Pistachios Tech Rehearsal

HUGE theaterOn Sunday we descended from the pine trees to walk upright amongst men in the urban jungle. Tech week for Minnesota Fringe Festival has begun, and our slot was August 31 at 2pm. We found our venue, HUGE theater in Uptown, and we love it.

Of course, we had seen pictures and schematics, so we already had an idea of what the space was like. The opportunity to run the show on the stage, however, gave a true taste of how intimate this show will be. The audience for Pistachios will be right at our feet, forced to wipe our diction off their faces as we shake their tears off our feet.

We first met our tech, Aaron, and got a tour of the space. Then we proceeded with a cue-to-cue to define the different acting areas and light settings. We went through the script to indicate where the lighting cues would change, and then we ran the show. All-in-all it went smoothly and we are excited to open on Saturday at 10pm! Reserve your seat here. #PistachiosPlay #MNFringe

A Christian and an Atheist Walk Into a Bar

13418753_625309517627551_3136932056967622599_nA Christian and an atheist walk into a bar… they order a pitcher of beer, rehearse a play, and enjoy some live jazz thereafter.

One of the great things about a small, two-man show? You can do just that. Rehearse anywhere at anytime, provided both actor/directors are available.

The beauty of the situation was amplified by the stage directions in the script that require eating and drinking. The popcorn and IPA before the actors served well.

And thus begins the rehearsing of ‘Pistachios’ which will premier early August at the Minnesota Fringe Festival. Whether you’re Christian, atheist, or just a lover of theatre, it’s a show anyone can empathize and everyone can enjoy!

MN Fringe Lottery

Whoa! We’ve entered the Fringe Festival lottery before… but we never made the cut. The best we’ve done is like 116 (or some obscene number like that) on the waiting list. Well, folks, this year we made it to #4 on the wait list. Which means there’s a pretty good chance we’ll be making it into the Fringe Festival.

For those who don’t know, the MN Fringe Festival is an 11-day stretch of grass root performances. It’s a lottery to get in, so there isn’t any vetting process really: meaning you have no idea what you’re going to get when you get in. Independent companies write, direct, and produce shows that make up this performing arts extravaganza. Attendees can purchase a pass that lets them attend the shows.

So cross your fingers, folks… a couple of rural boys from the woods may be heading to the Big City to put on a lil’ show.

Porters and Poetry II

Our Porters and Poetry event in April was enjoyed by many, and we figured waiting until next year’s National Poetry Month was too long. So here we are a six-month mark, ready for another installment.

April Porters and Poetry had several featured poets punctuated opportunity for open mic. Our October 9th Porters and Poetry will mix it up again. We will again have choice beverages and open mic for any poetry, but we will punctuate it with a session of haiku and a session of limericks. Each poetic style will have a mild competition, as well, just to spice things up. These short, enjoyable poetic forms are such that you could even write them at the event itself (cocktail napkins and ballpoint pens will be standing by). For those who would like to participate but aren’t familiar with the forms, here’s a crash course…

Haiku: A Japanese form of poetry, traditionally an observation of the natural world, traditionally in three lines consisting of five syllables, seven syllables, and five syllables.

Limerick: Typically witty and tongue-in-cheeck, traditionally five lines of poetry with a rhyming scheme of AABBA.

For more details and instruction and examples– do a quick search online; but be careful– particularly when searching for examples of limericks. Sometimes they can be quite naughty.

See you at Porters and Poetry! 7:00 social, 8:00 poetry at MacRostie Art Center in Grand Rapids, MN. https://www.facebook.com/events/416370488566800/
porters and poetry

Thanks to our partners for making this event possible! Grand Rapids Players, MacRostie Art Center, 91.7 KAXE, and Zorbaz on Pokegama!

Porters and Poetry

porters and poetry

Mark your calendars for an evening of classy quaffing- April 24 at MacRostie Art Center! An event of literary and libationary poetry (spoken word and beer drinking ). Featured poets will be punctuated by opportunities for open mic. Original poetry is encouraged but not required. Come to read your own words or just sit and sip on eloquence of the mouth and the malt. Social hours begins at at 7:00, poetry at 8:00. $10 for keepsake glassware and the first fill. $5 per additional pour of porter. (alternative beverages available for patrons of poetry but not porter.) #uncommonloons #portersandpoetry #onlyinMN

Our Facebook event page is here.

A Recap of 2014

Wow! Where did 2014 go? Though on closer examination, I guess we have a few reasons it flew by so quickly…

Not Playing with a Full Deck

Not Playing with a Full Deck

Beginning with First Friday for January 2014, the Uncommon Loons presented Not Playing With a Full Deck on the second floor of Old Central School.

Loons creative team for Twin Cities 24

Loons creative team for Twin Cities 24

Later in January we drove down to the Southern Theater in the Cities to participate in Twin Cities 24 with The Secret of Mosquitoes.

The 'Silhouette, Gentille Silhouette' Screen

The ‘Silhouette, Gentille Silhouette’ Screen

For First Friday in April we presented our shadow puppet show Silhouette, Gentille Silhouette at MacRostie Art Center.


Japheth and Noah in Two by Two

Later that month a couple of us were involved with the Grand Rapids Players production of Two by Two.


Oz Mystery Dinner Theatre Cast

Shortly thereafter we wrote and performed the Oz Mystery Dinner Theatre for the Judy Garland Festival and performed it at the Sawmill Inn.

Flying Monkeys After Work

Flying Monkeys After Work

We also appeared at the festival as a munchkin and two flying monkeys for the Guinness Book of World Record successful attempt at number of Oz characters in one place.

Cast of Much Ado ©Wes Bailey

Cast of Much Ado ©Wes Bailey

Later that month we performed our original adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing, which was performed outdoors in June at Riverfront Park in Grand Rapids and Golf on the Edge in Bigfork.


Borachio and Lion

We thought it would be funny if Lion from Oz Mystery Dinner Theatre and Borachio from Much Ado would meet in a bar. So we wrote and performed Lion and Borachio Meet in a Bar for August First Friday in at the Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation, and later for the Rotary Club at the Sawmill Inn.

Cast of Picturing Grace

Cast of Picturing Grace

In August we also had auditions for Picturing Grace, and original play premiered by the Grand Rapids Players. This was performed in October at the Reif Center.


Just two miners. Tikka on the right and substitute Itchy on the left.

We also previewed a scene from Picturing Grace at Annabella’s in Bovey in September. And for a friend raising funds to qualify for the Olympic Games, we wrote and performed a couple of 10-minutes scenes on the topic of boxing.


The Curse of the Werewolf cast

Two weeks after Picturing Grace performed in October was the high school play The Curse of the Werewolf, which a couple of us were involved with in leadership.


Caterpillar skin in progress

In November we began a three month residency in Old Central School to work on putting together our original show Ziibi for the Showboat stage in summer of 2015. Work on this will continue until that time.

In November we also had auditions for Grand Rapids Players production of Young Frankenstein, which we’re all involved in, and performs in the middle of February 2015.

The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker

In early December a couple of us participated in the first act of the Reif Center’s annual production of the Nutcracker Ballet.

We also collectively sat in the audience for many other productions: amateur, college, and professional. Without even considering our full-time day jobs, our personal lives, and our social activity, it suddenly becomes clear to the Uncommon Loons why 2014 flew like a tomato at a bad actor. Like a vaudevillian stage manager standing in the wings with a shepherd’s hook in hand, theatre made our year disappear with one quick sweep. But we had fun! Until the curtain rises on 2016… thanks for a great year of supporting live, local arts!

Creating a Caterpillar Puppet


The upcoming Uncommon Loons/Grand Rapids Showboat production of ‘Ziibi’ involves a large caterpillar puppet. As with most of the costumes, props and puppets in this show, we hope each element will be its own piece of art. The caterpillar will be a type of marionette with its skin dyed with batik techniques. Here is a log of our process. I’m not experienced in batik or puppet construction, so we are learning as we go. Here’s to trial and error augmented by rigorous research!

Step 1: Cutting the fabric to size and stretching it on a temporary frame. image(3)

Step 2: Drawing a pattern out on paper. Inked in black marker so that it can be seen through the fabric when we flip the frame over onto it.


Step 3: Flip the stretched fabric onto the pattern. Trace the lines in wax. This took three tries to get it right. The first…

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Give MN 2014!


It’s Minnesota’s ‘Give to the Max Day’ 2014! As you consider non-profit organizations to support, please consider our parent organization the Grand Rapids Players. The Grand Rapids Players build and strengthen community through performing arts. For the summer children’s theatre camp to improv nights to main stage productions, there is opportunity for everyone to be involved on stage, behind the scenes, or in the audience. The Uncommon Loons would have a difficult time without the Grand Rapids Players as they are a source for props, costumes, and fiduciary agent for us. Help us keeping rural theatre thriving! GiveMN Grand Rapids Players.