Thursday, November 14th is Give to the Max Day. This year a group of donors have presented Walking Shadow with a generous matching offer of $10,000, with a leading pledge from Laura & ErikPeter Walker.
This means the first $10,000 of donations made on Thursday, November 15th through our online giving page will be matched dollar for dollar, making your tax-deductible gift have an even greater impact.
Donations to Walking Shadow help support our mission of staging intelligent, thought-provoking work in Minnesota by making our 2013-2014 season possible, including The Sexual Life of Savages, Schiller's Mary Stuart, The Odyssey, and our new adaptation of The Three Musketeers.
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 and Razoo. During this day, many donations will be matched and every donation gives your favorite organization the chance to win even more money. Your gift makes a BIG difference!
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.
We're sad to report that our production of Cabal, scheduled for this summer, must be postponed. The latest in our series of interactive plays-with-puzzles (see also 1926 Pleasant and Saboteur), Cabal requires a nontraditional venue: multiple rooms for the audience to explore, a solid infrastructure to handle the large-scale challenges, and an owner willing to let a theater company take over for several months to let us keep our audience size at just 15 people per show. We couldn't lock down the right space in time for this year, but we know it's out there somewhere in the future.
The good news is that this gives our electrical engineer, computer programmer, videographer and sculptor extra time to research and develop our newest puzzle ideas!
Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde is Walking Shadow’s 28th full-length production, and unifies several major themes we’ve explored over the past two seasons: society’s views on homosexuality, the role of government in determining morality, the value and danger of opposing an unjust law, the public’s desire to see the mighty brought low, and whether art should address issues of morality or simply be beautiful.
In 1895, Oscar Wilde was at the height of his career – his plays The Importance of Being Earnest and An Ideal Husband were both running on the West End, and his reputation as England’s preeminent man of letters seemed secure. On February 18 the Marquess of Queensbury left a card at the Albemarle Club, accusing Wilde of being “a posing somdomite.” (The Marquess here misspelled "sodomite," both a slur and a legal term in the Victorian era referring to someone who performs "unnatural" sexual acts such as oral or anal intercourse.)
Wilde chose to prosecute the Marquess for libel, which led to a series of three ill-fated trials. Throughout the trials, Wilde’s art was denounced as "immoral" and used as evidence of the author’s corruption. Wilde took the stand and defended his literature with characteristic wit and skill. Despite this eloquent defense, the Crown convicted Wilde for “gross indecency with male persons,” leading to his imprisonment, disgrace, and ultimately his death.
Gross Indecency uses primary sources to tell this story: trial transcripts, memoirs, newspaper clippings, Wilde’s published works and personal letters, reminiscences from George Bernard Shaw, and interviews between the playwright and historians. These weave together, creating dialogue between texts, and allowing scenes that never actually occurred to spring out of the documents. The resulting play is an exciting courtroom drama, a tragedy, a significant historic event, a celebration of language and wit, and an exploration of morality in a highly politicized society.
At its core, Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde is a story about how art and morality are perceived by society and personified in the legal system, as framed around one man’s struggle to defend his own artistic and personal identity – issues that are as vital today as they were in 1895.
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is the third collaboration between playwright John Heimbuch and director Jon Ferguson. Or The White Whale, their rough and lyrical adaptation of Moby Dick, premiered in 2007 at the Southern Theater. In 2009, also at the Southern, they created S. Gunter Klaus and the Story Before, a charming yet challenging re-imagining of traditional folklore surrounding the Santa Claus story. As with those productions, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow will blend a rich and exciting text with evocative movement and imagery - and has been created in Ferguson/Heimbuch's signature collaborative style, being written and devised entirely in the room during the rehearsal process, with frequent contributions from the original cast.
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is the playwright John Heimbuch’s seventh script for Walking Shadow (Drakul, The Transdimensional Couriers Union, Squawk, William Shakespeare’s Land of the Dead, 10-Speed Revolution, and The Lives of the Most Notorious Highwaymen). A founding member and Co-Artistic Director of Walking Shadow, he is regarded for scripts simultaneously entertaining and thought-provoking. His recent direction of Jeffrey Hatcher's Compleat Female Stage Beauty for Walking Shadow received an IVEY Award for "Overall Excellence".
This production marks director Jon Ferguson's Walking Shadow debut. He is the Artistic Director for Theatre Forever (formerly Jon Ferguson Theater), and his numerous previous projects include the wildly popular Super Monkey at the Guthrie Theater, Animal Farm at the Southern, and Please Don’t Blow Up Mr. Boban at the Minnesota Fringe Festival. Known for physical theater, modern clowning, and ensemble-based creation, Ferguson was called a “local treasure” by the Star Tribune.
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow was originally staged in November 2010 at the Hassler Theatre in Plainview, MN. Walking Shadow is delighted to be staging the Twin Cities premiere of this production.
During Walking Shadow's 2011-2012 season, we focused on gender and relationships in a variety of contexts and eras. In reasons to be pretty, Greg and Stef had very different ideas about the role physical appearance plays in attraction, and how it should be expressed. With An Ideal Husband, Lord and Lady Chiltern learned to navigate their responsibilities to each other in love and marriage, culminating in a provocative statement about ingrained gender differences. And in Compleat Female Stage Beauty, Edward Kynaston explored what it meant to be - and appear to be - masculine and feminine, both on stage and in life.
Now, as we enter our 2012-2013 season and prepare for our upcoming production of Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde, we're especially reminded of the role that government takes in legislating personal decisions, and those families whose lives are at the center of our current political debate.
In light of our interest in exploring such important social issues, it should come as no surprise that Walking Shadow has joined Minnesotans United for All Families.
We are proud to stand with a coalition of local arts organizations, and hundreds more non-arts groups, to oppose the marriage amendment that will be on the ballot in November. We believe that the proposed amendment's sole purpose is to legitimize discrimination; marriage is a fundamental freedom that should not be denied to anyone.
Don't limit the freedom to marry: Vote NO.
Please take a moment to visit the website for Minnesotans United for All Families and check out their efforts to defend the families of all Minnesotans.
Walking Shadow's Artistic Director Amy Rummenie asked the director and cast members of Some Girl(s) to share their opinions about Neil LaBute and what it's like to perform in his work. Their responses were compiled into this video:
Later, director Brian Balcom, actor Clarence Wethern, and company member John Heimbuch met with Ed Jones of Jazz 88 to discuss our approach to staging Some Girl(s) and give some background about the production.
Minneapolis has a history of staging works by Neil LaBute. Yet after a decade of productions, his plays still inspire us by addressing complicated questions with a unique humor. Here is a brief list of local productions by this provocative author:
2011 - reasons to be pretty, Walking Shadow Theatre Company
2009 - Some Girl(s), Walking Shadow Theatre Company
2008 - Autobahn, Kaleidoscope Theatre/Workhouse Theatre
2007 - Fat Pig, Walking Shadow Theatre Company
2007 - The Shape of Things, Twin Cities Theater Company
2005 - Bash: Latterday Plays, CalibanCo Theatre
2003 - The Shape of Things, Eye of the Storm Theatre
2001 - Bash: Latterday Plays, Balance Theatre Project
How many of these productions have you seen?
Audiences often wonder about the nature of Walking Shadow's site-specific puzzle shows. Here are answers to some of the most-commonly asked questions about our production of Saboteur (summer 2011).
What is "a theatrical game with puzzles"?
Saboteur is a live performance in which the audience participates in the action of the show by doing large-scale, hands-on puzzles. These puzzles are interspersed with theatrical sequences (much like cut scenes in a video game) and the story is revealed through this combination of performance and puzzles. For an example, visit the walk-through of our previous puzzle show 1926 Pleasant.
Is Saboteur an audience participatory show?
Yes, but not in the way you might be used to. The audience isn't expected to act or converse with the performers. You won't be required to dance or wear funny hats. You just get to do awesome puzzles.
What if puzzles aren't my thing?
You'd be surprised - you may have just the insight your team will need! But there will be other people at your performance who love figuring out the puzzles, and helping them find solutions can be lots of fun.
What is Saboteur about?
We might tell you "Spies", but then you'd know too much.
Why so many performances?
Because of the hands-on nature of Saboteur, it's important to keep the audience small (around 15 people per performance). Therefore we added performances to give more people the chance to see it.
Will the audience be moving around a lot?
You should expect to be on your feet for about 90 minutes (though limited seating will be available in certain rooms and accommodations can be made for those with reduced mobility).
Will concessions be available at the show?
Bottled water will be freely available, but we ask that you bring no other food or drink into the performance space.
Where is Saboteur being performed?
Saboteur is being performed at a secret location in Northeast Minneapolis. The location will be revealed once you have purchased tickets. This venue is along major bus lines and easily accessible from a nearby freeway.
How much territory will we cover?
Saboteur takes place in one location. You'll be walking from room to room, but we won't be kidnapping you in a van and taking you anywhere. Total distance traveled will be just a couple hundred feet, all indoors.
What will I get if I win?
Success is a journey, not a destination! Saboteur won't have winners and losers. Don't worry, we're not going to time you, and we won't be comparing one audience against another. Sure, there are puzzles to solve, but it's more of an experience than a competition.
Can I purchase tickets at the door?
No. Because of limited capacity, all tickets must be purchased in advance. Prices vary depending on the performance.
Still curious and want to know more?
Read the Saboteur press release.
In March 2009, Minnesota Playlist asked Walking Shadow's Artistic Directors to explain our approach to season-planning and script selection. Amy Rummenie, David Pisa, and John Heimbuch put their collective heads together and wrote this article on the subject: