Downtown Art

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September 20, 2004 // UPDATED 4:05 pm - April 25, 2007
By: Anna Pratt
Anna Pratt

'Northern Lights: The Nine/Eleven Plays'

"Northern Lights: The Nine/Eleven Plays" briefly summarizes our collective grief surrounding 9/11, without diminishing its profound wound. This production is aptly named for the ritual of hanging the Northern Lights, a method of grieving akin to lighting candles for loved ones, featured in one of the production's 11 under-nine-minute stories (Diane Glancy's "Wolf Trot on Tundra").

This batch of heartfelt encounters emerges from the pens of national-award-winning playwrights, journalists, fiction writers and filmmakers who answered the Illusion Theater's call for dramatic pieces to address 9/11 and the complicated question of theater's role in dealing with the catastrophe.

From epic poetry to sophisticated humor, these works portray a complex range of responses, both personal and theatrical in nature.

William Borden's "Falling" is a dramatically staged poem, abstractly capturing the fatal plunge taken by over 100 people from the World Trade Center towers.

Jimmy Breslin's untitled work presents two strangers who sweetly acknowledge each other as they pass 68th Street daily, until one of them vanishes. Sadly, the other keeps looking for the lost smile.

"Manifesto" is Bill Corbett's story of two Brooklyn contractors who're busy installing a luxury kitchen in a Manhattan high-rise. The younger contractor talks nonstop about his recent spiritual awakening and religious epiphanies that seem to explain away, even justify, the attack -- until the incensed veteran admonishes the rookie and it becomes painfully evident that the older contractor's wife perished Sept. 11.

David Adjmi's dark comedy "Elective Affinities" attempts to truly realize love and friendship, albeit thru the skewed impressions of a Park Avenue dowager's sinister monologue.

Steven Drukman's "Cavedweller" focuses on a chronic Internet conversationalist, whose self-imposed exile dates to Sept. 11.

Kim Hines' "But It's Real" is the account of a blind African American fortune-teller who peddles his prophesies on the street until an incident with a young man gets out of hand.

Henry W. Kimmel's "My Little Trip to the Airport" features a man whose plans to fly to New York are thwarted by the attacks, while "Ground Zero" is Brenda Shoshanna's haunting tale about a woman who stops by the Ground Zero cemetery nightly to speak with the dead.

Adnan Shati and Jonathan Carlson's docudrama "War-Torn In-Laws" recreates a conversation between the Iraqi Shati and his war-torn in-law, Carlson.

"Woman Bakes American Flag Cake (The Matriot Act)" is a funny glimpse of challenged patriotism. Anne Dimock pits the "Onion's" 9/11 special feature story about Kansas paralegal Christine Pearson against the newspaper and the public. Reported as having baked a cake decorated with an American flag, in light of the attacks, Pearson explains her misunderstood action while expounding on her frustrations about the spoof paper's shallow reportage.

Sept. 22-26, Wednesday-Saturday 8 p.m., Sunday 7 p.m. Illusion Theater, 528 Hennepin Ave. S. $16-$21. 339-4944.

Renter's love lost

If you ever need help moving and U-Haul isn't exactly what you're looking for, painter Amy Rice can help. No, she's not selling a backpack with pockets shaped and sized to your needs, but she's got some unique packing skills that'll really help you carry your home on your back.

When the charmingly dilapidated house she lived in for seven years (rent: $290/month) was condemned pending demolition, Rice did a pretty thorough spring-cleaning. She ripped out the cupboard doors, electric box covers, floorboards and closet doors.

These miscellaneous panels became her eclectic canvas for "Condemned and Appropriated . . . This Art Was Once My Home." On each surface, she's painted scenes of the house, sunflowers, bunnies, Playschool toys with butterfly wings, crows and other graffiti/stenciled imagery that redeems destruction.

Thru Oct. 1, Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Jungle Red Salon, 1362 LaSalle Ave. Free. 870-0653.