“Caroline, or Change”, the remarkable play running through June at the Guthrie, opens in a hot, humid basement in Lake Charlies, La. in the early Sixties. Caroline, the maid who spends her day there, begins by singing a song filled with Post-Katrina irony, about the state having no “underground” , only “underwater.”
From that opening scene through the very end this was one of the most moving nights in a theater I have ever had. Please go see this great play, and use it to remember how the arts can transform the way we look at each other, especially across race and class.
That was the idea behind starting the Mosaic celebration six years ago. (www.MinneapolisMosaic.org) In an increasingly diverse city, our differences can pull us apart. But sometimes art finds a way to see something that can build a bridge. …or explain why one never got there. That happpens in “Caroline” as an African American maid, and her campy R-and-B backup singers, and her singing washing machine and dryer (you gotta see that to understand), create a world that somehow reaches the Jewish boy living upstairs better than the emotionless world he lives in.
That’s the transformation we hope for with Mosaic, which showcases arts groups from the many cultures of the city. The night invites everyone to see themselves and someone else, on stage, the first Saturday night in June…..and we open the State and Pantages for free. Over the years we have seen not only diversity on stage but in the audience….and usually leave seeing something more about our city.
“Caroline” is part of the Tony Kushner festival now going on at the Guthrie. Known best for “Angels over America”, Kushner’s work is all about using art to jar us into seeing the world differently. Any of the people I talked to who saw “Caroline” in New York or London said this is a far superior performance, and with many of the actors, including kids, from Minneapolis.
This goes to prove what I said a year or so ago. People who wanted their play to work in New Yrok used to try it out in New Haven before bringing it to the big time. Now people try plays out in New Yrok before bringing them to the big time in the best theatetr city in the U.S…..Minneapolis.
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