Tuesday, February 3, 2015

You Must See This Play: These Old Shoes by Transatlantic Love Affair

What can I say about a show that makes even a jaded theatergoer (like myself) cry?

I've been really struggling with how to write about These Old Shoes by Transatlantic Love Affair, currently running at Illusion Theater (now thru Valentine's Day).

I mean, clearly, you should see it.  But how do I talk about it without ruining the mystery and charm of Transatlantic Love Affair's work?  As for me, I went into this show totally blind.  I'd heard how amazing their past productions were, especially last year's Ash Land, and resolved not to miss another of their productions.

So, here's the plot summary:
Surrounded by moving boxes and a grandfather clock, an old man is learning to say goodbye as the time approaches to leave his life-long home for a "retirement community." Brimming with humor and heart, this story of second chances follows the bread crumb trail of memory in hopes of finding something that was once lost.
And a little bit about TLA: (both quotes from their website)
Transatlantic Love Affair is a physical theatre ensemble specializing in collaboratively created original work and theatrical storytelling.

So, in short, this is a play about Jim, who is leaving his home and moving into a retirement home after the death of his wife, with the help of his granddaughter.  The play goes back and forth through time from Jim's youth to the present day, and also explores the lives (present and past) of his soon-to-be neighbors in the home. It's performed through spare, ingenious, movement-based storytelling, accompanied by also spare, but nearly perfect music by Dustin Tessier.

I hate to say more except that I have hardly ever been so emotionally touched by a show.  This show spoke to me so personally, and yet, with its themes of aging, it's amazingly universal.  It's a warm, respectful, and heartfelt look at aging, and a marvelously romantic exploration of love lost and found. This is a show that spoke directly to my heart and I know that it's a show that I will never forget.  Just to be sure, though?  I'm seeing it again.

I wish I could say more, to describe the grace notes in the performances, the transitions, the beauty in their work, but I hate to spoil anyone's first viewing. All I can say is that now that I have found this theater company, I will not make the mistake of missing any of their productions again.  Join me!  Go see this show!

Here's the scoop on the remaining shows. If you can catch a talkback, I highly recommend it. Their process is really fascinating!
Thursday, February 5, 2015 at 8:00 PM - Talkback with members of ArtSage MN
Friday, February 6, 2015 at 8:00 PM
Saturday, February 7, 2015 at 8:00 PM
Sunday, February 8, 2015 at 7:00 PM - Talkback
Wednesday, February 11, 2015 at 10:00 AM
Thursday, February 12, 2015 at 8:00 PM - Talkback
Friday, February 13, 2015 at 8:00 PM
Saturday, February 14, 2015 at 8:00 PM

And a few credits:

Conceived & Directed by Diogo Lopes
Created by the Ensemble
Written in Collaboration with Gemma Irish
Music Composed and Performed by Dustin Tessier