Going Deeper

Walking Shadow loves working with new plays -- almost one third of our productions have been world premieres, and we're excited to find ways to begin working with other local writers.

If you're a playwright, what do you want to write next? Ideally your idea is one you've got an itch for already, that just needs the right opportunity to come out. Do you have a project currently in mind that you think would fit our mission?

Whether you're a new or established playwright, we encourage you to submit an idea or story kernel you're interested in developing as a full-length play. If you're selected, you'll receive an $800 writing stipend to develop the idea, feedback and support from Walking Shadow's artistic directors, and a public staged reading.

We will accept submissions from August 15 - 30, 2015. Start thinking about which of your current ideas you want to tell us about! Check out our mission statement and production history to get a feel for the work we do. We also recommendthis article from 2009 about what we look for in plays.

Submission guidelines:
    • submissions accepted August 15 - 30, 2015
    • open to playwrights living in Minnesota or western Wisconsin
    • include one previous full-length or Fringe-length play
    • provide a playwriting resume, with production history (if any)
    • present a short project pitch detailing a concept, story, or idea that you want to explore (no more than 200 words: boil it down to what's exciting)
    • if you have more than one idea brewing, submit up to three different pitches!

We welcome questions, and are excited to hear from local playwrights!


Who is this Nick Jones guy? The playwright of The Coward is a writer and performer working in theater, film and TV. He's best known presently for being a writer and co-producer for the Netflix series ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK. His many other plays include such subjects as medieval plastic surgery, perverted anarchists, and the tracksuit. (Yes, Mr. Jones is interested in offbeat comedy.)

Nick's theater pieces with puppets have received recognition from the Jim Henson Foundation. He also works with music, including an upcoming alt country rock musical about Grizzly Adams, and a series of albums from Jollyship the Whiz-Bang, billed as "the ultimate nautically-themed electro-accordion dance punk experience."

Not at all.
Ok, maybe a little...
But mostly no.
It's about a really big guy in Idaho, his best friend, his willful daughter and her mom, and a renegade Mormon kid. It's still a tragedy, but one of the funny ones. Modern, daring, and absolutely beautiful. And you don't need to read Moby Dick.
Although that giant tome of whaling might help you catch some resonant themes that echo between both pieces. But at over 600 pages, you'll have to start reading it soon! Instead, to help you look like the smart kid, here's a quick summary of relevant themes:

Death. Friendship. Religion. Defiance. The limits of knowledge. The deceptiveness of Fate and Free Will. Sexuality and sexual identity. Single minded purpose. 
In the sea, a whale cannot be viewed all at once. It is only seen in pieces. The head, the back, the fins, the tail. And it is this multiplicity of meanings and perceptions that Ishmael struggles with as he tries to understand the essence of a whale, beyond being simple beast. 
Is the Whale a scapegoat for our fears and rage at life? A manifestation of the worst elements of the world? Worthy of eradication? Capable of salvation? Or is it a mere creature, doing what it knows, when it's suddenly caught in the spin of a larger story?

There, you're set. And if you absolutely must give Moby Dick a quick skim, take a look at chapters 1 & 9. That'll get you pretty far. Plus... it's a pretty good read.

Thursday, November 13th is Give to the Max Day.

This year Walking Shadow has been presented with a generous matching offer of $12,000 - thanks to a group of donors led by Laura & ErikPeter Walker and David & Patricia Borchert. This means the first $12,000 of donations made on Thursday, November 13th through our online giving page will be matched dollar for dollar, increasing the impact of your tax-deductible gift.

Donations to Walking Shadow support our mission of staging intelligent, thought-provoking work in Minnesota and will help make our 2014-2015 season possible, including our productions of Gabriel, The Whale, and The Coward.

We're delighted to be part of a community where so much good work is being done. We hope you'll take some time on Thursday to support the many worthy non-profits that make Minnesota great.

Give to the Max Day is a Minnesota-wide non-profit giving campaign, sponsored by GiveMN. During this day, every donation you make gives the recipient organization a chance to win additional funds. Your gift makes a BIG difference!

Make your contribution here!

In June of 1940, the British government decided that Guernsey and the other Channel Islands were of no strategic importance. They pulled their troops from the region, saying the islands would probably be safer without the military to attract the Germans' notice. The islands then began to evacuate who they could, children first. 

Since the Germans didn't immediately realize the islands were demilitarized, they approached with caution, sending reconnaissance planes and even bombing the harbor of St. Peter Port (killing 34 civilians and destroying several suspicious trucks full of tomatoes). 

Receiving no return fire, the Germans had a single pilot make a test landing on Guernsey's deserted airfield. Shortly afterwards, a platoon of Luftwaffe soldiers arrived and took over the islands, giving the Germans a propaganda victory of winning British territory "without firing a single shot."


Gabriel by Moira Buffini
September 26 - October 11, 2014
Minneapolis Theatre Garage


Tickets and Information

The Three Musketeers

I first encountered The Three Musketeers via the Disney-produced movie version in 1993. As a fifteen year old boy, and part of their ideal viewing demographic, I was immediately captivated by its spirit of adventure, the bravura, the banter. Soon afterward, I read the novel and was delighted by the humor, and its use of history, the back and forth of its intrigue, and panache. For the next few years, I watched as many screen and stage adaptations as I could find. I read fencing manuals, studied stage combat, and even ran a long-standing roleplaying campaign (loosely) inspired by the books. And when I finished college, I stepped away from this obsession, and turned my attention elsewhere.

When I first suggested writing a new stage adaptation of The Three Musketeers in 2012, I was in the midst of an emotionally turbulent year of loss and change. I was excited to take on something playful, light-hearted, and adventurous -- perhaps as a way to reconnect with my younger, more optimistic self.

I bought a new copy of the book, and began reading it aloud to director Amy Rummenie. For the next several months, we were quite literally on the same page. We reveled in the thrilling moments and bogged down in the boring parts, we delighted in Dumas' humor and rolled our eyes at his overblown melodrama. I also found a lot more nuance than I noticed in my teen years. The spirit of adventure was still there, but beneath the bluster and bravura that so intrigued me when I was younger, I found characters filled with depression, desperation, uncertainty, and fear.

I also became aware of the immense challenge I faced in distilling this six hundred page novel into a relatively faithful two hour stage play for ten actors. The book was filled with complex political machinations and a carefully nuanced plot. It had hundreds of characters, a constantly shifting point of view, and some surprisingly unscrupulous heroes. What had I done!? I had no idea how to begin. I was terrified by the immensity of the task. But a musketeer cannot let himself be daunted by insurmountable odds. He must persevere. With panache.

Sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, chapter by chapter, I worked my way through the book, cutting, shaping, honing, clarifying, and rewriting. I removed the boring bits, honed the melodrama, and tried to leave the original plot intact wherever possible. With the help of the director, cast, creative team, and some helpful readers, I've worked to craft a performance text that's truer to the book than any other adaptation I've seen or read, but not without a few delightful liberties of my own. I hope you enjoy our theatrical romp through this epic adventure.

All for one, and one for all!

The Three Musketeers show page

cbethelCharlie Bethel is an actor/writer with five critically acclaimed solo shows to his credit: The Odyssey, Beowulf, Gilgamesh, Seven Poor Travellers, and Tom Thumb, or, The Tragedy of Tragedies. He has also worked as a stage manager, producer, electrician, milliner, director, and properties and set dressing artist.

He has performed for Orlando Shakespeare Theater, Trinity Rep, Utah Shakespearean Festival, North Carolina Shakespeare Festival, Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Econo-Art Theater Company, Red Bones, Next Theater Company, Apple Tree, The Jungle Theater, The Guthrie Theater, The Childrens Theatre Company, Hey City Stage, Minnesota Opera, Opera Memphis, Southwest Shakespeare Company, Walking Shadow Theatre Company, Chopping Block, Key City Public Theatre, Baltimore Shakespeare Festival, Cape May Stage and CalibanCo, to name a few.

In addition to the theater work, Charlie has worked as a creative consultant for the Diamond-Star/Mitsubishi Motors Company (Normal, IL), as a writer for Red Farm Films (Seattle), and as a filthy joke generator for the Innovisions Greeting Card Company (Chicago). He's also, naturally, been a barista at Starbucks, a beggar in Daley Plaza, a cleaner of baby poo, an angry sonneteer, and a propagandist for the Shedd Aquarium.

His solo performances have been presented all over the US: from The Clay Center for the Arts & Sciences (Charleston, WV), to Cincinnati Playhouse, and a couple of Fringe Festivals, to Joseph Campbell's Centenary Celebration at the Esalen Institute (Big Sur, CA), to the Mythic Journeys Conference in Atlanta. Charlie's solo work delights audiences large and small, educated and not, well-heeled and plain spun.

Charlie is a graduate of the North Carolina School of the Arts, and he comes from a long line of talkers. Recently he was featured on the History Channel's series, Clash of the Gods as a commentator on, you guessed it, Beowulf.

Elizabeth Tudor was born to King Henry VIII's second wife, Anne Boleyn. Two years later, Anne Boleyn was declared guilty of infidelity and executed, and Elizabeth deemed illegitimate. After Henry's death, the English throne passed briefly to Edward VI and Lady Jane Grey before reaching Mary Tudor, Elizabeth's half-sister. Mary Tudor, a staunch Catholic, became renowned as “Bloody Mary” for her violent persecution of Protestants. She imprisoned Elizabeth in the Tower of London on the suspicion that she was supporting Protestant rebels, and Elizabeth remained there until her half sister's death.

Elizabeth assumed the throne, outlawed Catholicism, and declared herself supreme head of the Church of England. Under the guidance of William Cecil, Baron Burleigh, she used diplomacy, intrigue, and spectacle to secure her reign and defend herself from the ever-growing threat of Catholic rebellion.

Mary Stuart was six days old when she became Queen of Scotland. She spent her childhood in France, and married King Francis II, becoming Queen of France until his death in 1560. Widowed, Mary returned to Scotland and married Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley – but the marriage was unhappy and Darnley was found murdered in his garden.

A month later, Mary married the Earl of Bothwell, who was believed to be her husband's murderer. This unpopular decision prompted a public uprising, and Mary was forced to abdicate the Scottish throne. She fled south to ask protection from her cousin Queen Elizabeth – but because many English Catholics considered Mary to be the legitimate sovereign of England, Elizabeth had her arrested.

But since Mary Stuart had done nothing illegal on English soil, Elizabeth couldn’t charge her with any crime. Now, after more than a decade of Mary's confinement, England has finally found the means to rid itself of this troublesome Queen...

1533 Elizabeth Tudor born, becomes Queen of Scotland
1542 Mary Stuart born
1558 Elizabeth Tudor becomes Queen of England
1568 Mary Stuart flees from Scotland to England and is imprisoned
1587 the events of this play occur
1800 Friedrich Schiller, a German Romantic playwright, writes Maria Stuart
2005 Peter Oswald creates this adaptation of Schiller’s play

The One-­Minute Play Festival (#1MPF) is America’s largest and longest running short form theatre company in the country, founded by Producing Artistic Director, Dominic D’Andrea. #1MPF is barometer project, which investigates the zeitgeist of different communities through dialogue and consensus building sessions and a performance of many moments. #1MPF works in partnership with theatres sharing playwright orcommunity-specific missions across the country. #1MPF creates locally sourced playwright-focused community events, withthe goal of promoting the spirit of radical inclusion by representing local cultures of playwrights of different age, gender, race, cultures, andpoints of career. The work attempts to reflect the theatrical landscape of local artistic communities by creating a dialogue between the collective conscious and the individual voice.

In each city, #1MPF works with partnering organizations to identify programs or initiatives in each community to support with the proceeds from the work. The goal is to find ways give directly back to the artists in each community. Supported programs have ranged from educational programming, youth poetry projects, teaching artists working in prisons, playwright residencies and memberships, and community arts workshops.  

Annual partnerships have been created with theaters in close to 20 cities including: New York,  Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Trenton, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Baltimore, Boston, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Seattle, Dallas, Austin, Indianapolis, Anchorage, and more, with partnering institutions like Primary Stages, Victory Gardens Theatre, Cornerstone Theatre Company, The Playwrights Foundation, Boston Playwrights Theatre, Actor’s Express, InterAct Theatre, Mixed Blood, Passage Theatre, Phoenix Theatre, Kitchen Dog, Salvage Vanguard, ScriptWorks,  ACT, Perseverance Theatre, and others.

Notable #1MPF contributors have included: David Henry Hwang, Neil LaBute, Tina Howe, Donald Margulies, Nilaja Sun, Lydia Diamond, Phillip Kan Gotanda, Kristoffer Diaz, Rajiv Joseph, Sam Hunter, Karen Hartman, José Rivera, Craig Lucas, Mike Daisey, Greg Kotis, Michael John Garcés, & close to 600 famous, emerging, and midcareer playwrights.

For more information visit: www.oneminuteplayfestival.com

Because we know you were wondering: the provocative phrase "The Sexual Life of Savages" is taken from the title of an early 20th century anthropological book about the South Pacific islanders of Melanesia.

The play itself is set in the United States today, and instead of examining remote tribes, serves as a kind of darkly hilarious anthropology of ourselves.

Playwright Ian MacAllister-McDonald picks up on the book's fascinating idea that, regardless of culture, how we act is a balance between our individual desires and our society's moral principles: "the compromise between rule and impulse." Especially when it comes to sex, nobody can ignore their primal inclinations.

In the play, Jean has had way more sex than Hal expected, while Hal has had way less sex than his friends expected. Everyone in the story is a little different from what everyone else assumes they are -- but Hal doesn't have time to worry about that: he just needs to figure out what to do about his own relationship. You can bet it'll be funny, awkward, and ultimately an honest and important look at this most intimate part of our lives.
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Production History

Walking Shadow Theatre Company

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