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.
We begin the season with an imaginative story of true events, looking back in time to WWII when German POW’s lived, worked – and produced a play – in Northern Minnesota. Playwright Vincent Delaney joins B for workshops, rehearsals, and conversations before our World Premiere.
Ensemble Member Carrie Wintersteen on why we picked it:
The Art of Bad Men excites me because the play is a fresh and intriguing piece of historical fiction. I have always been fascinated with historical fiction – from Dan Brown (The Da Vinci Code) to Peter Shaffer (Equus). I love that a writer’s curiosity about a single moment in history can serve as the seed for a compelling and imaginative account of past events. Writers have license to fully develop the characters, motivations, and backstory behind a snapshot or a footnote in history. History always has lessons for us, and plays and novels offer a more lasting impression than rote memorization of names and dates. I am curious about the past, and find myself drawn into it by great storytelling. The Art of Bad Men invites me to step back in time, into the experience of my parents and grandparents. That is a gift I am excited to share.
A Christmas comedy with a twist from one of America’s most exciting new voices. When Ed and his three adult sons come together for Christmas, they enjoy cheerful trash-talking, pranks, and takeout Chinese. Then they confront a problem that even a normal, happy family can’t solve: what is the value of being straight white men?
Ensemble Member Pam Strait sums up why it’s in our season:
It’s the kind of storytelling we love to do – hilarious characters tell a great story that also shakes up our assumptions. Young Jean Lee’s new play forces us to question how one lives an ethical life when born into the privileges of being Straight White Men. The conflict between the desire to live a socially conscious life and the reality of self-actualization combines with Lee’s dark humor and creates the kind of work that sits so easily in Theatre B’s wheelhouse. Nurturing conversation around issues is part of B’s essential mission and it will be our privilege to share those conversations with the community. I can’t wait for Christmas!
A Community Collaboration with ShakespeareFest
A terrorist plot to blow up Parliament! William Shakespeare is commissioned to write the “true historie” of the gunpowder plot. And it must have witches! The King wants witches! But as The King’s Men investigate the plot, they discover that all is not as it seems. A company of six brings to life over 40 characters, including the Bard of Avon himself, in this high-stakes political thriller (with witches!).
Ensemble Member David Wintersteen on what he loves about Equivocation:
I love that this play puts Shakespeare into a historical context, and it puts Macbeth into a political and social context. By doing that, it takes away the idea of Shakespeare being this monolithic figure and recasts him as a human being. While he’s an extraordinary creator, he’s still a person who lived, worked, thought. This is a great artistic project that brings history to life. Also there are some 40 costume changes, so what’s not to love?
Our first commissioned play comes from local playwright Raymond Rea. Can we really change? Who is allowed to call themselves American? What is identity? The Sweet New looks at change in three generations of an Italian-American family – across borders, cultures, and genders.
Ensemble Member Brad Delzer:
It’s been a privilege to work directly with Raymond on this play, which will be our first commissioned piece. It is breathtakingly theatrical, moving fluidly across time to weave together the story of three generations of a family searching for the sweet new. It’s intensely personal, coming from the playwright’s own history and story. And it’s simultaneously about our past and our present. I can’t wait to see how the play develops and for Theatre B to be an integral part of that journey.
Devising Theatre Workshop – June 1 – 14
Lead by Chelsea Pace, a creator of new work, performance artist, and Assistant Professor of Movement at NDSU. This hands-on, collaborative workshop will immerse participants in devising theatre, giving them tools to create their own works of theatre. Full schedule and registration will be available soon.
Incubator for New Work
Oil Project (currently untitled) devised by Theatre B. An Incubator co-commission with the Plains Art Museum.
August 13 -15, 7:00pm at the Plains.
This devised work will premiere as a part of the Bakken Boom! Artists Respond to the North Dakota Oil Rush exhibit.
Choice Project (currently untitled) devised by Theatre B. This storytelling project in the early stages of development.
Local Story/Teller – Plays in Progress Festival
Early January (still in development). A festival of new plays featuring local stories or by local playwrights (or both!).
Development and World Premiere productions of The Art of Bad Men by Vincent Delaney and The Sweet New by Raymond Rea.
We are excited to be collaborating with the Plains Art Museum, the Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County, the Gathering, the WinterArts festival, and The Pride Collective and Community Center to deeply connect the stories we’re telling to our community, our history, and our future.
Conversation and planning continue with the Embrace Cancer Survivorship program of Sanford Health to build on our collaborative productions of Wit and 33 Variations.