I admit I’m a Vikings fan and as I write this I am enjoying a sunburn from Sunday’s game. My dad has had season tickets for years so I end up at two to four games per year. As you know I’m also a huge theater-goer, and Mixed Blood’s Colossal, written by Andrew Hinderaker and directed by Will Davis, combines my love of the two beautifully. Enter the theater bobbing your head to the beat of a drumline and grab a bleacher seat (don’t worry, they’re cushioned!) to observe a pre-show football practice. Colossal is presented as four fifteen-minute quarters and there’s a score clock that counts down, as well as a halftime dance performance. Choreographer Angharad Davis figured out how to show hard-hitting football and fluid movement so seamlessly that the lay person may not even recognize the skill involved in combining the two.
While of course I appreciate all of the football-related content, the story delivers just as strongly. Early on we learn that Mike suffered a paralyzing injury during a football game in high school. Pre-injury Mike (Torsten Johnson) drifts between the past and almost as a ghost who interacts with post-injury Mike (Toby Forrest). The playwright’s notes indicate that Hinderaker specified that “the lead role must be played by an actor with a disability,” and I’m touched by the vulnerability Forrest shows throughout the show. The two actors play off each other well as they deal with a roller coaster of emotions as the details of Mike’s past unfold. David Deblieck, Ansa Akyea and Darius Dotch provide strong supporting roles that make us laugh and make us cry. Director David states, “Colossal is a battle of wills and a fight to the finish. It’s a play about losing an identity and forging a new one, and what it means to move on in the wake of trauma. Colossal is about fathers and sons, collision and flight, football, feats of strength and fighting for every inch.” Whether you love football or theater or both, this innovative play is worth your time.
Mixed Blood makes their shows incredibly accessible through a combination or memberships and their Radical Hospitality program. I have their Under 35 Membership which is only $35 and includes admission to eight (EIGHT!) shows, and in the past I’ve taken advantage of their Radical Hospitality program which allows you to see shows for free. You read that right: free. So if you don’t have time to see Colossal, make a point to see a different show in the future. But I highly recommend Colossal!