You’ll have to move quickly, but it would be worth heading up to the Dowling Studio at the Guthrie Theater over the next week to see “My Father’s Bookshelf,” the latest creation from the manic folks at Live Action Set.
Bold, funny and more than a little confounding, “My Father’s Bookshelf” delves into the world of Alzheimer’s via the experience of a single family. The patriarch, played by Theatre de la Jeune Lune vet Robert Rosen, has been slipping for years. We learn of his plight via his wife (fellow former Jeune Luner Barbra Berlovitz) his children and various doctors, therapists and lecturers (played by Jason Ballweber, Megan Odell and Dario Tangelson).
Despite the title (which is explained in perhaps a too-obvious moment at show’s end), the father’s memories and life are represented by a fleet of refrigerators that dot the stage. They don’t all contain food however; some are packed with clothes, or the various medications needed, or other pieces of his life that have slipped away. This makes for some intriguing set pieces and quick jokes, such as one being used for an MRI machine, followed by his “brain” — a Jell-O mold — being pulled out of the freezer.
The loosely connected segments fold upon each other, creating an on-stage confusion that represents the confusion in life that comes with the disease. Not all of the show — crafted by the performers and directors Noah Bremer and Galen Treuer — hits, but for all the chaos the piece reaches deep into the heart. The shuttering of Jeune Lune last year left a real void in the local theater community, but companies like Live Action Set help to keep that manic spirit alive.
“My Father’s Bookshelf” runs through June 28 at the Dowling Studio, the Guthrie Theater, 818 S. 2nd St., Minneapolis. Tickets are $18-$34. For information and tickets, call 612.377.2224 or visit online.