Saturday, June 18, 2011
Minneapolis has always been a beacon of artistic power, especially for the great lakes region. whether it be those who are creating the art or those who endow it, there is plenty of creativity pouring into & out of this urban hub. the city of Minneapolis is second only to Manhattan, in america, for it's theater's per capita. the new Guthrie theater stands out amongst a culturally rich metropolis. jean nouvel was the architect who branded the city with this spectacular structure. it was his first large scale commission in the U.S. not only is the building itself a marvel to behold, but its inner workings are intricate & functional. whether it be the stages, lobby's, restaurants, outdoor settings, the amber box or the endless bridge, there is more than enough for your senses to absorb. all of that, blended with the fact that its primary function is to promote live performance art, makes it even more beautiful. chief among the many talents that are housed in this illuminating "theater," is the art of live, on stage acting & its pre/post productions that make the impossible possible. it should be mentioned that the numerous artisans, designers, carpenters, painters, world class couture wardrobe technicians, wig makers, sound & lighting engineers & a slough of other skilled professionals, that are perhaps second to none, are more than adequately matching the pageantry showcased onstage.
in this magnificent structure there are three distinct theaters. the wurtele thrust stage is an outlet for dramatic literature. seating is located on three sides of the stage (roughly 260 degrees & every seat in the space is the exact number of feet from the center of the action). due to its ability to be customizable in size, shape, color & texture, it's best to think of the thrust stage as a transformer. the mcguire proscenium stage has the features of a "picture frame" like opening. this allows all of the audience to experience the presentation from the same perspective. this type of depiction is suited for work from the late 19th century. a universal form helps to create cohesion with other productions globally. finally comes the dowling studio, which is flexible & purposed toward the aesthetic of cultural/community connections. it feels very modern & yet warehouse like. it is a host for both local work & the works of other theaters. the "amber box" is located just outside of the dowling. it is an ethereal viewing station meant to elicit optimism, even on grey days.
the guthrie balances amidst the historic mill district. it plays with the mississippi river & st. anthony falls. jean nouvel seems to have a knack of birthing his creations with the aid of the immediate surroundings. the french architect, is a willing participant with natural light, allowing it to communicate through access. thoughtful dialogue between design & the movement of people is highly interactive & entertaining. in 2008 he was awarded the pritzker prize, the highest honor in architecture. the jury that year noted the 2006 opening & impact of the guthrie as significant in their decision to select his body of work.
colors & shapes are only pieces of the magic that make this building one of the most unique structures in the world. thanks to jean nouvel, the guthrie theater & its many people who make this such a wonderful place to visit & be inspired by. if you're ever in minneapolis i highly recommend taking in a play. if that doesn't work, the architectural & backstage tours are fantastic & enlightening. embrace the twin cities, it's cooler than you may know.
be well, from the 707 to the 612!