Friday, January 02, 2009

Shameless Plug of the Day - Urban Samurai - Halfway Home

Seen all the holiday shows already? All set to start seeing a new year of theater? Urban Samurai has you covered.

A shout-out to Urban Samurai Productions and their latest offering, the dysfunctional family comedy "Halfway Home" - which opens this weekend.

(My first fleeting thought, "Really? They made a play out of an obscure novel by Paul Monette?" But I only imagined an adaptation until I read the play description and realized it was indeed a completely different beast)

What it's actually about... "A tour guide can't take it any more and has a breakdown while her bus is caught in New York City traffic with a load of non English speaking tourists from South Yemen. Susan runs from the bus, gun in hand, and hails a cab. Her family, who hasn't heard from her in ten years, receives a cryptic telegram: "Dire straights. Must lie low. Driving in on Saturday." Susan arrives with the cheerfully loony cab driver for a reunion with her mother, sisters, neighbors and childhood chums. Before long, she realizes that life in the city was sane compared to being among these characters."

Last April, I got the chance to see "American Apathy" - a scathing but very funny look at... well, come to think of it, the consumer society and economy that's currently coming unglued all around us. Urban Samurai was ahead of the curve on that one (Review here) - and it was just tapped as one of City Pages' Top 10 Theater productions for 2008. (And now the Samurai are looking to be the first out of the gate for the 2009 lists, so why not tag along?)

Performances start tonight, January 2nd and run through January 18, 2009. Thursdays thru Saturdays at 7:30pm, Sundays at 2pm at the Sabes Jewish Community Center - 4330 Cedar Lake Road South in St. Louis Park, MN.

Urban Samurai is one of many scrappy smaller theater companies in town that tackle new plays, and unusual subject matter, sometimes both at once (and as a working playwright, I like to encourage that whenever I can). Sometimes they also let their hair down - as evidenced by their wildly popular Fringe Festival offering in 2008 "Musical - The Musical." So if you saw that, and want to see what else they do, this is a comedy without the music this time.

Tickets available online, and they're cheaper if you go that rate - visit Tickets are $14 online, or $16 at the door. Student and Senior discount is $10 online, $12 at the door.

More information on the production, including directions and the like, at

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