Beck Lee’s dark comedy “Subprime,” about two Minneapolis couples who travel to New York for a bargain vacation none of them can afford, was conceived in Minneapolis where it received its first readings, and was developed in New York. Thomas Burns Scully, writing in onstageblog.com, described the play as “the next ‘God of Carnage,’” calling it “staggering… a show that’s going to be talked about.” It work-shopped at the Jersey City Theater Center in the summer of 2017, before premiering at the Mixed Blood Theatre in Minneapolis in May 2018.
Directed by Peter Moore, the Mixed Blood premiere featured a distinguished Twin Cities cast that included Bonni Allen, Jen Burleigh-Bentz, Charles Fraser, Jorge Quintero and Dan Hopman. The play, set in 2008, which introduces us to four very normal-seeming Minnesotans who are in complete denial about almost everything (especially the state of their finances and their marriages), sparked controversy with some Twin Cities audience members for its rough portrayal of the inhabitants of an upscale Minneapolis neighborhood that takes its commitment to civic good and healthy Midwestern principles very seriously. The Star Tribune called the play “extremely dark” and “not an easy show to watch.”
For his part Lee explained on social media that the passive-aggressive behavior depicted in “Subprime” was more of an American personality complex, and not something endemic to the Twin Cities. “It was very interesting to see how satire localized in this way can spark dissent,” Lee observes. “Especially in a city that has a reputation for being ‘nice’ and hyper-civilized.”
We look forward to the next production of “Subprime,” in a city near you!