April 7, 2023

December 9 – 18 at Mixed Blood Theatre
Two years in the making – a play reflecting the diverse voices of the MN adoption community has its world premiere opening

MINNEAPOLIS (Nov. 30, 2016) — Wonderlust Productions is staging the world premiere of its original work, “In My Heart: The Adoption Play Project,” at Mixed Blood Theatre this December.

This one-of-a-kind, professional stage production was created in collaboration with the adoption community – adoptees, social workers, adoptive parents, birth parents, and foster parents – bringing to life real stories from Minnesota’s adoption community.

Starring a cast mixing adoption community members and professional artists, this play is a fictional blending of hundreds of local stories. Contributors to the project span the ages of 14 to 80, and include voices from the African American, Native American, and Korean American communities.

The issues interwoven in the adoption narrative are complex: transracial adoption, open vs. sealed birth records, the lingering effects of historical prejudices against young or unwed mothers, etc. In spite of the fact that more than 60% of Americans today are somehow connected to adoption, according to Donaldson Adoption Institute, a leading Adoption Research, adoption remains a largely overlooked and misunderstood topic.

Wonderlust is proud to be presenting this insightful, heartfelt new work after a two-year collaboration process involving story circles, workshops, and public staged readings with the local adoption community.

When Alice and Lewis’s parents meet at their engagement party, misunderstandings and miscommunications about adoption lead to a trip down the rabbit hole.

Can Alice, her sister Jen, her fiancé Lewis, and their extended family survive adoption’s mixture of delight and darkness, absurd bureaucracy and hopeful fantasy, joy and sorrow — not to mention an anxious White Rabbit, a cryptic Caterpillar, and a vengeful Queen of Hearts?

As guests attending this unique engagement party, audiences will be immersed in an epic journey told through story, song, dance and a chorus of adoption community members sharing their life stories and memories ranging from joy to grief, tragedy to fairytale, in their own words.

Co-written and directed by Alan Berks and Leah Cooper, the Adoption Play Project will feature original music by Aaron Gabriel and choreography by Tamara Ober. The production/designer team also includes Deb Ervin, C. Andrew Mayer, Andrea Gross, Mike Grogan, Zeb Hults, Sarah Salisbury, Adam Whisner, and Mindy Eschedor.

Who: Wonderlust Productions
What: Adoption Play Project, an original play made with and about the adoption community.
Where: Mixed Blood Theatre is located at 1501 S. 4th St. Minneapolis, MN 55454
When: Opening: 8 p.m., Friday, Dec 9
8 PM, Saturday, Dec 10
2 PM, Sunday, Dec 11 (audio description)
8 PM, Thursday, Dec 15
8 PM, Friday, Dec 16
3 PM, Saturday, Dec 17 (ASL)
8 PM, Saturday, Dec 17
2 PM, Sunday, Dec 18
*Post show discussions immediately follow each performance.

Tickets: $25. Discounts available. Tickets may be purchased online via Brown Paper Tickets at: http://bit.ly/2dB91dE For more information visit wlproductions.org

Adoption is defined as the act of placing a person under the age of 18 with a parent or parents who aren’t biologically related to them. Adoption challenges naturalistic, simple concepts of family and intersects with issues in society related to law, class, and identity. As such, the consequences of adoption effect everyone involved far beyond the simple legal act itself.

Those effects often remain throughout a person’s life whether in an adoptee’s sense of self-worth or sense of security, or a birth parent’s sense of guilt or responsibility. The concept of family is a cornerstone on which we build our society, yet this aspect of defining a family was not even counted on the United States census until the year 2000. Still today, adoption is often a quiet or secret fact throughout every family gathering.

Wonderlust adapts the Cornerstone Theater community-driven model (now in its 27th year in California) to Minnesota’s talented theater community and rich diversity of citizens to create theater that truly invites everyone in, to forge new ways of seeing our common experiences, to transform the past into a better future.

Minnesota theater leaders Leah Cooper and Alan Berks combined their production companies (Footprints Collective and Alan Berks and Company) to Co-Found this community-driven ensemble. Since forming in 2014, Wonderlust won a St. Paul Knight Arts Challenge grant to create a community-driven production about people who work at the state Capitol. This year, Wonderlust partnered with Park Square Theater and the University of St. Thomas to co-produce Six Characters in Search of an Author by Luigi Pirandello in a unique adaptation that included the voices of St. Thomas students.

The Wonderlust company is comprised of seasoned veterans in the Twin Cities theater and arts community. Read more about them at: http://wonderlustproductions.org/people/

The development of the Adoption Play Project is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

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