Spotlight June 2015

<![CDATA[Spotlight June 2015: Fringe Tech, Bain Boelhke, and The Neverending Story!]]> Spotlight June 2015: Fringe Tech, Bain Boelhke, and The Neverending Story!
News, Events, Interviews, and More!
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June 2015
A Note from Wu Chen

Here it is: our biggest month yet. By the time this is released, it’ll be the day before the registration closes for our most ambitious workshop yet: a three session class on Power Distribution and Electricity! I’ve wanted to do this critically important workshop for years, and it’s exciting to see it happen.

We’ll also be back at Rarig June 19th & 20th and 26th & 27th. Painters and aspiring painters, take note: we’re making good on our promise to you and are offering TWO full paint workshops, as well as lighting and sound classes. We’ve got a terrific line up of instructors: 8 excellent local professionals at the leading edge of their fields!

In this Spotlight, the Sightlines column continues with a lovely piece in which Jungle Artistic Director Bain Boelhke muses on the changes and developments in the Twin Cities theatre scene across his storied career. Also, we sit down with Fringe TD Liz Neerland to talk about working in theatre and being a Fringe Tech!

Carl’s article last month had me once again thinking a lot about why and how we are valued and funded. We’ve all spent a lot of time thinking about audience engagement and building a perception of value as regards the arts, and I shan’t bore anyone with my opinions. What I will say is: summer isn’t the off-season for the arts; there is no off-season. Fringe is a brilliant and unique marker of that, but it is by no means the only one.

Be the change: go, see, get involved. Bring a friend.

p.s. MN Playlist has a nice listing of shows currently playing, but don’t forget about all the possibilities that aren’t listed there!


Wu Chen Khoo
Tech Tools co-founder and Operations Director

Tech Tools Calendar of Events

Covering the basics of electrical knowledge and skill as used by technicians in the entertainment industry.  NO WALK UPS - Register now!

June 19th & 20th - Sound Editing & Show Control
2-Day Workshop - Rarig Center, Thrust Stage
Whether you’re interested in designing and editing sound, or you want to learn to program QLab, you’ll find something to get you solidly on your feet.

June 19th & 20th - Scenic Painting: Core Ideas & Techniques
2-Day Workshop - Rarig Center, Thrust Stage
In this 8-hour course for all experience levels, professional Scenic Painters Lili Payne and Sara Herman will dig into the core skills every painter needs to master. 

June 26th & 27th - Lighting for the Non-Electrician
2-Day Workshop - Rarig Center, Kilburn Arean
Whether you’re interested in getting into lighting, or you just want to know the basics of setting up, maintaining and running a show, this is the class for you!

Painting something (including wood) to look like wood is something every painter will be asked to do - a lot. In this practical class, local Scenic Artists Angelique Powers and Ursula Bowden will share their extensive toolkits of tips and tricks to make this incredibly important skill easy, fast and effective.

Visit our Events Calendar for information!

Not seeing something you'd like TTT to offer? Let us know HERE!

Spotlight: Theater Is Celebration

An Essay & Retrospective
by Bainbridge Boelhke

Photo by Michal Daniel

During this decade the American theater deconstructed and explored new forms seeking a flexibility that was capable of embracing a changing social paradigm.  When Tennessee Williams wrote THE GLASS MENAGERIE in the ‘40’s he began to experiment, prophetically, with an already emerging plastique approach to theater; writing for a stage inspired by an emerging, albeit nascent, technology which itself was anticipated centuries ago by Shakespeare (“O, for a muse of fire that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention”) and already inherent in the magic of film.  Shakespeare (universal, “ahead of his time”) presented a non-Aristotelian approach to storytelling for the stage – an approach not bound by the limitations of scenery and costume and therefore able to travel back and forth through time as well as across sea and land, from bedroom to battle field within the twinkling of an eye.  And, of course, Cinema (that “brightest heaven of invention”) could travel hither and yon, now and then, with the snip of an editor’s scissors.  This inspiring, new-found freedom (the flight of imagination, the miracle of transformation) smashed a time ordered unity of form and suddenly a new theater was borne; a theater capable of containing the emergence of a new cultural paradigm -  a theater that allowed complex ideas to be expressed in form as well as idea.

With the winds of cultural transformation suddenly filling its sails, the magic sailing vessels that rode the waters of a new American theater were everywhere... 

Read the full article HERE!

Way Around the Fringe: An Interview with Liz Neerland

Liz Neerland is a well-known person in the Twin Cities theatre community.
She is co-Artistic Director of Nimbus Theatre, and the Technical Director for the Minnesota Fringe Festival.

Liz Neerland: "It's in your blood. It's so great to see what pops up every year. I think the lottery is such a great thing and sometimes there's you know, someone who's become kind of a Fringe star who doesn't get into the lottery, and it's like, well yeah, but that means that the new version of that person can get a chance. Some of the best pieces of theatre I've ever seen in my life have been at the fringe. And some of the worst. And everything in between.
It sounds like I drank the Kool-Aid, but I guess I did."

Discover how Liz worked her way up in the MN Fringe Festival, balances managing her own theater company and venue, and how she hires Fringe techs - want to work the with fringe this summer? Find out what they are looking for and how to apply!


Wu Chen Recommends...

I love to read. I love to encourage others to read, as well, and I particularly encourage the reading of fiction. I don’t care if it is a classic (read: “old enough that someone, somewhere, will think you uneducated for not having read it”), or a corner store romance novel: reading a piece of fiction is a brilliant act of exploring worlds, minds and lives not our own. It’s an exercise in empathy and soaring imagination and human connection.

For all these reasons, I recommend Michael Ende’s The Neverending Story. If my anecdotal experience is anything to go by, at this point many of you have sighed and said “I love that movie!”

I say to you all: if you haven’t, go and read the book.

It’s my favourite coming-of-age story, my favourite commentary on the corruption of power and pride, my favourite parable of responsibility and heroism at its most utterly human, and my favourite action adventure.

The movie is good, no doubt about it. But film and the written word are two different mediums: neither one is superior to the other, each has their own strengths and shortcomings.

The movie was heart-warming, thoroughly enjoyable and beautiful.
The book got under my skin and has gnawed at me for 30 years.
It’s an experience I wish upon everyone.
Sound Designer Katharine Horowitz leads a sound editing class at the Rarig Center Thrust Stage.
All the photos used in this publication are copyrighted to Farrington Starnes and used with permission.
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