Girl From North Country at Pantages

Girl From the North Country" is now being performed at the Pantages Theatre featuring 22 songs of the Nobel Prize-winning poet-songwriter-singer Bob Dylan.

Conor McPherson is the director and playwright who was wise to choose Dylan's music to convey the message of the production.

The setting is the Laine family boarding house during the Great Depression (1934) in Duluth, Minnesota, the birthplace of Dylan. The boarding house is facing foreclosure but is still buzzing with guests from all walks of life.

The house is owned by Nick Laine (John Schiappa), his wife Elizabeth (Jennifer Blood), their son Gene (Ben Biggers), and adopted daughter Marianne (Sharaé Moultrie). Most of the scenes take place inside the house.

Onstage were placed a piano and a set of drums which an assortment of actors and musicians would play throughout the performance creating a sense of community and a feeling of the beat generation that was the origin of Dylan's compositions. The onstage quartet placed in the left rear corner consisted of a harmonium, guitar, violin, and stand-up bass. Lake Superior would also occasionally be seen onstage, a place where Dylan would go as a child to be in nature.

The costumes designed by Rae Smith also help to tell the story. And the set design creates a sense of losing hope and faith and feelings of grief that prevailed during the Great Depression.

Multiple scenarios happen throughout the production - romance, murders, toxic relationships, characters hitting rock bottom, pregnancy, dementia, adultery, among others.

Not much dialogue was needed because Dylan's music tells the story.

One of the bright spots and examples of this was when Gene and his love interest (Chiara Trentalange) sang a duet, showcasing Trentalange's beautiful voice.

The casting was brilliant. All performers were both great actors and vocalists.

At the end of the night, audience members felt gratified being able to bear witness to the genius of Dylan's music that was brought to life by extremely capable actors.

 

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