Sunday, June 22, 2008

Holy Fuck.

Wow. Here's some really depressing news for the theatre world: Theatre de la Jeune Lune is closing. From the press release:

MINNEAPOLIS, June 22, 2008 -- The Board of Directors of the Twin Cites-based Theatre de la Jeune Lune voted this week to list the theatre’s headquarters for sale and to shut down the arts group as currently organized. Included in the decision is a planned significant reduction in artistic and administrative staff, effective July 31, 2008.

"We have reached these decisions with great regret," says Board President Bruce Neary; "however, our fiduciary responsibilities to our artists, our staff, our donors and our creditors dictate this action. We are listing the building for sale in order to fully satisfy our creditors.” Mr. Neary added, "The Board is committed to an orderly shutdown, including satisfying all existing rental obligations through September 30, 2008."

Dominique Serrand, Artistic Director said, “It has been an amazing thirty years. Few theatre companies last as long. We never sought nor desired to be an institution. Our home was always intended to be a playground in which we could gather with other adventurous souls and create the unimaginable. We have benefited enormously from the incredible generosity of this community, and especially all of the artists without whom we would never have survived this long or created as much. We can never thank them enough.”

I can't believe it. Jeune Lune has certainly had its share of financial difficulties - what regional theatre company in the US has not? - but I always thought it would pull through. For those of you unfamiliar with the company, I can't even fully explain what an influential, amazing place it is. It's always my choice for where to go when I need to remember why I do theatre, need to be inspired. Sure, they've had flops, they've tried things that didn't work sometimes - but the important thing was, they TRIED things. They were always pushing the creative envelope, and often the result was stunning in every sense. Their physicality, innovative staging, delight in every genre and period, and love of language were unmatched in the Twin Cities and rivaled any company in the country. From the artistic director's statement, it sounds like the decision to close was both artistic and financial, and it may be that the company had run its natural course. Nevertheless, it's a devastating loss to local and national theatre, and I'm heartbroken to see Jeune Lune go.

Updated: The Pioneer Press article on the closing is here. MPR is here.