Current News


from The Local Current Blog – Originally posted on Nov. 3, 2014, by Brenda Tran.

Pillsbury House Theatre’s “Late Nite Series: Non English Speaking Spoken Here” will return on Nov. 8, 15, and 22. The annual celebration of new work, now in its 17th year, will feature a unique lineup comprising emerging artists from Minnesota and New York. The artists and performers will explore contemporary culture through music, dance, theatre, film, literary arts, and visual art. Local music artists performing in the series include Jayanthi Kyle, Rico Mendez (a.k.a. DJ Don Cuco), and “Steely” Dan McAllister. Other highlights include a building-wide performance installation by Love|Forté, spoken word by LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs, and an “Indo Afro Groove” performance by Pyeng Threadgill.

The lineup was carefully curated by E.G. Bailey and Laurie Carlos with the intention of connecting underground New York and Minnesota artists, encouraging collaboration between them, and giving them exposure to a diverse audience. “We try to find artists that are willing to take a risk, artists that have that kind of energy in their work already,” said Bailey. “The key thing is practicing freedom, having the freedom to do any and everything within the limits of what the space can hold.”

The Late Nite Series traditionally sells out; audience members will find themselves packed in an exciting, creative environment. “Being in such a small theater with so many people, the energy is so palpable you can feel it,” notes Kelsye Gould, communications coordinator of Pillsbury House Theatre.

Each night’s programming begins at 9:00 p.m. Food from local chefs will be served at no extra charge at 8:00 pm in the lobby. Attendees may pick their own price for every performance (regular price is $15, anything above that is considered a donation).

“Come with no expectations and come open. I think that’s the best way to take in Late Nite,” advised Bailey.

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Out on a Limb

Pillsbury House Theatre’s Chicago Avenue Project presents Out on a Limb, featuring ten original, short plays written by neighborhood youth in partnership with professional dramaturgs, and performed and directed by some of the Twin Cities’ best theatre artists.

November 3 and 4, 2014

Monday at 7:00 pm
Tuesday at 4:00 and 7:00 pm

at Pillsbury House Theatre, 3501 Chicago Avenue S., Minneapolis
Directions and Parking Info »

Admission is free —just show up! All ages welcome.

The Plays

Twerk Team by Amir
direction by Adrian Balbontin, dramaturgy by Steve Moulds, starring Christian Bardin and Gregory Parks

The Future of Walmart by Cicely
direction by Chava Curland, dramaturgy by Deborah Yarchun, starring Valarie Falken and Beverly Cottman

The Theme of Love + The Theme of Fighting by Diego
direction and dramaturgy by Sharif Abu-Hamdeh, starring Carolyn Pool and Jason Rojas

The Coyote of Wall Street by Gabe
direction by Terry Hempleman, dramaturgy by Eliza Rasheed, starring Dylan Fresco and Heather Bunch

Hole by Manny
direction by Mel Day, dramaturgy by Jacob Devine, starring Dustin Bronson and Rachel Austin

The Two Lovebirds by Marlin
direction by Molly Van Avery, dramaturgy by Saymoukda Vongsay, starring Suzie Cheng and Sam Pearson

Frenemies by Mimi
direction by Cheryl Willis, dramaturgy by Basil Kreimendahl, starring Taous Khazem and Esther Ouray

Masters of Dishwashing Two by Nat
direction by Crystal Spring, dramaturgy by Josef Evans, starring Brant Miller and Katie Kaufmann

A Girl Gone Missing and a Thief to Discover by Neveah
direction by Dudley Voigt, dramaturgy by Kate Tarker, starring Jamila Anderson and Neal Skoy

The Mystery by Samaria’h
direction by Addie Gorlin, dramaturgy by Amber Patton, starring Joy Dolo and Sandra Struthers

artwork and illustrations by Cicely, Neveah, Bella, and Phebe

Many of the characters in Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet are named after Yoruban orishas. An orisha (also spelled òrìṣà) is a spirit or deity that mediates between the natural and supernatural worlds. Here’s a glimpse into the features of certain characters’ orishas.

Eshu (aka Elegba and Elegua) is the orisha of chance and uncertainty. Known as the “trickster,” he lurks at gateways and doorways to introduce chaos and accident into the lives of humans. He is also seen as the “divine messenger,” delivering messages and sacrifices between the natural and spiritual worlds, and is known for his sexual exploits. In “The Brother/Sister Plays,” Marcus Eshu, Elegba, and Elegua all have divine visions or insights.

Ogun is the orisha of iron, metal work, and war. He is dependable and helps overcome spiritual and psychological obstacles. Ogun is also the only character appearing in all three of “The Brother/Sister Plays.”

Oshun is the orisha of sensuality, beauty, and fertility. She has the power to heal with water, and is often called upon to cure female ailments. Oshun is a strong and confident woman, but she also has a passionate, easily angered spirt. In “The Brother/Sister Plays,” Shun, Osha, and Shaunta Iyun all have characteristics of this orisha.

Shango is the orisha of masculinity, virility, warriors, thunder and lightning, and fire. He has three wives, Oya, Oshun, and Oba. He is said to be able to transform ordinary items into something pure and coveted. In “The Brother/Sister Plays,” Shango is a soldier in Iraq who woos several other characters.

Oba is said to be a dutiful wife, despite having been left by her cheating husband Shango. In “The Brother/Sister Plays,” Oba raises Marcus on her own.

Oya is often described as the tempest, the winds of destruction, change and progress. She is the orisha of rebirth and is often depicted with her husband Shango. In “The Brother/Sister Plays,” Oya is faced with several difficult decisions that change the course of her life.

Oshosi is the orisha of hunters. He resides in the forest. In “The Brother/Sister Plays,” Oshoosi Size escapes to the woods with his friend Elegba.

The Characters of “The Brother/Sister Plays”

MARCUS Family Tree

Marcus Reviews

Marcus Reviews
photo by Michal Daniel

The reviews are in!

Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet is a Pillsbury House Theatre and The Mount Curve Company co-production in the Dowling Studio at the Guthrie Theatre, September 12 – October 5, 2014. Reserve your tickets through the Guthrie’s Box Office online or by calling 612-377-2224.

Already see Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet? Tell us what you thought: Facebook | Twitter | Email


Marcus; Or The Secret Of Sweet by Pillsbury House Theatre and the Mount Curve Company, performing in the Guthrie’s Dowling Studio
By John Olive,

“See this intoxicating play: it will make you want to leave dreary and frigid Minnesota and move to moonstruck Louisiana, a land of sun-showers, nighttime assignations on the bayou, intricate family relations, powerful friendships.” Read the full review »

Theater review: ‘Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet’ gets a production to be remembered at the Guthrie
by Rohan Preston, Star Tribune

“[Nathan] Barlow…delivers a breakout performance that is grace-filled and revelatory. He handles his two major monologues, both Shakespearean in their heft, with charisma and aplomb, inviting us into his heart, his hopes and his reveries. But his brilliance is far from solitary… All the players in “Marcus,” who sit at the side of the stage when not performing, have moments when they light up the stage with their individual fireworks..” Read the full review »

‘Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet’ review: Fresh, heartfelt
By Rob Hubbard, Special to the Pioneer Press

“The Pillsbury House/Mount Curve production deftly brings out both the mystical and earthy in McCraney’s play, the staging spare, the technical effects minimal but timely, and most of the performances convincingly crafted.” Read the full review »

McCraney’s “Marcus” Has Topnotch Talent Telling Its Gay Coming-of-Age Story
By John Townsend, Lavender Magazine

“Tarell Alvin McCraney’s Brother/Sister Trilogy has become one of the major dramatic works of the current era. Pillsbury House and the Mount Curve Company co-produced the first two plays at the Guthrie’s Dowling Studio. Now they are presenting the final and best of the three in the same venue by the same director, OBIE-winner Marion McClinton.” Read the full review »

“Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet” by Pillsbury House Theatre at the Guthrie Theater
by Cherry and Spoon

“Talented young playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney has such a unique vision and voice, and these three plays create such a specific world with people that are familiar and beloved.” Read the full review »

Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet – A Review

“The Dowling Studio provides such an intimate setting for this story. The actors larger than life emotions and depth sweep you away into the bayou, into the storm that is coming literally and figuratively. As you watch Marcus unravel his dreams and truth, you will see some of your own life but also life through new eyes, with profound insight. This play takes touchy subject matter, makes it real and teaches us with plenty of humor along the way.” Read the full review »


“Twin Cities theater producer underwrites quality”
by Rohan Preston, Star Tribune

Read the full story »

“Playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney sees ‘Marcus,’ visits with its actors”
by Rohan Preston, Star Tribune

Read the full story »

Marcus: Part Three of a Trilogy Goes Wandering Off in the Dark
by Star Tribune

Read the full story »

‘Marcus; or the secret of sweet’ builds a community on and off stage
by Euan Kerr, Minnesota Public Radio

Listen to the full story »

‘Marcus,’ final play in Tarell McCraney’s trilogy, opens at Guthrie
by Rohan Preston, Star Tribune

Read the full story »

Nathan Barlow embraces the words for Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet

Read the interview »

Marion McClinton: A man made by theater
by Rohan Preston, Star Tribune

Read the full story »

Pillsbury House Theatre hopes you continue the conversations that our productions inspire. After you’ve seen Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet, share your thoughts with us online (email Kelsye, post on our Facebook page, or Tweet us); attend a post-show discussion (view the calendar); or consider the following discussion questions wherever you wind up after the show:

  1. How does Tarell Alvin McCraney’s language and the verbalization of the stage directions affect your experience of the play?
  2. Myth plays a very important role in shaping the characters’ identities. What is your personal myth? How much of who you are today has been shaped by your ancestors?
  3. In the play, everyone seems to know that Marcus is “sweet”, and yet, when he finally acknowledges it, people have mixed reactions. What is your response to Marcus’ sweetness? What does the play say about the need to identify others and/or be identified?
  4. The theme of love runs throughout “The Brother/Sister Plays.” What kinds of love can you identify in this production?
  5. What role does community play in Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet? What do you think McCraney is saying by giving the community this role?
  6. At the end of the play, we know a major, Katrina-like storm is approaching. What is the importance of water and weather in this play?
  7. If you have seen either/both of the other two “Brothers/Sister Plays,” (In the Red and Brown Water and The Brothers Size), what connections can you make between them and this play? Why do you think McCraney decided to end the cycle with Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet?
  8. Why do you think McCraney calls this series of plays “The Brother/Sister Plays”?