Spotlight December 2015

<![CDATA[Spotlight December 2015: The tightrope walk of a working mother, Sightlines with Ron Peluso, & Interactive Theater continues with Part 2!]]> Spotlight December 2015: The tightrope walk of a working mother, Sightlines with Ron Peluso, & Interactive Theater continues with Part 2!
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December 2015
A Note from Wu Chen

When Costume Designer Andrea Gross asked if she could write this month’s essay about parenthood instead of the originally planned piece about costume design, I said yes without hesitation. Given what I said last month, I should have been more prepared for what was to come. It sparked what would be a month of personal reflection.

A recent parent myself, I claim it’s on my mind a lot. Andrea’s piece was a brilliant splash of cold water: my reality has been more like my colleague Laura, and it was fantastic to be forced to think long and hard about the lives of others, and thus also your own.

History Theater Artistic Director Ron Peluso also surprised me with this month’s Sightlines column. Ron is arguably part of the reason I’m still working in the industry, and it’s been incredibly eye-opening to realize just how little I knew - know - about him.

Sound Designer Katharine Horowitz continues her dive down the rabbit hole of Interactive Theater. The sheer variety of core philosophies amongst the creators was fascinating to me. Rarely do interview series make me wish for the unedited material!

However, particularly with our focus on giving a platform for the personal stories of the people of the performing arts industry - such as with the monthly Sightlines column - it was discomfiting to realize how little I lately had been giving credence to perspectives not my own. As we plan out another year, I’m very grateful for the kick in the pants.

We are really excited for the continued opportunities in 2016 and deeply grateful for all 2015 brought us. Thank you. All of you. Participants, instructors, business partners, friends, and mentors. For your support, enthusiasm, ideas, independence, criticism, and ferocity. As I said in last month’s Notes: keep driving forward.



-Wu Chen Khoo
co-founder and Operations Director
Technical Tools of the Trade


Soapbox: The High Wire Act - Working Mother


Article by Andrea Gross

The days grow shorter, and we snuggle into the end of the year. It’s wise to look back at the year with both gratitude and a critical eye to how our artistic practice can continue to evolve.

This past calendar year I designed costumes for five productions, and served as shop manager on a sixth. In August, I marked a decade of living and designing in Minnesota, and in October I opened my 75th professional costume design. It wasn’t a particularly record-breaking year of design by the numbers, even with those milestones.

In January 2016, our child will turn two. As I constructed that last sentence about design by the numbers, I first had to delete some versions of “it wasn’t the busiest year” or “it wasn’t the most work in a year” because it definitely was some version of both those things...


Read the full article HERE!

Tech Tools Calendar of Events

We're planning great things, so stay tuned. Subscribe to our events on Facebook or via our dedicated mailing lists to never miss a new addition.

Visit our Events Calendar for information!

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

Sightlines: Ron Peluso

A Witness to 40 Years in the Twin Cities' Theater Community

An Article by Ron Peluso

I came to the Twin Cities in stages.  First in 1975-76 for graduate school at the U of M.  I remember vividly a production of the Snow Queen at CTC – curtain up on a witch – long blonde hair barely covering a bare-breasted actor: female.  John Clarke Donahue, directing – the show was stunning.   It was my first impression of the theater scene in Minnesota.

That same year, I would visit The Guthrie and the experience was over-whelming. My time in professional theater was yet to come – I had never before seen great classics on a thrust performed by nationally renowned actors and directors, let alone done on such a grand scale.  

Read the full article HERE!


In Focus: Interactive Theater - Part 2, The Director


Series by Katharine Horowitz

Audience immersion and interactivity have always been the mainstays of haunted houses and historical reenactment sites, but the genre seems to be experiencing a recent eruption of popularity in the United States with such productions as Punchdrunk’s Sleep No More, or Third Rail Project’s Then She Fell, both in New York City. The last few years have also seen some impressive interactive theatre productions in the Twin Cities, but is there a lasting future for it here? And what challenges do companies encounter when building the kind of designs and stories needed to create a successful interactive experience?

This is the second in a series of articles examining the work involved to produce interactive theatre, and how we might foster its continued growth in the Twin Cities. We continue our discussion from last month with local directors of recent interactive theatre shows. Here Horowitz delves deeper into questions about venue selection, audience control, and boundaries and limitations while developing these challenging, non-traditional theatrical experiences.


Read the full article HERE!

Wu Chen Recommends...

I picked up The Housekeeper and the Professor by chance. It was sitting on the floor of the bookstore; it appeared to have fallen off the shelf. I had heard of the author, but I had not read any of her books - and now, here I was, holding one.

I flipped to the inside leaf, then sat on the floor and began to read.

When I eventually got up, I felt it only right that I buy the book. I took a copy off the shelf (from a little way down the aisle) and I left my reading copy where I had found it for someone else.

A beautiful story, with living, breathing, fascinating people in a world that’s so incredibly human and familiar it seems fantastical, the book is remarkable. I thought it was a lovely - and loving - journey into the mysteriousness and beauty of humanity. Don’t let the blurb description turn you off: the seemingly trite premise is incredible in execution.

Hennepin County Library link here.
We're busy sketching out plans for 2016. Be sure to let us know what courses, workshops, and panels you'd like to see by telling us HERE!
Photo Credit: Megan Engeseth Photography
Photos used in this publication are copyrighted to Farrington Starnes and used with permission. Photos used in this publication are copyrighted to Megan Engeseth Photography and used with permission.
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