At this time of year, it's never a bad thing to find a reason to smile.
And Germinal, the final installment of the 2016 Out There series at the Walker, gives you plenty of reasons to.
Germinal essentially describes the lifecycle and process of creation/enlightenment as it applies to life and art, abstracting it down to its most basic elements and then performing them in an abstruse manner. We follow four people as they discover communication, create an environment, dialogue about metaphysical questions, and then come to the understanding of their own ending. It's a great visual metaphor for life in general and would be an amazing way to teach elementary kids about the creative and story writing process.
Stage effects are key to this show, in particular lighting. The abstract light sequence at the opening of Germinal is shockingly beautiful and an awesome reminder of how one small element, such as a perfect scrim or excellent lighting design, can totally affect an entire scene. I actually wouldn't mind a brief performance of just the lighting sequence - it was mesmerizing and haunting at the same time. Ditto for key prop usage, which included a projector, pick axe, pulleys and innovative floor tile that managed to transform a blank stage into a rich environment with very few elements.
The tone for Germinal remained lighthearted and the audience audibly laughed through several portions of the show, a refreshing change from some of the über-heavy material the Walker can promote. It was a great way to stay out of the inclement weather and a positive way to wrap up Out There 2016, sad as I am to see it go. Germinal was packed, so make sure to order tickets ASAP if you want to see it before the weekend is out.
For more information about the Out There series or the (excellent) current series of exhibits at the Walker, click on this link.