An exclusive night of theater benefits a good cause on Friday, July 26, as the Guthrie Theater partners with All Square for the dress rehearsal of the world premiere of Floyd’s.
Written by Lynn Nottage, the only woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama twice, the sharp comedy centers on a truck stop sandwich shop offering its formerly incarcerated employees hope for survival.
All Square, also a sandwich shop bringing employment to formerly incarcerated people, opened its doors to the public nearly a year ago on September 8, 2018. But in addition to a paycheck, All Square provides therapy, support, and professional training in law and entrepreneurship to its fellows.
The performance, directed by Kate Whoriskey, provides a window into the lives of employees at Floyd’s (named after its tough owner). Comedic, but simultaneously vulnerable, the show presents a team of line cooks working under Zen Master Montrellous as they rebuild their lives and “learn the secret art of making the perfect sandwich,” according to play’s description.
Justice-impacted individuals can face barriers to employment, housing, and higher education, which ultimately creates difficulties for reentry, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
All Square founder Emily Hunt Turner has more on her mind than just Friday’s fundraiser. After some additional upcoming performances of Floyd’s, there will be panel discussions including All Square fellows. The focus will be to encourage a changing discourse on reentry, criminality, and barriers faced by the justice-impacted.
“Hopefully the broader takeaway is, like this notion that some of us are criminals and some aren’t is fundamentally untrue,” Turner says. “We all know that mass incarceration has been terribly destructive. We all know that the criminal justice system is pretty critically flawed. All Square’s one of many orgs part of the momentum in challenging this notion of being a criminal and criminality.”
The concept of a grilled cheese restaurant originated from Turner wanting to be an employer providing a paycheck to the fellows, and the rest followed.
“The institute came from, ‘Well, how can we do more than just provide a paycheck?’” Turner says. “You know, understanding that ultimately short- and long-term gains probably won’t come from that piece, and really wanting to be honestly quite anti-racist and really intentional about how we invest in our fellows.”
While the restaurant serves up gourmet, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and regular grilled cheese to its patrons, the Institute and Dream Lab provides an opportunity for the fellows to grow, hope, and dream.
To support All Square, buy tickets for the Friday, July 26, 7:30 p.m. show of Floyd’s on the Guthrie’s website. And rest easy, all of the proceeds will be going to All Square. Ameriprise will also match up to $10,000 of donations.
If you can’t make it to the show, head to All Square’s website and learn how else you can help. Or just stop by their restaurant at 4047 Minnehaha Ave. in Minneapolis and buy a gooey, oozing sandwich like the Punch ‘n Crunch, Jerk Chicken, or the Classic Four Cheese.