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PREVIEW: Love Makes Fools and Philosophers: Fortune’s Fool’s New Show (Crane Theatre)

Four of the storytellers for Fortune’s Fool Theatre’s upcoming storytelling show, You Who I Always/Never/Once Loved. Clockwise from UL: Les Kurkendaal-Barrett, Sam Landman, Denzel Belin, and Ariel Leaf.

A fling kindled at the Rocky Horror Picture Show. First dates and hyper-commitment during the pandemic. Pining after someone’s gone. These are a few of the stories being told in Fortune’s Fool Theatre’s new storytelling show, You Who I Always/Never/Once Loved.

Ariel Leaf, the co-artistic director of FFT, had a lot of inspiration to think about when conceiving You Who… Two years ago, a Zoom divorce would have seemed impossible. Now, it’s just one of dozens of things that have moved (however unhappily) online as people try, inexorably, to move on with their lives in the middle of a global pandemic. The plethora of tips for dating and dodging COVID-19 has not exploded in a vacuum, and then there are the exes (and specters of exes) rearing their head.

“Many people I know heard about exes they hadn’t thought about in months during this last year and a half,” noted Leaf. “People reached out to each other for support. Or conversely, pulled away or were forced away.”

COVID forced a lot of relationships forward. It also broke many apart, and early predictions of a post-vaccination wave of breakups and divorces seem to be panning out. Some of these breakups are happy and, arguably, overdue; some, less than welcome. And with those breakups comes reflection and insight.

“COVID has made me think a lot about love,” said Leaf. “Mistakes, things I’m glad I escaped, people I wish I could say goodbye to.” And so she set out to gather a group of storytellers together and spin these adventures and misadventures in love into a show. Ups, downs, crazy accidents, embarrassment, stupidity, and honesty – each of these will play out in You Who I Always/Never/Once Loved, which features a rotating cast drawn from a 15-storyteller pool: Denzel Belin, Josh Cragun, Destiny Davison, Eli Effinger-Weintraub, Matthew Kessen, Les Kurkendaal-Barrett, Sam Landman, Ariel Pinkerton, Lacy Piotter, Jen Scott, Anthony Sisler-Neuman, Rachel Teagle, Tim Uren, Nicole Wilder, and Jean Wolff.

You Who I Always/Never/Once Loved plays September 16-18 and 23-25 at the Crane Studio Theatre in Northeast Minneapolis. The show runs approximately 80 minutes. Audiences must be masked and supply proof of vaccination for entry.


Basil Considine