Past Productions



2018

Photo: Heidi Bohnenkamp. Design: Kevin Cannon.

Presented in production with Myron Frisch, in Partnership with Artspace and NAMI Minnesota, at the Grain Belt Warehouse

Sally Wingert and Sara Marsh in 'Night, Mother. Photo: Rich Ryan.
"Sally Wingert and Sara Marsh's intertwined performances reveal a beautiful, upsetting play. [...] In addition to the spare excellence of her performance, Marsh designed the set [...] Director Hayley Finn and the actors have pitched the performance perfectly for Dark & Stormy's intimate space, where we can see Wingert's face express every one of the five stages of grief, and even a few new ones. [...] the actors are so strikingly in tune with each other [...] It is so minutely detailed in the emotional shifts of its characters and so up-close and personal, that each audience member is asked to bring their own unique experiences of grief and loneliness to bear on it - and part of the enduring strength of the play is that there is so much room in it for all of us."
- Chris Hewitt, Star Tribune

Sally Wingert and Sara Marsh in 'Night, Mother. Photo: Rich Ryan.
"The talented [Sara] Marsh gives perhaps her best performance to date, and she matches veteran [Sally] Wingert marvelously. Marsh plays Jessie as a person drained of any drop of hope. It shows palpably in her face and physicality. [...] [Sally Wingert] is the most acclaimed Twin Cities actress of our generation...Her performances in Spinning Into Butter, Third, Master Class, and Wit, are legendary. However, Wingert gets under the skin of Thelma in a more visceral way than I've ever seen her submit to in any role she's ever played."
- John Townsend, Lavender Magazine

Sara Marsh and Sally Wingert in 'Night, Mother. Photo: Rich Ryan.
"Every once in a while, a play is so perfectly cast that it would be hard to imagine, moving forward, ever seeing it with anyone else in the roles. [...] Put in the hands of the marvelously talented Sally Wingert and Sara Marsh, this sturdy play rises to a transcendent level. Wingert portrays Thelma without any vanity, stopping at nothing to convey a mother facing her darkest fear. Marsh manages to tone down her natural radiance and express the emptiness and resolution that guide Jessie's hand. [...] Dark & Stormy Production knows how to work with this kind of challenging material, giving 'Night, Mother a definitive staging that will long be remembered as an example of the excellence found on Twin Cities stages."
- Arthur Dorman, Talkin' Broadway

Sally Wingert and Sara Marsh in 'Night, Mother. Photo: Rich Ryan.
"[Sally] Wingert, a consummate actor drawn to challenging roles, is heartbreakingly angry and confused as Thelma; a woman whose had her share of travails but won't relinquish her spark of life. Opposite Wingert, [Sara] Marsh conveys an eerily upbeat resolution in the face of overwhelming sadness, a sort of reverse eclipse of the heart. [...] Marsh designed the set, with furniture suspended by wires to convey a sense of surreal drifting. Everything that Thelma thought she could rely on, from her daughter to the electric oven, seems poised to float away. It's no wonder the play has been lauded...'Night, Mother is a precarious fiction, an unsettling and unforgettable fever dream."
- Jay Gabler, City Pages

Sally Wingert and Sara Marsh in 'Night, Mother. Photo: Rich Ryan.
"'Night, Mother calls for actors who can handle the emotional demands and brutal honesty, who can convince us they've known each other forever and are standing together on an awful precipice. [Sally] Wingert is, of course, Wingert, seen on Twin Cities stages everywhere because she's so damn good. [Sara] Marsh steps into Jessie's shoes with fierce conviction. Both give tremendous and fearless performances."
- Pamela Espeland, MinnPost


Sally Wingert and Sara Marsh in 'Night, Mother. Photo: Rich Ryan.
"At first glance, the set for Dark & Stormy Productions' staging of 'Night, Mother is typical of a domestic drama. But then you notice that almost all of these elements are actually suspended...The furniture, then, floats about six inches above the surface...almost - but not quite - making contact with the hard and tangible reality of the floor. [...] [Sally] Wingert's most affecting moments in the close quarters of the Grain Belt Warehouse space come when, depressed and helpless, her Thelma listens...eyes searching, lips quivering, seemingly unable to draw a deep breath. [...] As the suicidal but clear-eyed Jessie...[Sara] Marsh is able to...bring to light a different form of grief...a sense of impenetrable hopelessness that has the character believing - in her own words - that 'I'm what was worth waiting for. And I didn't make it.'"
- Dominic Papatola, Pioneer Press

Sally Wingert and Sara Marsh in 'Night, Mother. Photo: Rich Ryan.
"I often say that two-person plays are my favorite...This is one such play, and both Sally [Wingert] and Sara [Marsh] give among the best performances I've seen from either of them. [...] This is not the first time these two have worked together, or played mother and daughter, and that shows in their intertwined performances that are a beautiful dialogue."
- Jill Schafer, Cherry and Spoon


Sally Wingert and Sara Marsh in 'Night, Mother. Photo: Rich Ryan.



Photo: Hilary Roberts. Design: Kevin Cannon.

Presented in production with Myron Frisch at the Grain Belt Warehouse

Emily Bridges and Sara Marsh in The Maids. Photo: Rich Ryan.

"A number of details in this sure-handed production (directed by [Sara] Marsh) underscore the blurring of artifice and reality: The audience in arranged in a U shape around the bedroom, so we're essentially in the boudoir with the women. Light and sound cues are highlighted with jarring noises and clearly visible technicians. And, as the maids play their little mind games, they keep switching characters and even names [...] The play is a chilly, intellectual piece of work, much more stylized than either the book or the movie but the living, breathing actors give it a warmth and immediacy that make it feel extremely current. What if these smart, funny women saw themselves as allies, I found myself thinking, instead of enemies? What if the real tragedy in 'The Maids' is not a murder that may or may not happen, but the fact that these characters waste their time bickering when they could be uniting to face the real enemies that entrap them all?"
- Chris Hewitt, Star Tribune

Sara Marsh (top) and Jane Froiland (bottom) in The Maids. Photo: Rich Ryan.
"[Sara] Marsh directs the production, having stepped for original director Mel Day when a health issue arose just as rehearsals were starting. The inevitable strain of that unexpected transition doesn't show in this coherent, fluid production that benefits from Mary Shabatura's typically rich lighting design...the show is a tour de force for Marsh, who's always good and has perhaps never been better than in the role of Solange, one that seems tailor-made for her gifts of supreme resolve and physical fearlessness. [Jane] Froiland captures Claire's vulnerability, a weakness that plays out as she melts before the seeming generosity of a confident [Emily] Bridges."
- Jay Gabler, City Pages

Jane Froiland and Sara Marsh in The Maids. Photo: Rich Ryan.
"Visually, the petite, dark-haired [Sara] Marsh, and the half-a-head-taller, blonde [Jane] Froiland present a physical contrast that reinforces the different attitudes of their characters, even as those attitudes intersect and blur. The two performers have a fine sense of chemistry and trust, wrestling fearlessly through Annie Enneking's fight choreography. In the close confines of a second-floor performance space in the Northeast Minneapolis' Grain Belt Warehouse, the sometimes-sisterly, sometimes-sexual energy between these two characters is palpable."
- Dominic Papatola, Pioneer Press

Emily Bridges in The Maids. Photo: Rich Ryan.
"Dark & Stormy's captivating revival is artfully served by Mary Shabatura's lighting and C. Andrew Mayer's sound design. [...] Director [Sara] Marsh renders Genet's text with suitably brisk vitality [...] and a clear understanding of the role play the two maids enact through much of the text...Claire, as played by Jane Froiland, and Solange, as played by director Marsh, deftly maneuver through the ricochet interplay...Emily Bridges' Madame contrasts the pair with disarming vulnerability. She resists the stereotypes of an unlikeable snobbish rich lady or a saucy femme fatale spoiled by her rich gangster lover. It's an effective choice as Bridges makes us sympathetic to Madame...and provides a moral compass for how the audience should reflect on what's being plotted against her."
- John Townsend, Lavender Magazine


Jane Froiland and Sara Marsh in The Maids. Photo: Rich Ryan.
"'The Maids' features soaring performances by Sara Marsh and Jane Froiland. Emily Bridges also has a brief but forceful turn in the supporting role of The Madame. These rapturous, powerful performances should not be missed. If you like great acting, you've got to see it...Marsh's directing is solid, particularly in the way she was able to generate such superb performances. [...] The design elements are all remarkably good -- especially the costumes [by Lisa Jones], which evoke an atmosphere of luxury and faint exhibitionism. And I cannot emphasize enough the genius in the performances: Marsh and Froiland offer the best acting I've seen in a year of theater-going."
- Kit Bix, Minnesota Playlist

Emily Bridges and Jane Froiland in The Maids. Photo: Rich Ryan.
"Jane Froiland is convincing as both the pretend Madame, and the less powerful sister, Claire. Sara Marsh (who also directs) is particularly strong in Solange's final monologue that covers the full gamut of emotions. Emily Bridges (yes, of The Bridges) has too little stage time as the Madame, floating in wearing a beautiful green dress (costume design by Lisa Jones), and almost blinding bling, like a summer breeze that's gone too soon."
- Jill Schafer, Cherry and Spoon

Jane Froiland and Sara Marsh in The Maids. Photo: Rich Ryan.
"The space is intimate. The actors are rarely more than 15 feet away. Plays here are always about the performances. The rarely performed 1947 drama The Maids is breathless, dreamily vicious...displays a dark and wondrous beauty. [...] ([Sara] Marsh directs, and her grasp of this flighty, not-easy material is excellent). [...] The production is funny...the performances are first rate."
- John Olive, How Was The Show

Sara Marsh in The Maids. Photo: Rich Ryan.




2017

Photo: Melissa Hesse. Design: Kevin Cannon.

Presented in production with Myron Frisch and David and Cindy Lutz, with Patricia Johnson, in Partnership with Artspace, at the Grain Belt Warehouse


Sara Marsh and James Rodríguez in Fool For Love. Photo: Rich Ryan.
"Shepard's plays are full of hard truths and shattered illusions, and you can emerge from some productions feeling like you've been boxed about the ears. Here, though, director Mel Day finds a lighter tone, leaving an even more precipitous plunge to the play's chilling conclusion. [...] This engaging production serves as a welcome reminder that although Shepard is gone, his work is still very much alive."
- Jay Gabler, City Pages

Antonio Duke and James Rodríguez in Fool For Love. Photo: Rich Ryan.
"Director Mel Day's multiracial cast is a wonderful testament to the playwright's universality as each actor manifests their character with a textured sense of a contemporary West fallen from grace and mythos. [...] Sara Marsh's fiery May is utterly feline...James Rodríguez finds Eddie's compulsively possessive characteristic...Antonio Duke gives a fine performance that blends right in with the leading couple, onto the roller-coaster that the volatile pair careen away on...and Patrick Coyle's Old Man is the best I've ever seen...this is a must-see production"
- John Townsend, Lavender Magazine

Patrick Coyle and Sara Marsh in Fool For Love. Photo: Rich Ryan.
"Directed by Mel Day, Dark & Stormy's production is unique in many ways. The small, scrappy company run by Sara Marsh has stripped the play down to its basics: a bed, a rug, a few sticks of furniture, a window suggesting a parking lot with a menacing Mercedes idling outside. Marsh and James Rodríguez are steamy and doomed as lovers Eddie and May; Patrick Coyle is explosive as the Old Man; and newcomer Antonio Duke, as Martin, is a decent guy caught up in everyone else's mess. Staged in a warehouse studio, in your face and almost in your lap, this is as up-close-and-personal as theater gets."
- Pamela Espeland, MinnPost

Sara Marsh and James Rodríguez in Fool For Love. Photo: Rich Ryan.
"Fool For Love...is a perfect vehicle for Dark & Stormy Productions. [...] Dark & Stormy has mounted a production that serves up a cocktail of heat, danger and irony, with performances that seem to be squeezed whole from the text of the play. [...] Even if you have seen [Fool For Love], you are still advised not to miss Dark & Stormy's production, for its insights into the dynamic between May and Eddie, and for the excellent performances."
- Arthur Dorman, Talkin' Broadway

Patrick Coyle and James Rodríguez in Fool For Love. Photo: Rich Ryan.
"This intimate setting...makes one feel like they're right in that seedy motel with May and Eddie... [...] Being that close to the action of the play means the actors have nowhere to hide, and they don't. Rather, they're all incredibly open and vulnerable and present in this messy situation. Sara Marsh and James Rodríguez have a dark and intense chemistry...and are individually strong as well inhabiting these complex characters. Patrick Coyle is an ominous presence as the old man...Antonio Duke is May's sweet and normal date who unknowingly gets involved...The whole cast works well together under Mel Day's direction, with great use of the almost in-the-round space. If you've never experienced Sam Shepard's work, Dark & Stormy's intense and gripping Fool for Love is a great place to start."
- Jill Schafer, Cherry and Spoon

Sara Marsh and James Rodríguez in Fool For Love. Photo: Rich Ryan.
"Dark & Stormy's flexible space brings the action right into audience's laps...the hot and cold relationship between Eddie and May plays out just a few feet away, and the Old Man rocks silently on his chair just as close to the action. [...] Sara Marsh and James Rodríguez bring an appropriate amount of heat as May and Eddie...Patrick Coyle's steely intensity...is arresting and his presence looms (as it should) over the whole show. Antonio Duke brings a fresh look to Martin, who often comes off as just a wallflower...Duke, however, offers up some inner strength that Martin usually doesn't have."
- Ed Huyck, Massed Gadgets of Hercules

James Rodríguez, Sara Marsh, and Antonio Duke in Fool For Love. Photo: Rich Ryan.
 


2016


Photo: Melissa Hesse. Design: Kevin Cannon.

Presented in production with The Mount Curve Company, with North Star Theatricals and Triumph Productions, in Partnership with Artspace, at the Grain Belt Warehouse


Back row: Jane Froiland, Luverne Seifert; Front row: Sara Marsh in The Norwegians. Photo: Melissa Hesse.
 "The acting company has a rollicking time with this one-act, channeling over-sized characters. [Luverne] Seifert's Tor...swings between the serious and the silly. His deadpan delivery is often at odds with his menace, a disjuncture lined with comic gold. Rodríguez's Gus is the funny hit man and his actions humorously compromise him. [Jane] Froiland gives Olive a charming loopiness. And Sara Marsh, who plays Olive's friend and drinking buddy, Betty, commands the stage with gusto...this preposterous, dark comedy is not just a send up. It's a paean to the hardy, aspirational people who settled Minnesota."
- Rohan Preston, Star Tribune

From L: Luverne Seifert, Sara Marsh, Jane Froiland, and James Rodríguez in The Norwegians. Photo: Melissa Hesse.
  "If you're thinking Coen Brothers, you're not far off in terms of dark, screwball humor...[And] the cast is game and gifted. [Luverne] Seifert, bug-eyed and vaguely threatening, is convincing enough to make you buy the goofy premise that the Norwegian mob would be concerned about quality control and admire "very prompt" Swiss hit-men...[James] Rodríguez's character is only part Norwegian, and so is allowed to -- you know -- express emotion. Jane Froiland is appropriately weepy and scheme-y, perpetually perplexed at the goings-on around her. And [Sara] Marsh trods the line between grim groundedness and insanity, proffering a darker take on living and loving in the north."
- Dominic Papatola, Pioneer Press


Luverne Seifert, Jane Froiland, and James Rodríguez in The Norwegians. Photo: Melissa Hesse.
"Swanson's script is full of twisty, noir-ish manipulation. It's laugh-out-loud stuff that luxuriates in its Minnesotan-ness...a treatment that could easily go over-the-top in the hands of less capable performers, but Dark & Stormy Productions has assembled an unimpeachable cast...every character here has multiple moments that require going big while delivering sharp, stylized dialogue. Director and set coordinator Joel Sass is justly celebrated for his creative use of space...Most memorably, flashback sequences are signified by the actors pausing a scene, then mimicking a videotape on rewind. It's a great visual that elicits laughs from the crowd, but it's also a strangely unsettling thing to watch. That feels like a capsule of what The Norwegians strives for, and by and large accomplishes: it's a clever, verbose very funny piece of work riding on a dark undercurrent that keeps coming tantalizingly close to bubbling over."
- Ira Brooker, Minnesota Playlist

Sara Marsh and Jane Froiland in The Norwegians. Photo: Melissa Hesse.
"The cast is just right, something we've come to expect from D&S. [Luverne] Seifert is cuddly evil...[James] Rodríguez, whose last role with D&S was as the rapist in 'Extremities,' shines as a Norwegian with 'a little bit of something else in him.' [Sara] Marsh packs Betty with bitterness and colorful language...she delivers a colorful oration on the Norwegians that made one audience member laugh until he cried. It's fun to watch [Jane] Froiland as Olive discover her murderous rage...Joel Sass' direction allows for no lag time...[C. Denby] Swanson's script is crisp, sharp and loaded with laughs, none of which will make you feel guilty...It's a black comedy, an entertainment, carried off with D&S's usual big imagination and small budget."
- Pamela Espeland, MinnPost

James Rodríguez and Luverne Seifert in The Norwegians. Photo: Melissa Hesse.
 "In an intimate performance arena like Dark & Stormy's space at the Grain Belt Warehouse, one weak cast member might ruin the show. 'The Norwegians' escapes that failing, getting strong performances from all four: Luverne Seifert (Tor), James Rodríguez (Gus), Sara Marsh (Betty), and Jane Froiland (Olive). Rodríguez, especially, stands out...Directed by Joel Sass, 'The Norwegians' is full of good moments in a single, 90-minute act. It manages to skewer many of Minnesota's most sacred icons...without descending to downright mockery...[And] there's just something appealing about mobsters in parkas."
- Eric Ringham, Minnesota Public Radio

Sara Marsh and Jane Froiland in The Norwegians. Photo: Melissa Hesse.
"The Norwegians is a cross between A Prairie Home Companion and Fargo, with more edge than the former but without the latter's ominous cloud of despair. Director Joel Sass and his dynamic and dynamite four-person cast bring this wacky story to life in an intimate setting, providing a truly entertaining 90 minutes of theater."
- Jill Schafer, Cherry and Spoon


James Rodríguez in The Norwegians. Photo: Melissa Hesse.


Photo: Melissa Hesse. Design: Kevin Cannon.

Presented in production with North Star Theatricals and The Mount Curve Company, in Partnership with Artspace at the Grain Belt Warehouse


Robert Dorfman, Sally Wingert, & Sara Marsh in And So It Goes. Photo: Melissa Hesse.
 "Walker's play is perfect for Dark & Stormy Productions, the tiny company that has become a playground for some of the best actors in the Twin Cities...Comedy and tragedy are a volatile mixture, but the acting company (under the able direction of Benjamin McGovern) handles it with aplomb. [Sara] Marsh makes Karen's mental illness real and visceral. [James] Craven is perfect as an imaginary guide through times. [Sally] Wingert and [Robert] Dorfman are the glue here."
- Ed Huyck, Star Tribune

James Craven in And So It Goes. Photo: Melissa Hesse.
"Walker keeps the action light-footed with acerbic humor and rapid scene changes, fluidly negotiated by the confident cast under the direction of Benjamin McGovern, with the assistance of Mary Shabatura's dynamic lighting...The cast are completely at ease with these deeply uneasy characters, to the point that it's frightening to watch them as they skate off the rails...It's a strong staging of a play that asks hard questions about life and fate, with characters who are terrified that they might have discovered the unwelcome answers."
- Jay Gabler, City Pages

Sara Marsh, And So It Goes. Photo: Melissa Hesse.
"That's a good way to think of it: some high-powered acting talent sharing the room with you -- maybe sitting in the chair next to yours...Vonnegut is played by the rock-steady James Craven...[Sara] Marsh does something with her eyes that conveys a lack of focus, a detachment...she seems authentically disturbed -- maybe even a little dangerous. Much more dangerous is [Robert] Dorfman's Ned. When he smiles malevolently at the audience, his menace seems real...[Sally] Wingert appears unhinged from the start. Her character remains confident in her perceptions, even as they prove wrong...Reason to go: the cast."
- Eric Ringham, Minnesota Public Radio

Robert Dorfman & Sally Wingert in And So It Goes. Photo: Melissa Hesse.
"Presenting plays most of us haven't seen before, in spaces never meant for plays, on topics including sexual violence, torture, murder, mental illness and the abuse of power, Dark & Stormy Productions...makes us think and feel. And it brings us close to some of the cities' top actors, who seem to relish stepping off the cities' bigger stages into Dark & Stormy's tight-budget, stripped-down events With 'And So It Goes,' Dark & Stormy continues its tradition of unexpected stories told by stellar casts. Each new play reinforces its reputation as a company worth watching and taking a chance on. More, please."
- Pamela Espeland, MinnPost

James Craven in And So It Goes. Photo: Melissa Hesse.
 "Dark & Stormy has another hit with And So It Goes...[Sally] Wingert is a gem here, a flask of vinegar as the too-long suffering caregiver who has given up the pretense of caring. [Sara] Marsh is a marvel of manic terror one moment, viscous character assasination another, the soul of reason the next minute. [Robert] Dorfman remarkably maintains Ned's basic essence as he shifts from good naturedly turning the other cheek into a vigilante out to avenge his daughter's destroyer. James Craven is Vonnegut, his distinguished voice creating an air of calm and authority, unflappable. Lisa Jones has done fine work on costumes, and Mary Shabatura's lighting design beautifully guides the flow of action. Dark & Stormy Productions continues its undefeated record."
- Arthur Dorman, Talkin' Broadway

Robert Dorfman & Sara Marsh in And So It Goes. Photo: Melissa Hesse.
"What a cast! And So It Goes features the acting stylings of Sally Wingert (the family fixer, drinking but never feeling that ineffable Williamsesque "click"); James Craven (precise and resonant, brilliantly analytical); Robert Dorfman (louche and weirdly loose, gleefully self-obsessed); and Sara Marsh (troubled, given to barely-controlled hysteria, beautifully illogical). Brilliantly directed by Benjamin McGovern, these characters compel. Kudos to the design team, who give And So It Goes real oomph: Mary Shabatura (lights), Lisa Jones (costumes), Aaron Newman (sound), and Katie Phillips (properties)."
- John Olive, How Was The Show?

Sara Marsh & Sally Wingert in And So It Goes. Photo: Melissa Hesse.
 

2015 


Photo: Melissa Hesse. Design: Kevin Cannon.
 Presented in Partnership with Artspace at the Grain Belt Warehouse

Sara Marsh* & Nels Lennes in Sunshine. Photo by Melissa Hesse.
 "A gritty and darkly funny one-act play...with acting that delves into the psychological gnarliness of the situation. [Nels] Lennes, a co-founder of HUGE Theater, is a big, burly fellow who could clearly swing his weight around. But he seems restrained, even gentle...It is Sunshine, played by [Sara Marsh] a petite performer who punches way above her weight, who gives a sense of menace...imagine Lady Macbeth as a working girl, struggling to find a way to get her soul some nourishing light."
- Rohan Preston, Star Tribune

Sara Marsh* & Tony Sarnicki in Sunshine. Photo by Melissa Hesse.
"This production [of Sunshine] is a gift for audiences willing to embark on a riveting emotional ride...This is the third year in a row that Dark & Stormy has offered audiences a well-made and deeply engrossing December show. It's a Christmas gift I'll gladly take -- and so should you."
- Ed Huyck, City Pages
 

Nels Lennes & Sara Marsh* in Sunshine. Photo by Melissa Hesse
"Sara Marsh is terrific as Sunshine, a part that could have been written for her talents. She is by turns sexy, wound-up, funny and smart, and projects a vulnerability that cloaks an inner strength that has enabled her to survive a life of hard knocks. Nels Lennes matches her as Nelson, convincingly creating a man who is too kind-hearted to turn Sunshine away...he makes visible his increasing hurt and vulnerability. Tony Sarnicki makes a palpable leap from innocence to obsession. [Director] Mel Day has created a synergy between these characters that bring meaning beyond the words they utter. Lisa Jones' costumes are spot on, and Mary Shabatura's sound and light designs bring further connections to the reality of Nelson and Sunshine's lives. Dark & Stormy deserves credit for mounting this little known play, and bringing it to the public eye."
- Arthur Dorman, Talkin' Broadway 

Tony Sarnicki & Sara Marsh* in Sunshine. Photo by Melissa Hesse.
"Dark & Stormy has done an amazing job with this production. All three cast members make bold choices. For Sara Marsh, as Sunshine, it is in her unwavering Rhode Island accent and ability to move quickly between states of being: from nervous activity to confident mind-games to moments of true vulnerability. As Nelson, Nels Lennes delivers a totally compelling performance...as Nelson finally allows Sunshine into his apartment, his curmudgeonly acceptance of her presence feels absolutely believable. Finally, Tony Sarnicki's character moves from the initial niavety of a young college student to the boiling rage of a spurned and obsessive lover...three all-around excellent performances in a tight 90-minute show. Dark & Stormy is a company to watch.
- Sophie Kerman, Minnesota Playlist 

Nels Lennes & Sara Marsh* in Sunshine. Photo by Melissa Hesse.
"At its heart, this really is a sweet story about two (or three) people looking for love in all the wrong places. Presented in an intimate and appropriate non-theater space, with a terrific three-person cast, this is another strong showing from Dark & Stormy."
- Jill Schafer, Cherry and Spoon

Sara Marsh* and Nels Lennes in Sunshine. Photo by Melissa Hesse.
 "Mel Day has directed the piece with a perfect blend of sharp timing, vibrant humor, and deep understanding of the human heart and libido. Sara Marsh's Sunshine is splendidly volatile and heartrending. Nels Lennes as Nelson is perfectly intimidating and closed off, but when he sees his judgmental overkill he seems to shift consciousness. This pair is a joy to behold. Tony Sarnicki adds compelling layers...This is a production that raises pertinent questions about the power of sex and desire."
- John Townsend, Lavender Magazine
  

Photo: Heidi Bohnenkamp. Design: Kevin Cannon.
Presented in production with North Star Theatricals and The Mount Curve Company, in Partnership with Artspace at the Grain Belt Warehouse

From L: James Rodríguez, Emily Bridges, Sara Marsh, & Tracey Maloney in Extremities. Photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp.
"...[director Mel] Day and her solid cast explore the dynamics of power and powerlessness through the lens of sexual violence...with this intimate, almost voyeuristic staging...its emotional heft can't be denied."
- Lisa Brock, Star Tribune 

Sara Marsh & James Rodríguez in Extremities. Photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp.

"Dark & Stormy is delivering a gripping staging of Extremities, chillingly served by Annie Enneking’s breathtaking fight choreography. Sara Marsh is magnificent as Marjorie...the powerful James Rodríguez terrifies as [Raul]...Tracey Maloney embodies [Terry] with an anguished sense of humanity...Emily Bridges is splendid in the role [of Patricia]. Director Mel Day has guided this inspired and intimate production with a primal eye that plugs into how quickly the sadistic instinct is triggered without any hope of reversal in both men and women."
- John Townsend, Lavender Magazine

Tracey Maloney, James Rodríguez, Sara Marsh, & Emily Bridges in Extremities. Photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp.
"William Mastrosimone wrote Extremities in 1978, but the play contains enough victim blaming, enough "she shouldn't have dressed so sexy," enough "I couldn't help myself" to keep the story frighteningly current. Dark & Stormy doesn't shy away from the tough, and the intimate setting and the intense physical action (choreographed by fight master Annie Enneking) leave the audience with nowhere to hide....during the play's intense final scene, [Sara] Marsh and [James] Rodríguez push their characters (and themselves) to the breaking point. There is no easy wrapping up here — just a haunting, unresolved end."
- Ed Huyck, City Pages

James Rodríguez in Extremities. Photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp.
"Maybe you’re wondering if a 30-plus-year-old play about sexual assault still matters. According to RAINN, most sexual assaults are never reported to the police; of those that are, 98 out of 100 rapists go free. (These are the same depressing stats Mastrosimone cited in his 1984 essay “The Making of Extremities.”) So yes, the play still has much to say. [Attacker] Raul is a loathsome, evil man. But even [victim] Marjorie’s roommates are confused and conflicted. Is there really one right thing to say or do? Can you ever be certain of the outcome? The acting is so solid, the staging so convincing you forget you’re in a [Northeast Minneapolis] warehouse. It’s another fine production from a company that sets its own bar high, takes risks, and doesn’t much care about making us comfortable. When we’re unsettled this skillfully, we’ll take it."
- Pamela Espeland, MinnPost 

Emily Bridges & Tracey Maloney in Extremities. Photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp.
"...director Mel Day elicits excellent performances from a stellar cast of 4 outstanding Twin Cities actors: [Sara] Marsh, with her quiet rage, ready at any moment to erupt into violence. [James] Rodríguez with his very scary savagery. [Tracey] Maloney shocked into wonderfully squeaky indecision, holding herself steady, repeatedly backing against a wall. Only Patricia [Emily Bridges] is jolted into real action, trying to reason through the situation. Bridges plays it beautifully. Does the [would-be] rapist get his comeuppance? See Extremities and find out."
- John Olive, How Was The Show?

Sara Marsh & James Rodríguez in Extremities. Photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp.
"Dark & Stormy once again delivers a short, intense, well-acted and directed play in an unconventional space...[Extremities] explores the weighty themes of sexual violence, power, and justice. There's no clear winner in this story, no obvious right and wrong, just a lot of grey area, where most of us live. Each of these four characters, beautifully portrayed by this excellent cast, is at times sympathetic and at times infuriating...More than 30 years after it was written, Extremities is as relevant and topical as ever...At its best, theater can start a conversation about important, relevant, difficult issues, and that's what this play does."
- Jill Schafer, Cherry and Spoon  

Emily Bridges, Tracey Maloney, & Sara Marsh in Extremities. Photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp.
"Performed in the most intimate of spaces, with the audience within arm's reach of the physical and emotional violence portrayed, the four actors each give amazing performances that create real, recognizable people. Fight choreographer Annie Enneking's name appears on playbills in Twin Cities theaters perhaps more often than any single artist in our community. In Extremities, she outdoes herself in guiding the struggle between Marjorie and Raul, creating violence that seems to hold back no bars. I doubt I was alone in holding my breath during these scenes. It is hard to imagine anyone unmoved by the power of the performances, or unshaken by the tough questions the play raises."
- Arthur Dorman, Talkin' Broadway

James Rodríguez & Sara Marsh in Extremities. Photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp.

2014

Photo: Heidi Bohnenkamp. Design: Kevin Cannon.
 Presented in partnership with Artspace in the Grain Belt Bottling House Atrium

Robert Dorfman (Roote) in The Hothouse. Photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp.

"The play -- offered in a strong, challenging production by Dark & Stormy -- [is] an always dark, frequently very funny script. The excellent cast includes Robert Dorfman, whose mutterings and whisperings (and occasional screamings) create an effective and slightly terrifying portrait of a bureaucrat whose malevolence is so banal that he might not even recognize it himself. Mark Benninghofen is at once as smooth as 12-year-old scotch and as harsh as rotgut. Sara Marsh's Miss Cutts is manipulative sensuality personified. John Catron demonstrates the considerable downside of being a people-pleaser. Bill McCallum is unctuous and creepy, and Bruce Bohne completes the cast in a couple small roles that crackle with madness and perhaps a little mania." 
- Dominic Papatola, Pioneer Press 

Mark Benninghofen (Gibbs) & Robert Dorfman (Roote) in The Hothouse. Photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp.

 "Dark & Stormy is developing a reputation for compelling holiday counterprogramming. This year, with a tautly proficient acting company, the result is a disturbingly funny tragicomedy that is surprisingly intimate. The spare, clinical production holds you in its disturbed, and disturbing, orbit."
- Rohan Preston, Star Tribune

Mark Benninghofen (Gibbs) in The Hothouse. Photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp.

 "The Hothouse is barbed, stylized, and bleak—a feast for the mind and cold for the heart. By the time [Robert] Dorfman is delivering a beleaguered holiday speech to the patients, he might as well be an out-of-touch God speaking about a Nativity miracle he barely understands—a functionary surrounded by demons masquerading as angels while the end of days approaches...this is one of my favorite local takes on [Pinter's] work."
- Quinton Skinner, Minnesota Monthly 

Sara Marsh (Miss Cutts) & Robert Dorfman (Roote) in The Hothouse. Photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp.

 "D&S excels at finding first rate performers. The Hothouse is no exception, starring (and I’m going to name the entire cast; they’re all marvelous): Bruce Bohne, Robert Dorfman, Bill McCallum, Sara Marsh, Mark Benninghofen and John Catron. These outstanding artists are deftly directed by Ben McGovern, who adroitly uses the large space. How can I summarize a delight like The Hothouse? Bravo, all." 
- John Olive, How Was The Show?

Bruce Bohne (Tubb) in The Hothouse. Photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp.
"Dark & Stormy has given The Hothouse a mesmerizing staging at the Grain Belt Bottling House...Benjamin McGovern's direction is penetrating, passionate, and vulnerable...His actors electrify as they reveal the play's searing wit. Pinter’s deftly daggered wordsmithing, rendered by the superb cast, enhances the play’s suspicious nature. Moreover, there’s an inherent sense of surveillance in the production’s concept as audience members listen to the action they see on headsets. The Hothouse has been receiving acclaimed revivals, including this one. And this production is selling heavily. I take all this as a sign that this is a play ahead of its time whose time has finally come."
- John Townsend, Lavender Magazine  

John Catron (Lamb) & Mark Benninghofen (Gibbs) in The Hothouse. Photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp.

  "Dark & Stormy Productions commands all 7,000 square feet [of the Bottling House] and makes it seem like the only logical place for Pinter’s merciless, grim and often very funny play about bad people doing bad things. Six actors play seven roles, and you can’t take your eyes off any of them. Ben McGovern directs, C Andrew Mayer does the sound, Mary Shabatura the lights, and once more, D&S gives us a night of theater we’ll be thinking about and talking about for a long time."
- Pamela Espeland, MinnPost

Sara Marsh (Miss Cutts) & Robert Dorfman (Roote) in The Hothouse. Photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp.
 "Harold Pinter's The Hothouse is a dark, brutal, and often very funny exercise in faceless oppression. The atrium at the Artspace Grain Belt Bottling House is a vast, echoing chamber that perfectly reflects the setting."
- Ed Huyck, City Pages

Mark Benninghofen (Gibbs), Robert Dorfman (Roote), & Sara Marsh (Miss Cutts) in The Hothouse. Photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp.

 "Dark & Stormy's production of this bizarre and funny play is entertaining, engaging, and thought-provoking. And like all of their work, (this is just the 5th play they've done), it's brilliantly cast with some of the Twin Cities' top talent. [This time] Dark & Stormy put mics on the actors and headphones on the audience, with the sound right in your ears even though the actors may be whispering in a far corner of the space. This allows for subtlety in delivery that can be heard in full detail, while the echos in the larger space can still be heard through the headphones. It all makes for an innovative and fascinating theatrical experience."
- Jill Schafer, Cherry and Spoon 

Mark Benninghofen (Gibbs) & Sara Marsh (Miss Cutts) in The Hothouse. Photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp.

 "Looking for a contrast to the warm fuzziness of the holiday season? The late Harold Pinter's dark comedy, The Hothouse, has been given a bang-up production by Dark & Stormy Productions. Presented at Grain Belt Bottling House, the production 'lingers like a bad dream,' according to the Pioneer Press' critic Dominic Papatola."  
- Chris Hewitt, Pioneer Press

John Catron (Lamb) in The Hothouse. Photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp.


Design: Kevin Cannon.
 Presented at The Lyric at Carleton Place 
in the Lyric Lab

"...a vivacious staging...Bachelorette parties have long been ripe for the kind of woozily surreal sendup that playwright Adam Bock delivers in The Drunken City. There are so many small but potent things in this 75-minute one-act. The performances are outstanding. Adam Bock's comedy gets a winning regional premiere by Dark & Stormy." 
- Rohan Preston, Star Tribune

Clockwise from L: Kris L. Nelson (Frank), Sara Marsh (Marnie), Adelin Phelps (Melissa), Tracey Maloney (Linda), & Paul de Cordova (Eddie) in The Drunken City. Photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp.
"Dark & Stormy strikes again with The Drunken City! Considering the brevity of the show, it is remarkable how the actors are able to take up the challenge and produce a funny, vibrant piece that also offers a taste of darkness. The Drunken City is engaging, fun, and memorable, all the more so for the theater's intimate setting."
- Ed Huyck, City Pages

Sara Marsh (Marnie) and Kris L. Nelson (Frank) in The Drunken City. Photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp.

"The splendid cast gives madcap, yet truly human portrayals that capture the high stakes. Sara Marsh, Adelin Phelps, and Tracey Maloney have created a brilliant symbiotic triple stage presence that is a kind of fluid force of comedic nature...Kris L. Nelson, as usual, is excellent...Paul de Cordova is a delight and Benjamin McGovern gives an endearing and transformational performance."
-
John Townsend, Lavender Magazine

Tracey Maloney (Linda) & Adelin Phelps (Melissa) in The Drunken City. Photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp.

"The staging is a smooth one that effectively uses the nontraditional theater space...and nicely knits together some strong performances."
- Dominic Papatola, Pioneer Press

Clockwise from L: Adelin Phelps (Melissa), Sara Marsh (Marnie), Tracey Maloney (Linda), & Kris L. Nelson (Frank) in The Drunken City. Photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp.

"...[The Drunken City] sharply illuminates how tricky love can be, and how easy it is to fool ourselves into thinking we’ve found it. Reasons to go: fine acting by the talented, experienced cast, a company signature; Mary Shabatura’s lighting and sound; and because it’s worth following Dark & Stormy, literally and figuratively...This is a company with a lot of creativity, energy and passion; it’s exciting to share a space with them."
- Pamela Espeland, MinnPost  
 

Paul de Cordova (Eddie) & Benjamin McGovern (Bob) in The Drunken City. Photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp.

"Dark & Stormy Productions is really hitting their stride; they've become one of those theater companies that I rely on to never let me down...It's truly a joy to watch this terrific cast perform this smart and funny play." 
- Jill Schafer, Cherry and Spoon 

Sara Marsh (Marnie) & Benjamin McGovern (Bob) in The Drunken City. Photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp.

Read more of what Graydon Royce of the Star Tribune and Ed Huyck of City Pages have to say about Dark & Stormy Productions and The Drunken City!

  
 

2013


Design: Kevin Cannon.
Presented in partnership with Artspace at the
Traffic Zone Center for Visual Art


Sally Wingert (Beverly) in The Receptionist. Photo by Melissa Hesse.

"Wingert’s is a beautifully and sharply wrought performance, overseen by director Ben McGovern. Bock’s play demands that we are drawn into Beverly’s world. We are."
- Graydon Royce, Star Tribune

Sally Wingert (Beverly) and Sara Marsh (Lorraine) in The Receptionist. Photo by Melissa Hesse.

"Director Ben McGovern's superlative cast is kinetic in its comic timing and keeps you guessing about what is under the surface...Sally Wingert as Beverly is -and this must be some kind of first- electrifyingly vapid...Sara Marsh is a revelation of comic brilliance...and Harry Waters Jr. gives a wrenching portrayal."
- John Townsend, Lavender Magazine

Harry Waters, Jr (Mr. Raymond) in The Receptionist. Photo by Melissa Hesse.
  "[The Receptionist is] an unsettling slow-burn mind-bomb of the kind that rattles around in dreams and memory for days to come."  
- Quinton Skinner, Minnesota Monthly

Sally Wingert (Beverly) and Sara Marsh (Lorraine) in The Receptionist. Photo by Melissa Hesse.

"Each of the actors puts in a terrific performance, led by Wingert's captivating Beverly...Director Benjamin McGovern hones the action to a fine point...moving from what seems like an everyday workplace character study into something more fitting of Harold Pinter."
- Ed Huyck, City Pages

Sally Wingert (Beverly) in The Receptionist. Photo by Melissa Hesse.

"Wingert wears the role with comfort and credibility [and] Marsh brings the right balance of coyness and cluelessness. Waters, with a halting delivery, finds the tension."  
- Dominic Papatola, Pioneer Press

Sara Marsh (Lorraine), Harry Waters Jr. (Mr. Raymond), and Sally Wingert (Beverly) in The Receptionist. Photo by Melissa Hesse.

"Let's consider the cast of this mostly unknown play being presented by a baby theater company in a makeshift space. [The marvelous Sally] Wingert is among our city's great actors. [The wonderful Sara] Marsh recently returned to the Twin Cities from Hollywood, where she appeared in films, [and the cryptic] Harry Waters Jr. is a veteran actor with local and national credits. You could pick them all up and set them down at the Guthrie."
- Pamela Espeland, MinnPost

Sally Wingert (Beverly) and Sara Marsh (Lorraine) in The Receptionist. Photo by Melissa Hesse.

"You get to watch four actors at the top of their craft...It's a short, crisp 75 minutes of theatrical entertainment."
- Jill Schafer, Cherry and Spoon 

Sally Wingert (Beverly) in The Receptionist. Photo by Melissa Hesse.




Photo: John Eastman, Jr. Design: Kevin Cannon.
Presented at the Miller Bag Building
  
Bill McCallum (Gould) and Sara Marsh (Karen) in Speed-the-Plow. Photo by John Eastman.

"A very impressive production benefits from an arresting cast. Nelson gives a ferocious performance with the manic energy of a juiced up boxer, all the dreamy or ragged time...and into the mix steps Karen, played to perfection by Marsh, who sells innocence masterfully."
- Rohan Preston, Star Tribune 

Kris L. Nelson (Fox) in Speed-the-Plow. Photo by John Eastman.

"'Speed-the-Plow'...takes place inside a cool 'found' space in Northeast Minneapolis. The staging is innovative. The actors represent the top tier of Twin Cities talent."
- Dominic Papatola, Pioneer Press 

Kris L. Nelson (Fox) and Bill McCallum (Gould) in Speed-the-Plow. Photo by John Eastman.

"The quick banter is well-executed...this is a great play, with a great cast, in an interesting nontraditional space, which makes for a unique and entertaining evening at the theater."
- Jill Schafer, Cherry and Spoon  

Sara Marsh (Karen) in Speed-the-Plow. Photo by John Eastman.

Hear Dark & Stormy and Speed-the-Plow featured on Minnesota Public Radio's Art Hounds!


Sara Marsh (Karen) and Kris L. Nelson (Fox) in Speed-the-Plow (with Director Benjamin McGovern in the background). Photo by John Eastman.





  2012 


Photo: John Eastman, Jr. Design: Kevin Cannon.
 
Presented at the Engine Room


"Give Dark & Stormy founder Sara Marsh credit...staged in three distinct locations within a rough storefront space in Minneapolis, the affair has a rarefied downtown feel."
- Graydon Royce, Star Tribune

 
"The very beginning of Outside Providence, the debut show from Dark & Stormy Productions, provides an absolutely thrilling moment...that certainly set the on-edge mood for the trio of rough one-acts by playwright Edward Allan Baker." 
- Ed Huyck, City Pages

 
"Four actors (Catherine Johnson Justice, Alayne Hopkins, Sara Marsh, and Ryan Lindberg) portray these complicated characters, and each gives an amazingly open, truthful, raw performance. It's pretty powerful stuff."


"I've seen well over 150 productions this year (not including 56 Fringe shows) and
Outside Providence is among the best. The acting and direction are superb, and the intimate setting is ideal for experiencing those stories. [Dark & Stormy] has set a high bar for future productions and I have no doubts that [they'll] continue to produce this kind of outstanding work. This is easily one of the best productions I've seen all year."
- Scott Pakudaitis, audience member




"Outside Providence is a fresh, immediate, engaging evening of theater. The three-dimensional humanity of the characters is revealed eloquently in the writing, and the performances are brave and bare."
- J.C. Cutler, audience member