Trained as a visual artist, Michael Sommers has practiced the theatre arts as a designer, director, composer, performer, playwright and puppeteer with The Guthrie, Theatre de la Jeune Lune, Children’s Theatre and The Jungle among others. Sommers is an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota in the Interdisciplinary Program for the Collaborative Arts. In 2000 he co-founded, along with his partner, theater artist and musician Susan Haas, Open Eye Figure Theatre whose original work has been produced at the Walker Art Center, and in New York, Chicago, Washington DC, and Mexico. Open Eye Figure Theatre is dedicated to producing ingenious theater on an intimate scale, primarily using puppetry as its medium, by creating adaptations from classical literature as well as original productions. Open Eye has recently opened its new jewel-box theater in South Minneapolis in what was the former Patrick’s Cabaret.
To celebrate the completed one-year renovation of its new intimate jewel-box theatre in the Phillips neighborhood of Minneapolis, Open Eye will kick off its inaugural season on September 28 with A Prelude to Faust, created by Michael Sommers. Originally commissioned by the Walker Art Center in 1998, the production was performed in the very space where Open Eye now makes its home (and which previously housed Patrick’s Cabaret) as well as at the Henson International Puppet Festival in New York in 2000.
A contemporary view of the Faust plays of Goethe and Marlow, Sommers has created a puppet epic with parallel worlds of traditional puppetry and a psychological landscape of imagery and object manipulation. The puppet world centers on the adventures of Kasper (based on the traditional Kasper puppet) as he follows Dr. Faustus’ path and is confronted with making a pact with the devil. The psychological world is conjured through the “Everyman,” who examines the consequences of his actions as he seeks a path to freedom and fulfillment. A Prelude to Faust is an exploration and visual meditation on the concept of “the final deed.”
Sept 28 through October 22, 2007.
Saturday, Sept 28 performance is a fundraiser to benefit the company
Call 612-823-5162 for more information about the fundraiser
Tickets are $15 for adults; Students/seniors are $12
Open Eye Box Office: 612-874-6338