THE VENETIAN TWINS    Carlo Goldoni’s The Venetian Twins playing at the Southern Theater as part of ARTshare and at MN colleges, high schools and other outdoor locations.     Written in the mid 1700s, Carlo Goldoni's timeless comedy tells the story of two estranged twins, Zanetto and Tonino (played by one actor), who arrive in town, both romantically entangled and on the same day. The resulting chaos includes ridiculous sword play, romantic melodrama, arrests, betrayals, stolen jewels and death by poisoned wine.    Staged in Theatre Forever's vibrant, playful and irreverent style and drawing heavily from Italian Commedia dell’arte (masks made by Antonio Fava), this production, packed with more mistaken identities than you can shake a wet fish at, boat-loads of exquisite physical comedy and rapid-fire verbal play, promises to be an unforgettably hilarious evening of mayhem and stupidity.    "Ferguson has the courage to take the audience-performer relationship very seriously, to illuminate the fact that audience members are, in an important sense, co-creators themselves."    - (Review for Theatre Forever's The Nature Crown) Jay Gabler, The Tangential 2015    "...plays like the love child of Monty Python, Jane Austen, and The Princess Bride.”   - (Review for Ferguson’s previous work) MPLS/St. Paul Magazine    This production originally ran at The Southern Theater as part of The Southern Theater’s ARTshare program. To learn more about ARTshare visit http://southerntheater.org/home/artshare-2016/     $18 suggested ticket price (no one turned away for lack of funds)    Join us for a special performance workshop on physical comedy, mask and Commedia on Saturday, Dec. 17 from 12:00 – 4:00 p.m. Email play@theatreforever.com for more information or to register!    To book The Venetian Twins at your venue contact Lauren Anderson   lauren(at)theatreforever.com    Visit us at  GiveMN  today to make your tax deductible donation.     Featuring the comic delights and delicacies of:      David Beukema   Jamie Fields   Alex Barreto Hathaway   Becca Hart   Robie Hayek   Katie Kaufmann   Vlad Messing   Catherine W. Noble   Lindsey C. Samples   Neal Skoy    Amy Stockhaus   Allison Witham     Directed by Jon Ferguson   Assistant Direction by Lauren Rae Anderson   Stage Management by Audrey Rice   Dramaturgy by Jon Peterson   Costumes by Lori Opsal   Set design by Erica Zaffarano   Text and vocal coaching by Suzy Kohane   Theatre Forever’s Managing Director is Afton Benson   Outreach and Education is Kip Dooley   Marketing and Digital Media by Jerod Greenisen   ALL IMAGES: DAN NORMAN
       
     
  THE NATURE CROWN    The Guthrie Theater presents   a Theatre Forever production of   The Nature Crown   conceived and directed by Jon Ferguson   with text by Dominic Orlando   created with the ensemble.    March 20 through April 4, 2015    Theatre Forever's The Nature Crown is a celebratory narrative event exploring origin, innocence, community and change. This world premiere is told through the eyes of a stranger who, at a crossroads in his life, finds himself jolted from his reality and lost in the woods. With only a broken briefcase and a sad potted plant, he finds -- at the center of it all -- a village within his own heart.     Highly physical, comic and poetic, this new work marks award-winning director and playmaker Jon Ferguson's return to the Dowling Studio following his celebrated Super Monkey in 2009. The company's special brand of playful, irreverent and imaginative work features some of the Twin Cities most exciting actors, musicians and theater-makers -- an event not to be missed!    Soon, more information about the creation of The Nature Crown can be found at   The Rambler, A Map of Inspiration to the Making of The Nature Crown.       The Nature Crown ensemble includes: Christian Bardin (Assistant Director), Lauren Rae Anderson, Aimee K. Bryant, Alexander Hathaway, Catherine Johnson Justice, Kalen Keir, Diogo Lopes, Ben Mandelbaum, Brant Miller, Adelin Phelps, Lorenzo Reyes, Peter Lincoln Rusk, Paul Rutledge, Tony Sarnicki, Nick Saxton and Allison Witham. Additionally, the ensemble musicians are Tim Cameron, Dan Dukich, Kalen Keir and Elizabeth Windnagel, joined by the women's chamber choir, Artemis. With stage management by Audrey Rice.     This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.    Praise for  The Nature Crown    "The Nature Crown, is, on first glance, a pastorale ruminating on nature and humanity's place in it. Look a little more closely, though, and it's possible to observe less well-worn paths into thickets of memory, longing and regret."  “Spring is uncertain and fickle in this part of the world. So perhaps this is the right time and place for a play that asks audiences to consider both the possibilities and the peculiarities of nature the way "The Nature Crown" does.”    - Dominic Papatola, Pioneer Press     "A devised work co-created by director Jon Ferguson and his plucky 16-member ensemble of actors, the show keeps you smiling from the moment the actors walk onto the bare stage…"  "It's prodigious creativity is on view within the first few minutes as Joao enters with just a keyboard, walking to his office. He is attended by someone holding a light, a small chair and other things that he’ll need. They move with him, like wings on a bird. This delightful choreography extends throughout “Crown,” which features live scoring by ensemble musicians and the Artemis Chamber Choir."  "If it’s easy to fall in love with the physically engaged telling of “Crown,” it’s partly because we’ve seen such creativity writ larger by the likes of Julie Taymor, Mary Zimmerman and George Wolfe.    - Rohan Preston - The Star Tribune     "The Nature Crown, one of the most elaborate shows Ferguson’s produced in years, is a rich production built on a deeply layered allegory about memory and loss, about courage and fear, and about the meaning of maturity. It’s a little heavy, yeah, but it’s also charming and funny, suspended in Ferguson’s buoyant yet poignant alternate reality.”  "Ferguson has the courage to take the audience-performer relationship very seriously, to illuminate the fact that audience members are, in an important sense, co-creators themselves."  "The Nature Crown is an inspiring production; it also happens to be a lot of fun."  "Ferguson’s best shows—notably You’re My Favorite Kind of Pretty and its sequel A Bun for a Door Handle—have openly been inspired by his own life, and The Nature Crown plays an interesting twist on that dynamic. Ferguson spent his childhood in England, and Lopes is from Portugal; their stories blur into one another, and ultimately into ours."    - Jay Gabler - The Tangential     “…a whimsical and often touching ride into the real and imaginary worlds of our own lives.”  “a detour into the kind of forest that usually exists only in our imaginations.”  “The Nature Crown is the perfect start-of-spring piece. It offers us a taste of the world that's just outside if - we are willing to open the door.”    - Ed Huyck, City Pages     "…it's lovely, delightful, innovative, poignant, creative, and incredibly moving. The original fairy tale deals with the ideas of home, place, and change…"  "If exploring the ideas of home and change and courage ("be brave or you'll miss everything") with music, movement, delightful props, heartfelt performances, and much theatrical innovation is intriguing to you, go see Nature Crown, and be reminded of those places that lie inside your heart"    - Cherry and Spoon     “…part fable, part parable, part satire, fanciful but in the context of real issues—and all bursting with imagination. It has the feel of a staged dream, and like a dream, subject to a host of interpretations.”  “The physical production is wondrous...”  “See The Nature Crown to be inspired to set out on your own path, or just for the sheer joy of exuberantly creative storytelling.”    - Arthur Dorman - www.talkinbroadway.com      ALL IMAGES:  ERIC MELZER
       
     
  GOOD JOB HORSES  (A Majestic Comedy)  Presented at The Southern Theater, Minneapolis & Everwood Farmstead, Glenwood City, Wisconsin  Directed by Jon Ferguson  Created by the ensemble in collaboration with writer Kate Tarker, Good Job Horses is a new play that is part adventure comedy, part absurdist heartbreak, with horses and hot lava, romance, rebuttal and revenge. Featuring performers Charlotte Calvert, Ryan Patrick, Kate Tarker and Carly Wicks.  “ Good Job Horses comes and goes like a dream, as the creators push a surrealistic situation to the breaking point -- much to the delight of the audience. ” - City Pages  ". ..a cross between Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Thelma and Louise, and 'The Carol Burnett Show.' " - Talkin' Broadway  " ...there’s a lot here to look at and listen to: as one expects from Ferguson, the sets, lighting, and live music, are all elegant and inventive. " - The Tangential
       
     
  MUY VERY AUTHENTICO   at  Open Eye Figure Theater  December 5 - 15 2013 Conceived and directed by Jon Ferguson Created with the ensemble  Muy Very Authentico is a wild and madcap, accidental-adventure story exploring the modern dilemma of distraction and our never-ending search for meaning, happiness and the authentic experience. The story of three American tourists, a broken down travel agency, and a married couple gone rogue in the Mexico machine. What’s real, what’s not and what’s authentic?   Developed using Theatre Forever’s signature blend of mischief, misbehavior and dynamic and visual story telling, this original new work by Jon Ferguson and the ensemble is hilarious, irreverent, ridiculous and magically transformative.  Muy Very Authentico ensemble includes Theatre Forever company members Katie Kaufmann and Allison Witham, with Lauren Rae Anderson, Francisco Benavides, Charlotte Calvert, Alex Hathaway, Kalen Keir, Brant Miller and Jason Rojas. With design by Sky Brooks, Peter Baker and Merritt Rodriquez, and production assistance from Ashton Schneider and Logan Ditz Baum.   Featuring traditional and original songs performed by Kalen Keir, Francisco Benavides, Jason Rojas, Alex Hathaway and the ensemble.   "...visual poetry exists alongside the profane... Theatre Forever captures a full range of human expression"   - Chris Garza, HowlRound    "Absurdist to the core… among the most genuinely heartwarming shows in the current flurry of holiday productions."   -  Ed Huyck, City Pages    "…childlike in its generosity of imagination; in its sincerity of emotion; and in its thrall to humor involving butts, dicks, and boobs."   -  Jay Gabler, Vita.MN    “This show is ridiculous fun - nutty performances by all!...great to have Theatre Forever at Open Eye.”  -  Susan Haas    "…a great night at the theater - I did at one point laugh until my stomach muscles ached."   -  Ellen Fenster    "…creative, hilarious, and delightfully irreverent."   -  Ann Nelson    "…made my belly and face hurt from all the yucks. I'll be thinking about it for a good while."   -  Michael Fell    "What a fantastic show! I loved it so much”   -  Scott Pakudaitis    "Muy Very Authentico is very very good! Go go go.”   -  Chase Burns    ALL IMAGES: BILL CAMERON
       
     
  THE BIG SHOW   Southern Theatre, Minneapolis   Theatre Forever presents THE BIG SHOW, a new original work created by director and playmaker Jon Ferguson, writer Dominic Orlando, actor-creator Brant Miller, and the ensemble. THE BIG SHOW was preformed March 7, 2014 at The Southern Theater in Minneapolis MN.  Description: Welcome to THE BIG SHOW – where your life might-just-maybe get a little bit better! Win a speedyboat, a brand new 1978 Jaguar, or Puerto Vallarta! With a single spin of the wheel, your fleeting existence could be changed forever and beyond. With your host - your best friend and mine - and the father you never had… Jackie Cartwright! You’ve laughed with Jackie, you’ve cried with Jackie, but tonight after 30 years of finding Jackie Cartwright in your living room, we bid our fondest farewell. For tonight is the end. THE BIG SHOW is over and Jackie must go. A finale to end all finales, where two immensely ordinary contestants will battle it out for the crumbs of happiness, and Jackie will spin the wheel a final time.  Audiences we a part of a world première new work exploring life, death, and beyond (the greatest mystery of all). On THE BIG SHOW stars are born, meteors collide, and (if you're lucky) the end is just the beginning. Which door will you choose? Which path will you follow? And what’s behind the final curtain?  Featuring: Robert Harmaan (Please Don’t Blow up Mr. Boban – Live Action Set / Jon Ferguson), Joanna Harmon (The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Live Action Set.), Brant Miller (Muy Very Authentico*, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Four Humors), Tony Sarnicki (Super Monkey*, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow), Katelyn Skelley (A Bun For a Door Handle*, TU Dance company member), Leslie O’Neill (Zenon Dance company member).  *Theatre Forever productions.  Sound and original score by Tim Cameron, set design by Erica Zaffarano, props by Sky Brooks, costumes by Rachel Martin.  THE BIG SHOW marked Jon Ferguson’s return to The Southern Theater after his critically acclaimed productions Animal Farm, You’re My Favorite Kind of Pretty, and Or The White Whale.   
       
     
  THE BRUTES   The Brutes, was a new tragic comedy conceived and directed by Jon Ferguson, created with the ensemble, with text by Dominic Orlando, that ran from June 7 - 30 in a machine shop at 2204 Minnehaha Ave, in the Seward neighborhood of Minneapolis.   The venue was a found industrial space taken over and transformed by Theatre Forever and The Brutes artistic team. It was transformed into the bunker-nation of an unnamed war-ravaged country where the last remnant of a citizens’ army awaits the end of a long and drawn out war. Centuries of brutal boundary disputes have shrunk their country to its bitter nub—this bunker, this scattered remnant, is all that’s left of a once proud nation.  From within their shrinking, one-room no man’s land, surrounded by endless war and warlords, they eagerly await news from the front, seek international recognition from anyone who will listen, and cling desperately to the physical remnants and fragmented memories of their country. Highly physical and poetic, The Brutes explores the lengths to which we will go to survive, to retain hope, and to protect ourselves and those we cherish from the poisons of war.  The Brutes ensemble included Theatre Forever company members Dario Tangleson and Allison Witham, along with Charlotte Calvert, Robbie Hayek, Miriam Schwartz, Mitchell Seymour, and Susanna Stahlmann. Sound and original score by Tim Cameron. Lighting by Wu Chen Khoo. With production assistance from McKenna Kelly-Eiding and Ryan Patrick. Illustrated publicity image created by Theatre Forever company member, John Catron.     ALL IMAGES: BILL CAMERON
       
     
 A BUN FOR A DOOR HANDLE   Presented at Forage Modern Workshop Feb/Mar 2012  Conceived and Directed by Jon Ferguson  Created by and Featuring: Katelyn Skelley Ned Sturgis Jon Ferguson Kaleena Miller Ryan Spencer Fenja Abrams Caleb Hinz (Sound Design)  Additional Creation: Tim Cameron (Music) John Catron (development) Katie Kaufmann (development) Katie Weber (producer)  Design: Ian Knodel (Lights) Lori Opsal (Costume) Erica Zaffarano (Set) Soozin Hirschmugl (props & puppetry)  "Ferguson creates spaces where things can happen that don't happen anywhere else. He and his collaborators so clearly trust and inspire one another that you walk out of the theater into a world that feels richer than you'd realized it was before you went in." - TC Daily Planet  ALL IMAGES:  ERIC MELZER