Stop Boring Us!

Theater for the ADHD generation

The play is so not the thing. Blame cell phones or video games or Mark Zuckerberg if you like, but many 18- to 35-year-olds don’t give an LOL/OMG about local theater. Sara Marsh blames the theaters themselves. Marsh bypassed the scene almost entirely after graduating from Breck School in 1998—at 18, she pulled out of a show at Theatre in the Round to star as a nerdy cheerleader in the Hollywood pom-pom parody Sugar & Spice. Now back in Minneapolis, with occasional jaunts to Los Angeles for films, she’s launched Dark & Stormy Productions to answer a few generational complaints about theater: too many plays by old dudes for old dudes, overly long shows (“It’s the truth!” she says), and too little interaction—for Zuck’s sake, Gen Y wants to socialize! Marsh is on it. Dark & Stormy’s inaugural production, Outside Providence, consists of three one-act plays by critical darling Edward Allan Baker, whose virtues include 1) being funny, 2) being brief, 3) being alive. The show runs August 17 to September 15 in a warehouse-style office just a block off Nicollet Mall, where much of Marsh’s audience might ordinarily be pounding tacos and tequila. There’s a generous half-hour intermission to mingle and tweet, and a 45-minute concert afterward by young indie-folk bands so charming you’d expect to book them on Etsy. No curtain. No stage. No artifice at all, really. There is some entitlement in that: an audience that demands inclusion. But it may also be exactly what our most plugged-in generation truly craves: a real connection.