This week’s post is by the fabulous Event and Donations Coordinator, Shira Levenson.
Twenty-Two reasons to attend SU’s Season Fundraiser Happy Hour this Thursday, Aug. 25th!1. Live performances by Jeremy Messersmith and Chastity Brown!!
2. Dogwood Coffee Company coffee drinks
3. Support local, independent, socially-relevant, engaging, new and unique works of theater…by eating Pizza Luce and drinking home-brewed beer!
4. Cookies! Cake! Pie!
5. Take the opportunity to give feedback and suggestions on topics and issues you’d love to see presented and explored through live theater in the Twin Cities. We love feedback and suggestions!
6. Engage in dialogue with Savage Umbrella company members about our recent production Ex-Gays, and continue the conversation…
7. Chips and guac. to cap off a long day at work
8. Prizes! Bid on awesome prizes at our silent auction, and by getting super-cool things at a discount price you help enable a local theater company that takes risks, values your feedback and constantly strives to collaborate with the community continue to create focused, character-driven, original new work!
9. You saw Savage Umbrella’s 2010 production of The Awakening and still aren’t sure what happened to Edna at the end, and want to discuss…
10. You were at a Ravagers workshop this past winter and are curious to hear how the project has progressed, and want more details on the full production happening this November!
11. You can sip wine with a Savage Umbrella company member while discussing his or her new piece currently in development for our 2012 Night of New Works festival.
…He or she might be pouring wine or coffee for someone else meanwhile, but nevertheless, will be happy to chat :-)
12. You’ve had “The Announcement Song” stuck in your head ever since you saw Ex-Gays and need an outlet to sing it…in the presence of others, who, out of habit, will probably sing along…
13. Meet and mingle with other artists, theater-supporters and fun people in the community who also enjoy supporting new works of theater, or are perhaps interested in collaborating with Savage Umbrella on a future production!
14. Get your picture taken with a Savage Umbrella Company member! And if your picture ends up on our Facebook page, we won’t tag you unless you want us to :)
15. Maybe you have something burning and twisting in your mind about art or theater or performance venues and are interested in being a guest blogger? Talk to us! We’re always looking for ways to collaborate and share ideas.
16. Chocolate. (Yes, we’ll have some there…)
17. You’ve been dying to learn some of those dance moves featured in the “Turn It Around” song from our recent production of Ex-Gays…and just need to have some time with a company member to practice….
18. It’s Thursday! Kick-off the upcoming weekend by eating and drinking yummy things and supporting live performance!!
19. You’ve been wondering why those people call themselves “Savage Umbrella”, and what to know what exactly that means…
20. Just starting to date someone and looking for the perfect way to impress him or her??? Show him or her you support the arts! And just think…after a fun happy hour event with live music, cool people, and great food and drink, your date has the perfect opportunity to bid on something at the silent auction and surprise you with tickets to something for your NEXT date!!
21. You were out of town for the one-weekend-only performances of Leaves last fall and want to hear about an upcoming chance to see it!
22. You have a question that’s been bothering you to know the answer to, and it didn’t get picked out of the box during question corner, so you want details about the Duluth run of Ex-Gays over Labor Day Weekend so you can take a road trip and have a second chance to have your question answered!!!
If all of this isn’t enough reason to come have some fun and support Savage Umbrella’s upcoming season of raw, edgy, socially-relevant, collaboratively-created new works of theater, here are some of the things local critics and past audience members have had to say about our shows…just so you know the type of theatre your dollars are helping to fund:
"Ex-Gays is a well-constructed, adroitly paced evening of theater...it's a conversation—in both comedy and drama—that we'll all be better off continuing to have. Highly recommended." -Matthew Everett, Twin Cities Daily Planet
"Scathingly perceptive...a bright young cast." -John Townsend, Lavender
“The Awakening is an amazing show: it had me on the edge of my seat, and on multiple occasions wanting to jump out of it with cheers….every once in a while you get to see a show like The Awakening, and you see just how rewarding theater can be.”
- Jay Gabler, Twin Cities Daily Planet
"The show was wonderful. Hilarious, campy, silly, full of improv and scripted moments, but also packed a punch...It's a solid, well-produced and executed piece of sociopolitical art. I absolutely recommend it." -Adam Whisner, MinnesotaPlaylist
"The movement is a farce perpetrating a tragedy, of course, and so that's what they have written...beneath the superficial nudge nudge wink wink of the play's skit format, there is the real heartbreak." -Max Sparber, MinnPost
Review of Leaves: "It's a poetic, musical valentine to love, and the country of my birth... It's the kind of show I wish was running for more than just one weekend, because it comes very highly recommended." - Matthew Everett, TCDaily Planet 9/10/10
“This production was a labor of love that was many months in the making, and the (metaphorical) perspiration and (actual) inspiration paid off in every scene of this long, wonderfully absorbing show.” TC Daily Planet Arts Editor, Jay Gabler, in his “Top 10 Shows of 2010 list” (The Awakening)
“Love Me Or Die! is the kind of company-created work that gives company-created work a good name.” –Matthew Everett, fringe reviewer for mnartists.org
“Thank you for creating scenes surrounding issues that matter and are identifiable. Also, thank you for playing a lesbian couple with dignity and human love!” – Leaves audience member
Ex-Gays audience members were given a survey after the show, and one of the questions was to describe the show in one word….
Here is some of the feedback we received:
Enlightening, GREAT, Fabulous!, GREAAAT!!, super-fun, realistic, great job, Brilliant, smart, WONDERFUL!, ENTERTAINING!, satisfied, Awesome, BRILLIANT!!!, funny, outstanding, Contemporary.
WE’LL SEE YOU THERE.
The second guest blogger this week is Molly Budke, talking about Workhaus Collective’s A Short Play About 9/11.
I was in eighth grade on September 11th 2001. I got to school late that morning but as I slipped into my shop class no one seemed to notice. Eyes were focused on the small television at the front of the room. The North Tower had already been hit, and we watched as the plane crashed into the South Tower. We moved to our second hour classes, dazed and confused, where we were told the teachers were no longer allowed to have TV’s on. My memory of the rest of that day is blurry. I remember some teachers pretending everything was fine, some giving us vague group work to keep us occupied, some trying to explain to us what was going on (and leaving us even more confused).
The next few weeks went that way too, except in my history class where we talked about what had happened and about how the school had responded to it. My peers and I were angry about what had occurred that day, and we were angry that we’d been forced to ignore what was going on outside of the school’s walls. The conversations in that history class were the most I spoke about September 11th until this year. Now that I’m actually an adult (not just the one I thought I was in eighth grade) and it’s been almost ten years, it’s past time for me to hear other people’s versions of that day.
In the last six months I’ve begun to hear artists talk about where they were that morning and what it has meant for the rest of their lives. Now, almost ten years since that incomprehensible day, it’s time to talk about what that day was in our country’s history, and our individual stories. It’s time to figure out how we got back to normal and how normal was never the same. It’s time to acknowledge how that day has shaped our country’s politics, for better or worse. It’s time to laugh a bit - not about what happened but about how we healed, maybe, or who we were or who we are now.
It feels a little wrong to say I’m excited about these conversations, but I can say I’m looking forward to the art that initiates them and one place I know I can look is to Dominic Orlando’s A Short Play About 9/11 produced by the Workhaus Collective this fall. I’m always excited about the diversity of work coming out of Workhaus, but this year I’m especially glad that the first play of their season will face a time and place I need to confront. I’m planning on attending the production on September 11th, when the night will include work by other artists including Paige Collette and Erin Search-Wells. I saw some glimpses of their work about 9/11through the Bedlam’s 10x10 Fest Development this spring, and what I saw from them then was breathtakingly funny and meaningful and I’m looking forward to seeing what how that work has developed.
I would invite you to join me on the 11th to be a part of that evening’s conversation, or to join me in seeing this production and being a part of the larger conversation it takes part in. And if you’re starting your own conversation about what that day was for you, what it is for you now or what it meant for your surroundings, I’m looking forward to that too. Let me know if your art is part of that conversation because (now, ten years later) I’m ready to listen.
Molly Budke received her BA in Theatre Arts and English from Augsburg College in 2010. She is primarily interested in participating in theatre as a director, dramaturg, critic, collaborator or audience member. Her favorite performances, though, are ones in which these lines are blurred. Recently she has worked with Young Fox Theatre, Campfire Theatre, the Workhaus Collective, the Unit Collective and the Playwrights’ Center.
This week we’re inviting two guest bloggers, Molly Budke and Timothy Otte, to talk about Workhaus Collective’s new work and Mixed Blood’s new access program. First up is Otte, with Radical Hospitality. Check back for Budke's post on Friday.
There’s a lot to be excited about in the Twin Cities theatre scene this coming season, but the thing that’s got me most excited isn’t a specific production, performer or writer—it’s an idea. Earlier this year Mixed Blood Theatre announced their new access program for the 2011-2012 season, Radical Hospitality. As such, the theme of their season is Revolutionizing Access and it’s got me all sorts of riled up.
Let’s start with Radical Hospitality: what’s it mean? In short, it means no-cost admission to all mainstage Mixed Blood productions for any audience member. This means economic boundaries have been made null which opens up the theatre to an even broader range of people.
Let’s face it, going to the theatre can be expensive, and even those of us who work in the theatre have to pick and choose which shows to see and which we have to skip. Many theatre companies have instituted programs that provide lower ticket prices to those in need. There are “pay-what-you-can” nights, 2-for-1 deals, group and school discounts. With Radical Hospitality, Mixed Blood has made all of those programs look weak by comparison. Now, those people and communities who could never afford to go to the theatre, even if the production was targeted at them, will be able to enjoy some of the Twin Cities best without worrying about the ticket price.
Another thing that excites me about this is that, for the first time, I’ll be able to enjoy every show in a company’s season. I’ve always wanted to go on that journey with a company, seeing the myriad ways they explore a theme, or just enjoy a slate of productions on the same stage. I’ve always wanted, but could never afford, to be a consistent audience member at a company’s shows. Now I plan to be.
Mixed Blood has put together a 6 show season that includes a world premier (Crashing the Party by Josh Tobiessen, directed by Sarah Rasmussen) and a festival of plays about disability. (There will also be 4 partner shows with Children’s Theatre Company, Mu Performing Arts, Parkway Theater and the Ordway Center for Performing Arts, unfortunately not included in the Radical Hospitality program.) In keeping with their history, some of the Twin Cities best performers and directors will be working on these shows.
Mixed Blood’s Radical Hospitality program has the potential to change the game for theaters and theatre goers alike. The only potential drawback will be sustainability. Those audience members who are able and wish to will be able to pay guarantee seats at a show by paying a fee, or purchasing a season pass. The company hopes that the program will bring in a larger audience who will come to appreciate the importance of theatre and open their wallets accordingly, when and if they’re able.
But what if they don’t? Mixed Blood could always go back to charging for tickets. Their prices were never too expensive, so their shows would still be available to a broader audience than some theaters. But it would be a shame if this season were the only season of Radical Hospitality at Mixed Blood. I hope, after appreciating how lucky they are to experience quality theatre without paying a cent, people will decide to give whatever they can afford to keep such a unique program alive. It’s not required, but I guarantee it will be appreciated. Especially by those less well off, those people whose only theatrical experience may be Mixed Blood Theatre.
There’s a lot to be excited about in the Twin Cities Theatre scene this coming season, but it’s not available to everyone. Economic barriers prevent a spirited yet untapped audience from experiencing what many people take for granted. I’m excited about Mixed Blood’s Radical Hospitality because of the ways it could change for the better the ways I see and work in the theatre. Bravo to them. To you: enjoy the show!
Timothy Otte is a poet, playwright & theatre artist, as well as a 4th-generation St. Paul resident. He’s interested in that blurry line where poetry & theatre, text & performance, page & stage, careen into each other to become something hybrid & unexpected. He has a small collection of typewriters, a large collection of records & an even larger collection of books.
Here’s what we’re seeing. Tell us what you're seeing too.savageumbrella (at) gmail (dot) com
presented by Present State Movement
at U of M Rarig
featuring Tamara Ober and others
Those Were The Days: A Tribute to Television Themes
presented by Blue Umbrella
at Mpls Theatre Garage
featuring music by Kahlil Queen
Damn You Auto Caress
presented by Youth Artists Council of Youth Performance Company
at Mixed Blood
featuring awesome YAC actors
presented by Anna Sundberg and Matt Rein
at the Gremlin
Anna Sundberg! Yay.
at the Augsburg Studio
featuring Ben Egerman as creator and performer
Fletcher & Zenobia Save the Circus
presented by Live Action Set
at the Mill City Museum
directed by Sara Richardson
presented by Tedious Brief Productions
at the U of M Rarig
Shakespeare. And aliens.
presented by Molock E!
at the U of M Rarig
written by Katharine Moeller
Son of a ______!
presented by Paper Crane
at the Augsburg Main Stage
featuring Levi Morris
Vampire Lesbians of Sodom
presented by Brazen Theatre Company
at Mpls Theatre Garage
The Silent Room
presented by New Proletkult
at the Gremlin
A political play with music
presented by Rogues Gallery Arts
at the Cult Status Gallery
featuring Ryan Scott and Ashley D. Scott
Wild Card Picks:I Love You (We're Fucked)
presented by 55BC
Why a wild card? LGBTQ, and an out-of-towner!
Luke Comes to Life
presented by Charakter Ministry of the Arts
at U of M Rarig Center Arena
Why a wild card? Religious stories from a Marcel Marceau mime! Plus, our own Matthew A. Everett approves.
And:You know it.
This week’s post is from Artistic Director of SU, Laura Leffler-McCabe. And don't worry - there are more chances to see Ex-Gays at Intermedia Arts for the MN Fringe.
If you haven’t seen the television program Party Down, you really should. It’s on Netflix instant stream. It’s one of the few shows about actors that’s actually funny. Plus Adam Scott, Martin Starr, Jane Lynch, Megan Mullally - what can I say? I love a good ensemble.
Anyway, in season two the episode “James Ellison Funeral” is ridiculous and wonderful, as most of the episodes are, and the lovely Loretta Devine plays the widow. And she has this sage and touching metaphor about love. “You know what love is? It’s a crock-pot... cooks at a low heat, day in and day out, and won’t fade."
I think Ex-Gays is a crock-pot.
It’s not a new metaphor, of course. Friar Laurence tells Romeo, “love moderately: long love doth so,” which basically means the same thing, except that he’s also telling Romeo to keep it in his pants, of course.
So my point? Right. I’m getting there.
Ex-Gays is the little show that could, our crock-pot, our long love. Which isn’t to say the show isn’t explosive, offensive and downright sexy. It is. You will also want to pull a Romeo and not-keep-it-in-your-pants. In the best possible way - no poison and swords in a tomb. Just love and lust and ribbon dances.
We closed the full version at Matthews Park this past Saturday and then turned right around and tech’d the Fringe version Monday night. That version will for run five performances during Aug. 4-14, at which point we’ll do final put-in rehearsals for the third iteration of the show over Labor Day weekend at the Duluth Play Ground during Duluth/Superior PRIDE. It’s more work, more rehearsal, more cake and frosting props, but it’s worth it.
It’s worth it because Savage Umbrella gets to meet new audiences at the Fringe and in Duluth, folks that might not have otherwise heard of us if it weren’t for the framework of these festivals. It’s worth it because more people are going to get to connect with this oh-so-timely material. It’s worth it, because it’s love.
The sad thing about Party Down is that I didn’t discover it until it was already cancelled. Ex-Gays has another month of life before it will be put to bed, so get under the umbrella with us at the Fringe! Because there’s no Netflix for theatre, right?