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