On devising ‘The Oil Project’

by Colin Holter

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Colin Holter

I was recently asked how many productions I’ve had the chance to work on with Theatre B. When I counted them out on my fingers, the answer — six, including The Oil Project! — came as a bit of a surprise to me because it feels like six distinct jobs rather than six instances of the same job. Making art with Theatre B is always a richly collaborative process, but the shape of my contribution to that process is never quite the same twice: in some cases I’ve been a capital-C Composer, in others a traditional theatre-style sound designer, and in still others a hybrid sound artist with recourse to a sprawling collection of tools and resources.

oil project_square-01In The Oil Project, my job is to invite sounds both beautiful and terrible from a custom-built microtonal electric guitar while wearing a gaudily bedazzled suit that might even have been a bit much for the likes of Rex Allen and Porter Waggoner, a suit whose loudness is exceeded only by the loudness of the guitar. This isn’t the kind of work my training in the field of contemporary concert music led me to anticipate, but it’s the task that turned out to be waiting for me at the end of The Oil Project’s development process — a long, occasionally meandering, not always well-marked but always compelling road that our nine company members have navigated together. Continue reading

The Company of ‘The Oil Project’

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Meet the devising ensemble of The Oil Project. These artists have spent the past several months researching, creating, and rehearsing The Oil Project, which premiere’s August 13 & 14.

The Company: Continue reading

Vince is back in town!

Vincent Delaney Profile

The author of The Art of Bad Men, the opening production of our 13th season, is returning to Fargo. Vince visited in 2008 when we performed his play Kuwait. While in residence he worked with the company and lead playwrighting masterclasses at MSUM and NDSU.

Thanks in part to an NEA Art Works grant, Vince will again be in residence in Fargo. From July 26th to the 29th he will work with the company of The Art of Bad Men as they move towards the premiere. He will also share his experiences researching and writing the play along with historian Mark Peihl at our Season Preview. The preview is July 28th at 7:00pm at the Hjemkomst Center.

Vince will return for opening night on September 18th and to hang out at German Culture Day with the Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County.

The Oil Project

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Theatre B and Plains Art Museum have collaborated to create a new theatre experience to close The Plains ‘Bakken Boom!’ exhibit. Devised by Theatre B Ensemble Members and Guest Artists, ‘The Oil Project’ chronicles the people and the pumpjacks of the Bakken oil play.

Theatre B’s first devised play, ‘The Oil Project’ is conceived and created by a company of artists who have spent the summer researching, generating, and developing the hour-long performance.

Part character exploration, part art installation, tied together by sights and sounds that recall the oil rush in Western North Dakota, ‘The Oil Project’ follows several characters across the early years of the boom, through the transformation of the countryside and towns, and up to now, where the possibility of an oil bust looms.

The play was co-commissioned by The Plains to coincide with the end of their ‘Bakken Boom! Artists Respond to the North Dakota Oil Rush’ exhibit.

This production runs Thursday and Friday, August 13th and 14th at noon and 7:00pm at the Plains Art Museum. Admission is free and open to the public, but limited to the first seventy-five audience members.

Devising Ensemble:

Cole Bartles
Matthew Collie
Brad Delzer*
Matthew Dryburgh
Colin Holter
Mia Miller
Jay Nelson
Chelsea Pace
Pam Strait*

Stage Manager: Blaine Edwards*
Production Manager: Shea Hittman*

* denotes Theatre B Ensemble Member

 

Guest blogger Monika Browne on Devising it Her Way

On Devising It Your Way
by Monika Browne

FB_IMG_1435239573810-1Many people ask what’s so special about Fargo. It’s in North Dakota – aka the freezer of the US – hours away from any major city, and there are few nationally-recognized cultural entities to draw artists for fame and fortune. In fact Fargo sees a drain of young artists who get their education here but want to spread their wings in places which can foster success, like Los Angeles and New York.

But there is a competitive venture growing in Fargo, which has its eyes set on making fulfilling artistic work possible for artists in the region: Theatre B. Continue reading

‘The Art of Bad Men’ Cast List

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There was a tremendous amount of talent at auditions for The Art of Bad Men, which made making decisions challenging. Please join us on July 27th for conversation with the playwright, Vincent Delaney, and Mark Peihl from the Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County about the story and facts behind The Art of Bad Men.

The Art of Bad Men cast:

Gerhardt:  Taylor Schatz
Kurt:  Luke Smit
Franz:  Cameron Wintersteen
Harvey:  Scott Ecker
Cordelia:  Clare Geinert
Emma:  Monika Browne

Written by Vincent Delaney
Directed by Sally Story

Devise it your way

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Join us for Devised Theatre Training!

Lead by Chelsea Pace

June 1 – 14, 2015 (6:30pm-10:00pm weeknights, 11am-6pm weekend days, no class June 7)

What does it take to tell the stories you want to tell? What tools do you need to create your own works of theatre?

This hands-on workshop will immerse you in the collaborative practice of devising theatre. Over the course of two weeks you will

  • Train in techniques such as Laban, LeCoq, and Viewpoints
  • Build skills in compositional systems
  • Explore structure and text
  • Create pieces with collaborators from the group

Expect to work hard and play hard for the two week session. Continue reading

Announcing Our 2015-2016 Season!

The Ensemble of Theatre B is proud to announce programming for our 13th Season, which includes our first commissions, our first devised pieces, two world premieres, community collaborations, and the second year of the WinterArts Festival.

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Continue reading

Meet the Artist: Darcy Bakkegard

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Darcy Bakkegard

Making her Theatre B debut directing Christopher Durang’s Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Darcy Bakkegard is no stranger to the theatre. A graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead’s theatre program, she is currently in her first year as the Director of Theatre/English Teacher at West Fargo High School, where she directed The Government Inspector this fall and helped choreograph Beauty & the Beast in conjunction with Sheyenne High School. This after two years spent teaching theatre in Istanbul. We sat down with Darcy to find out more about, well, Darcy.

Theatre B (TB): When did you discover your love of theatre?

Darcy Bakkegard (DB): I realized it during my junior/senior summer in high school. I got to be a part of the Straw Hat Players, and it was exhausting. Like, 80 hour weeks. But I got home and realized I didn’t want to do anything else, I wanted to do it again right away.

I wanted to go to DePaul (in Chicago) for college. I didn’t tell my parents, and I went and bought a plane ticket to Chicago and got a hotel room so I could audition at DePaul. It’s the naughtiest thing I did in high school, and all in the name of theatre. Continue reading

A Sense of Place

Main Avenue TheatreIt was always our intention to establish a theatre in a storefront or warehouse. Our founders had all worked in such venues in other cities and had seen how these ventures added vitality to the neighborhood. When Theatre B was established, it was clear that the community was ready for that kind of revitalization. Over the past 12 years (10 of which have been in our current building at 716 Main) we’ve helped develop cultural and economic activity in a neighborhood once full of empty buildings. We’ve helped downtown become a vibrant center to a growing town, and that renaissance is ongoing.

However, as property values rise dramatically, we are being priced out of the market. With our rent increasing 125% in the past two years, it’s uncertain how long our little theatre at 716 will remain viable. 331060_10150376426655999_527900257_o

In order to help us explore the questions of whether, where, and when to move, Theatre B is bringing in Artspace Projects from Minneapolis. Artspace is America’s leader in artist-led community transformation.

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Artspace will visit this spring to conduct stakeholder meetings and undertake preliminary site analysis. Depending on what we learn, we may bring them back to conduct an operational analysis and feasibility study.

Our Ensemble and Board are also hard at work articulating our vision for the future and what we need to make it happen. That work is ongoing, but we know that it is a future where artists and storytellers are central in creating a sense of place.

This is an uncertain moment, but it is full of incredible possibility. If you would like to participate in stakeholder meetings and help us explore the possibility of a new home, please let us know by emailing us at info@theatreb.org. Meetings will be held May 11 and May 12.