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

Advertisements

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!

Across the threshold, on to the fringe

 

For the past few years, we’ve put in an application to get into the Minnesota Fringe Festival. And for the past few years, we’ve seen our lottery number drawn somewhere in the ridiculously high range on the wait list; somewhere that essentially guarantees that we’re not going to make a trip to Minneapolis to produce a show. This year, same as usual, we found ourselves on the wait list. The only difference, though – and it’s an important difference – is that we were fourth on the list this time, which is a placement that essentially guarantees that we’ll get an offer to make that coveted trip.

And just this past Thursday, we received our official invitation to be a Fringe Fest producer! You may congratulate us.

So now the hard part begins: actually producing a show! Let’s be clear here, every single year that we apply to be a part of the festival, we don’t actually have anything prepared. This year is no different. So when we found out that we were likely going to get a chance, we began brainstorming a script right away. Within the first few hours, we had the gist of what the tone of our play would be. By the next morning, we had a proposed conflict for our supposed characters. Another two days later, there was an initial outline. And now, about two weeks later when everything became finalized with our participation in the festival, we’ve got the bulk of the first draft of the first act written. Progress continues to be made.

In brief, the two of us (John and Nathan) are using some of our own personal experiences dictate this story. As representatives of both atheist and Christian demographics, we thought it’d be great to produce a play that explores the differences between the world views as well as the means by which we can still coexist. The setting of the play involves two brothers who haven’t seen each other for years. One of them organizes a family reunion to get everyone back together again, though the other is hesitant about going because he renounced his faith and is suspect about how his extremely devout family will take the news – either that or how awkward it will be to keep this secret from all of them during his time back home. The cat, as they say, is let out of the bag, and the brothers have to figure out how, or if, they can reconcile this situation.

All of this is subject to change, of course. Like I said, we haven’t even finished the script yet, though the play will likely be some variation of what’s described above.

As the months go by between now and August, we’ll make sure to give little updates on our progress, so stay tuned. And we hope to see you at the Fringe Fest!

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.

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.

10150456_577045804305_3242115809387989281_n

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.

IMG_1737

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.

10484414_907059139308064_4835810201210838367_n

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.

10408498_590839676275_7647544278406639548_n

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.

1920555_774085889296180_279317016400257143_n

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.

image(6)

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!