Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Pleasantly Passing Through Pig's Eye

You won't be able to stay in your seat during this infectious show

Did you know that an alcoholically-inclined fur trapper founded St. Paul? No?

Well it's true. Long before St. Paul was the city of gangsters, long before it was even known as St. Paul, it was known as Pig's Eye after the nickname of the man who founded the first distillery in one of the caves by the river.
This neat tidbit of history, as well as a host of other strange but interesting facts, are strewn throughout Passing Through Pig's Eye, the thoroughly unique show being hosted by Park Square Theater and performed by Joe Chvala and the Flying Foot Forum. It's a little bit of everything: a little theater, a little tap, a little jazz, a little comedy, a little modern dance, a little walking tour, and a whole lot of fun.

Passing Through Pig's Eye could easily fall into the trap of being too big for it's britches. It runs at well over two hours (nearer to three, at the performance I attended) and contains what appears to be a random mix of vignettes. It's really a conglomeration of a tap/jazz history of St. Paul, and a totally abstract modern dance piece. Somehow, however, this odd combination works.
I am the first person to complain about shows that are too long, but this supremely talented cast really sells the show. The dancing is straight up phenomenal, and even extras give every toe tap their last drop of energy. This zeal is infectious, and good thing - there is plenty of audience participation to go along with it.

I can't possibly list every individual member of the cast, but I do have to give strong props to Joe Chvala, who created the show and whose touch infects every inch of it. It takes a lot of work to create such a thoroughly original piece and then to get 20+ other people on board to perform it with you. I am totally intrigued by Chvala's inner mind (what *did* possess him to come up with this concept?) and I hope to see a lot more of him. And, I can't emphasize enough: the dancing is AWESOME guys. If you are a dance fan of any stripe, there are steps in here for you. Please check it out.
If you don't have plans this weekend (Passing Through Pig's Eye closes Sunday!!), please make sure to stop by Park Square Theater and check it out. It's such a great way to take advantage of the beauty of downtown St. Paul, the last of our nice weather, and to learn something to boot. For more information or to get tickets, please click on this link.