Art Hounds: Outdoor opera and a one-person show with a rotating cast

Actors pose for a scene
Mixed Precipitation’s traveling outdoor operas, the Pickup Truck Opera series production of “Romeo and Juliet,” has been adapted and updated for modern times from Vincenzo Bellini’s 1830 opera "I Capuleti e i Montecchi" (The Capulets and the Montagues).
Tim Rummelhoff

Theater maker Grant Sorenson of Minneapolis is excited about the return of a unique theater project being staged at Norway House in Minneapolis.

Local creative Kurt Engh adapted the Norwegian author Erlend Loe’s cult novel “Naïve. Super” into a one-person play where — here’s the twist — the show will be performed by a different actor each night.

The play is about a 25-year-old who one day realizes they aren’t happy with their life. Through a series of small changes and discoveries, they piece their life back together into something they can enjoy.

The actors include seasoned veterans and emerging talents. Sorenson, who saw the original pre-pandemic iteration of the show, is fascinated by the ways the play could shift nightly.

Grow the Future of Public Media

MPR News is supported by Members. Gifts from individuals power everything you find here. Make a gift of any amount today to become a Member!

As to the challenges of directing and performing a show with a shifting cast, Sorenson says “the show is built to support the performer. The script is available to them in a binder, but then also in books, in lists, in projections that happen throughout the space. Part of the fun is sort of seeing where the actor finds the text of the play.”

“Naïve. Super” is 90 minutes without intermission. It runs Friday through Sept. 17.

Art enthusiast Florence Brammer of West St. Paul has been attending Mixed Precipitation’s traveling outdoor operas for 15 years, having never missed a season. The company’s Pickup Truck Opera series offers inventive takes on famous operas, abridged and performed across the state at parks, vineyards, nature centers, and other beautiful spaces.

There’s still time to see this season’s production of “Romeo and Juliet,” adapted and updated for modern times from Vincenzo Bellini’s 1830 opera, I Capuleti e i Montecchi (The Capulets and the Montagues). In Mixed Precipitation’s signature style, they combine opera sung in bel canto style with pop songs — in this case, works by such “star-crossed” bands as the Fugees, Fleetwood Mac, and the Pixies. 

Performances are Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. at Alexis Bailly Vineyard in Hastings. Other dates and locations include Sept. 8 at Dodge Nature Center in West St. Paul, Sept 9 at Swede Hollow Park in St. Paul, and Sept. 10 at JD Rivers’ Children’s Garden in Minneapolis. 

Editor’s note: The show was adapted by MPR’s Denzel Belin, who was not involved with this episode of Art Hounds.