Interview with Isabel Nelson, Co-Founder of Transatlantic Love Affair

Isabel Nelson is the artistic director and co-founder of Transatlantic Love Affair. She is opening a new show at the end of January at the Guthrie Theater. Here’s what she had to say…

The Playbill Collector (TPC): Give me some background on Transatlantic Love Affair.
Isabel Nelson (IN): I like to joke that we are an accidental theater company. Our first show was in 2010 for the Fringe Festival​, and at the time we had no idea that it would lead to founding a company – we just pulled together a group that we thought would work well in a devising environment and built a show!​ ​We didn’t know how audiences would receive the work – we don’t use any sets or props, and create the whole story through the ensemble onstage, so introducing that style with our first production felt like a risk. But the show was well received and the group had a wonderful dynamic which was very playful. It was such a joyful process so we realized we wanted to continue doing it. ​Since then, we’ve premiered five shows at the MN Fringe festival, all of which we’ve extended to full-length shows at the Illusion Theater, and created a new work for the Illusion, as well. We’ve even done a production at the Twin Cities Horror Festival.

TPC: Where did the name Transatlantic Love Affair come from?
IN: It’s ​inspired by ​the story of me and my husband. He’s from Portugal and is the other co-founder​ of the company​.

TPC: How did you go from the Illusion to working at the Guthrie?
IN: We were approached by the Guthrie a few years ago and ​of course we were very excited about the opportunity. They have been very generous​ and supportive in helping us make this show happen.

TPC: Give me a little background on this show.
IN: It’s called, “Promise Land”​, and is a reimagining of the story of Hansel and Gretel as a tale of immigration. The concept is Diogo’s (Diogo Lopes, Artistic Associate and co-director) – he moved here from his native Portugal in 2010. Since it’s a devised piece, created entirely by the ensemble, ​the show is evolving each day and will until the ​we open.

TPC: How many cast members are in the production?
IN: There are nine performing ensemble members and one musician​​.

TPC: For the audience members coming in, what do you want them to know?
IN: We hope to communicate the universal search for home and a sense of belonging.

For more information on the show and to purchase tickets, click here: http://www.guthrietheater.org/plays_events/plays/promise_land

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