By Ken LaZebnik | Directed by Jack Reuler
RiverCentre, St. Paul
Recognizing auto design as a great American art form, the disappearance of car cruising as spectator sport, and the growth of autonomous vehicles, Mixed Blood presents AUTONOMY in which auto enthusiasts, theater aficionados, and climate change activists will be transformed. Intimate groups depart every ten minutes for two hours, winding through the snaking path of this environmental thriller, hearing the scenes through ear buds, and getting a tour through Detroit and Silicon Valley as they whiz through this car-based play which foreshadows the most seismic change in transportation history, that may just solve the global climate crisis.
Part Disney ride, part auto show, and part drive-in theater, this nine-scene theatre extravaganza— commingling climate change, autonomous vehicles, and immigration—ushers its audience from scene to scene while immersed amongst 54 vintage and unique cars, 19 actors perform amidst 196 wheels, 320 cylinders, thousands of horsepower, amid 70,000 square feet to tell an intimate tale that revolutionizes transportation which could save our planet. Live performance, film, video, light show, music, and a collection of cars that you can’t see anywhere else conspire to create a one-of-a-kind spectacle.
Set in 2022 at the outset of the AV transportation revolution, Gabby, a technonerd teen Dreamer, loses her Over The Road truck driving father and avenges his demise. With ICE, Amazon, Google, and Karl in pursuit, Gabby tests whether lives can be saved by precise technology or human intervention or both.
Says Director Jack Reuler: “AUTONOMY is the most ambitious show of Mixed Blood’s 43 years, in content, form, and production. Autonomous vehicles are coming and will revolutionize transportation in ways more radical than the invention of the car itself. AUTONOMY celebrates America’s love of car culture, environmental activism, theatrical storytelling, rock concerts, and amusement park rides while following the intimate tale of a fatherless child.”
From an Isetta to a Lamborghini to a BMW Z1 to a Bricklin, viewers will gape at butterfly doors, gull wing doors, sliding car doors, suicide doors, and the entire front of the car opening. Low riders, Teslas and other electrics, and amazing flame paint jobs join celebrity cars such as the Batmobile, the Back To The Future DeLorean, Scooby Doo’s van, Austin Powers’ Jaguar XKE, and rarely seen Amphicars and Zimmers. Generations of Corvettes and automotive albatrosses like the Edsel, Corvair, Pacer, and Gremlin flank an evolution from the Holden Ute to the Chevy Cameo and El Camino to the Ford Ranchero and Subaru Baja. There just might be a comic cameo by the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, Planter’s Nutmobile, and Red Bull Mini Cooper!
Ken LaZebnik is a playwright, author, and screenwriter, heading a LA-based MFA program in screenwriting. He has written for Touched by An Angel, Star Trek, and A Prairie Home Companion. AUTONOMY marks the seventh play by Ken LaZebnik produced by Mixed Blood, preceded by African Jazz, Calvinisms, League of Nations, Vestibular Sense, Theory of Mind, and On The Spectrum.
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