Information, reviews, and miscellaneous shorts focusing on professional, nonprofit theater—from a Southeast Minnesota perspective.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Commonweal Apprentice Company Presents: The Metal Children

As has become the custom at the Commonweal, the Commonweal season begins with a full production by the resident apprentice company. The production comes as the capstone of a 10-month residence at the Commonweal for the 5 actors, directors, production team members, ticket-takers, box office workers, and practitioners of every job conceivable at the Commonweal. All five members of the company have been busy on stage and off during the 2011 season.

It has also become customary that the apprentice production stands up very well on the Commonweal stage. The shows are challenging, thought provoking and very well played. This year’s production of The Metal Children promises to continue this custom.

The Metal Children Gary Danciu and Rachel Kuhnle in Adam Rapp’s The Metal Children by the Commonweal Apprentice Company. Photo by Jason Underferth.

The Metal Children, written by Adam Rapp, follows a washed up young-adult novelist as he leaves his NYC apartment for the American heartland after his book, The Metal Children, is banned by a small-town school board. There he finds something more bizarre than fiction—extreme politics, radical teens, and vigilantes in Porky Pig masks—all because of his book.

Megan Pence, who served as assistant director for two productions last season, will direct. She finds that “what’s interesting about The Metal Children is how one artist’s creation can spur a multitude of consequences. An author writes a book, and it reaches further than he ever could have imagined.”

The 2012 Apprentice Company includes Pence, Gary Danciu, Brandon Grayson, Carla Joseph, and Rachel Kuhnle—all seen on the Commonweal mainstage during the 2011 season. The set, costumes, props, and sound design are also handled by the five apprentices with the addition of guest lighting designer Michael Dold, who is a senior at St. Mary’s University in Winona.

The Apprentice Program at the Commonweal Theatre is a ten month commitment designed for recent college graduates or young professionals with commensurate experience who would benefit from a prolonged relationship with a small professional theatre company. Focused primarily on experiential learning through a traditional mentor/apprentice relationship, the program affords artistic opportunities, regular classroom instruction, and administrative responsibilities in the areas of Marketing, Development, and Production.

The Metal Children has a limited run of 8 shows, Thursdays - Sundays, March 22 - April 1.

Visit the Commonweal for schedules and tickets: Commonweal Theatre (

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