The Mint Theatre: Jules Romains’ “Donagoo”–An Imaginary City in an Imaginative Production


In a tiny little theater on West 43rd Street, up two long flights of stairs (or via one of two interminable elevators) lives the Off-Broadway Mint Theater, which exists to “excavate buried theatrical treasures,”

Mint outside

often by well-known but, today, rarely produced playwrights, such as Jules Romains. His 1920 play, Donagoo,tells the story in 23 short scenes of a non-existent South American city “accidentally” included in his book by a famous but now disgraced scholar who neglected to do his fact-checking.

donogoo mint(Source: minttheater.org)

The city of Donagoo is brought into reality by a determined set of likable scoundrels who, in a well-financed scheme to rook the public, seeks to create the professor’s imaginary land.

Donogoo_reference(Source: spectacles.premiere.fr)

The Mint’s dedicated audience finds its way to these first class productions featuring experienced actors to enjoy good theater at low prices and Donagoo does not disappoint.

Mint theater audience 1

Inventive Stagecraft

One of the standout characteristics of Mint productions is its inventive stagecraft. With an obviously very limited budget, they substitute imagination and creativity for fancy sets and special effects and it all works. In this case, they use moving projections on the side and rear walls to bring the scenes to life. When the Metro roars onto the stage and an actor steps out of the make-believe door, everyone laughs and applauds in appreciation of the clever idea. And it is used throughout to suggest jungle, palace and Paris scenes.

on stage(Source: minttheater.org)

Good Theater at a Discountrehaersing donagoo

(Source: minttheater.org)

The show hasn’t opened yet but it was sold out the night we went. It is a literate, funny and imaginative satire. What more could you want? well, to add icing on the cake, if you  go to http://www.minttheater.org and click on CHEAPTIX, you can find a limited number of discounted tickets for $27.50 instead of the full, but still very reasonable price for good theater in New York of $55-$65.

photo3

(Source: minttheater.org)

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