What will we be working on, you ask? Great question! We will be working on Ziibi!
What is Ziibi, you ask? Another great question! First off, the easy answer: ziibi is the Anishinaabe/Ojibwe word for river. It’s the ‘ssippi’ in ‘Mississippi’. Ziibi means river.
What is Ziibi in our context? Ziibi is an upcoming spectacular theatrical production that celebrates life on the river. This is idea we’ve paddling around for some time… since last winter/spring, actually. We were looking at doing Ziibi for summer 2014, but we already had a Shakespeare in the Park project in the wings; with the scope of this adventure we wanted plenty of time to pull it all together. Ziibi is a show that we are creating as a new production on the Showboat stage. Grand Rapids Showboat is approaching its 60th anniversary and its amphitheater built right on the banks of the Mississippi is a rare treasure. Showboat is ready for a rebirth and we will be celebrating life on the river with a variety show called Ziibi. We like to describe Ziibi as Lion King on Broadway meets Moulin Rouge meets Cirque du Soleil meets Showboat. It will be a variety show with a lot of spectacle. Song and dance, yes, but also large-scale puppetry, colorful costumes and banners, a wild storyline, and a lot of visual and aural candy. As the name begs, we are also looking to collaborate with some Anishinaabe artists/performers.
So how does this effect our time as artists in residence at Old Central School? We will be finalizing details of the script and show structure, but the big thing will be our time creating the puppets, stilts, flags, and eye-popping visual elements to next summer’s show.
So come on up to the third floor of Old Central School. See what we’re doing! And then mark you calendars and come see the show: July 30, 31, August 1, 6, 7, 8.