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Finding Fish at the Illusion Theater

The Illusion theater states that their "mission is to illuminate the illusions, myths and realities of our times, and catalyze personal and social change." Finding Fish, by Carlyle Brown, is currently having its World Premiere at the Illusion Theater and explores the issues and consequences of over fishing.

Steve Hendrickson as Henry, Bill McCallum as Peter, Jennifer Blagen as Fiona and Paul de Cordova as Michael. Photo by Lauren B Photography.

The play takes place in the future, when no one is able to find fish, except for Peter, a secluded fisherman in a small town in Maine. His success in fishing has revitalized his town, creating hundreds jobs and making him somewhat of a local hero. The play begins when his brother Micheal, an oceanographer, returns home to ask him to speak at a symposium. Asks him to share some of his methods, to help educate others on how to find the fish. Peter resists and in the next two hours we see the tension held in this family over the fish crisis unfold among the two brothers, along with their father Henry, and Peter's new and very strange wife Fiona.

The cast is full of some of the Twin Cities best; Bill McCallum, Paul de Cordova, Steve Hendrickson, and Jennifer Blagen. They all are fully invested in their characters, giving very convincing performances.

The wide stage on the eighth floor of the Cowles Center is transformed into a very intimate space by set designer Dean Holtzman. The interior of a small fisherman's cabin resides on one side of the stage and a dock juts out on the other. The backdrop is a large screen onto which projections of the weather and the ocean are shown. All of this aids in transporting the audience to a small ocean side town in Maine.

The play is very obviously a warning against overfishing, global warming and other environmental problems facing our world today. In the future when the play is set there are cities underwater, more frequent extreme weather phenomenon, and a scarcity of resources (fish) creating international political problems. Discussions about these issues are important, and are ones that I strongly believe in. But often in the play it felt as though the characters were not only preaching to each other within their arguments but they were also preaching to the audience. When the play ended with a lecture directed at the audience it felt unnecessary, as we had already blatantly been delivered the message.

Finding Fish, currently playing at the Illusion theater, is a new play with strong performances that hits you over the head with the issues at hand.

It is playing at the Illusion theater until October 29.

For more information on tickets check out their website.

Thank you to the Illusion Theater for inviting me to this performance.

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