resident creates flowers, wall decorations, and other eye-catching designs out of old books and magazines. It’s a process that involves the repeated folding and cutting of paper — and sometimes taking a bandsaw to old books. Anthony watches Emery on Tik Tok as she walks through her creative process.

Emery runs yoga and artist retreats at Big Raven Farm in southeastern Minnesota, which also operates as a bed and breakfast. You can check out the space during the Bluff Country Art Studio Tour the last weekend in April.

Correction (March 9, 2023): An earlier version of this story incorrectly spelled an actor’s last name. This has been corrected.

This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.