|Photo: Bedlam Theatre|
I still kind of feel those things. But I've seen so many revelatory performances at the Bedlam Theatre that now when I complain about theater, I'm aware that my words don't ring exactly true anymore. I do like theater. Just not the vast majority of it. But that's not different than art forms I really care about: music or stories. I still don't like much art (unless you're willing to count comic books).
I saw the show "Rabbit: An Original Rabbit Tragedy" at the Bedlam's new St. Paul space last night. It was written by longtime Bedlam cohorts Jon Mac Cole and Savannah Reich, who also directed it along with Christopher Allen.
The stage is minimal, an arch painted with the image of a bird and propped up by two ladders. The Greek choir shift between roles mostly by changing the ears they wear to represent the different animals. The set and costumes looked nice and didn't get in the way of what I liked best: the story.
It's set in an imaginary world of animals that's both gritty, as in being born in a junk yard, and fantastical, as in rabbits starting bands and reading novels. The main rabbit, Jonathan, is an oddball from the start. He doesn't get along with his brothers and sisters and is out of step with those things that most rabbits seem to know naturally. Eventually, he picks up some magic tricks by spying on a badger, which helps him woo a female rabbit. They shack up in an abandoned car. But one day he gets picked up by a bird, and carried somewhere far away.
The rest of the story is about his struggle to get home and his constant failure. Unknown to Jonathan, one of his daughters that is born while he's away is an oddball too. Her favorite thing in the world is a fantasy novel, she idolizes the author and dreams of working for him. She hates her home, and when her band breaks up, she sets off to meet the author at a sci-fi and fantasy convention. Of course, she and Jonathan meet. But they never find out they're related. Despite the fuzzy ears worn by the actors, the ending, as I think is probably fitting in a tragedy, leaves any shreds of hopefulness on the ground. And I loved it.