Trick Boxing is an incredible production that combines boxing, ballroom dancing, puppetry, and more for a humorous and meaningful masterpiece. Minneapolis-based performers Brian Sostek and Megan McClellan performed Trick Boxing in the Page Theatre on Jan. 27. Sostek and McClellan, who are married and co-founders of the company Sossy Mechanics, which they created in 2000, also did residency programs at the Page Theatre and in the Winona community.
The inspiration for Trick Boxing, which the duo originally wrote in 2000 and adapted into a longer show in 2012, came when the pair was experiencing a long-distance relationship. Sostek sent McClellan “trick boxes” that included special surprises inside that he had made. One featured a tiny boxer who would moon the person who opened the box. Sostek thought that it was the best trick box he had made so far. Soon, he was researching both boxing and puppetry further, and the idea for Trick Boxing was born.
Sostek, left, and McClellan pose on the Joseph Page Theatre stage after their performance of Trick Boxing.
Photo by Emily Loof
Sostek, who masterfully plays a variety of characters in the show while wearing the same costume and using only accents, inflections, and postures to differentiate, says that he likes all the characters in a different way and that some, such as the hero “Dancing” Danny David, were born out of real people he has encountered. McClellan, on the other hand, plays the heroine, Bella. She delivers a fantastic performance as only a McKnight Artist Fellowship in Dance winner could. She explained that she especially enjoyed playing Bella in the scenes where Sostek plays Bella’s brother, Rocky, because it reminds her of time spent with her brother growing up.
When asked about their college-age selves, Sostek and McClellan also shared some advice for the students at Saint Mary’s. “Don’t worry so much!” McClellan said, laughing. “Don’t be so worried about what you will do for your job. Ultimately, you’re going to do something.”
Sostek echoed his wife, saying, “Be willing to try anything once. That’s the most important thing. Get exposure.”
McClellan agreed. “We’re all in such a hurry all the time,” she said. “But time is not so precious that you should not take risks.”
The two are currently doing a residency at University of Texas in Dallas, and hope to someday return to Saint Mary’s, maybe even to teach a ballroom dancing class for beginners.