Meet the artists of Jarnsaxa Rising: Carin Bratlie

Carin headshot colorNo storytelling project succeeds without a good director, and our story’s in very good hands. Carin Bratlie has been with this project since its earliest conception, and has stuck with it for over five years.

Lindsay and Carin first met through a crafting website forum. They bonded over a shared love of knitting, which grew into an overlapping perspective on what art and storytelling can be. Both love dark comedy, science fiction TV, and ancient myths. Jarnsaxa’s determination to make a space for herself and her fellow creatures is fueled by Carin’s persistence and commitment, unique perspective, and a wicked sense of humor.

Carin is a freelance director, fight choreographer, and acting instructor in Minneapolis, MN. She is the founding Artistic Director of Theatre Pro Rata and has worked on every production in the theater’s history in some capacity. In addition to directing, she has also designed fight choreography, costumes and/or set for a number of Pro Rata productions. As a freelance artist she has directed for Park Square, Theatre L’ Homme Dieu, The History Theater, Theatre Unbound, Croix Valley Summer Theater, Tedious Brief Productions, Chameleon Theater Circle and others. She has assistant directed for the Guthrie Theater, Outward Spiral, and The History Theater. She teaches theater classes at the Guthrie, Youth Performance Company, and Steppingstone Theater. She was a participant director and full scholarship recipient at the Wesley Balk Opera/Musical Theater Institute in 2007, received a B.A. from Concordia College, Moorhead, MN in 1998, and is a member of the Society of American Fight Directors. Her recent all-female production of Julius Caesar with Theatre Unbound won an Ivey Award in 2012.

Director's chair with a woman symbol. From ARTINFO's "Twelve Female Directors That Are Reshaping American Theater"What made you decide that you wanted to do this project? 

I love Lindsay’s writing, and it’s really wonderful to see something that you planted the seed for years ago come to fruition.

Who’s your favorite character from Norse Mythology? 

I like Freyja. She’ll make with the sexytimes and then turn around and kick your ass. And then make with more sexytimes.

What are you reading these days? 

I just finished re-reading Snow Falling on Cedars, and I’m cracking into The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Haven’t read it, haven’t seen it, but a copy fell into my hands and I think it will be great summer hammock reading.

What’s your favorite pre-performance ritual?

For Pro Rata shows my favorite thing to do is hang up our past show posters in the lobby. It makes me really proud when I see the expanse of our history.

What’s under your bed right now? 

My collection of Fluevogs (currently at nine pairs), each pair stored in dust bags and then also in underbed storage bins.  Did I mention that I’m on a first name basis with the employees at the store in Uptown? I’m not a Shoe Girl, but I am a Fleuvog Girl.

We have less than a week to go before we’ll start rehearsing and recording. Want to be part of our story? JOIN US! 

 

Meet The Artists of Jarnsaxa Rising: Delta Rae Giordano

Delta-web blogDelta Rae Giordano will portray Jarnsaxa Rising’s alpha and omega of magic and theology. As Sister Margareta, she’ll dispense early Christian justice via a witch trial.  As Vala, she’s the spiritual seer, official speaker, and legal advisor to Thrym, King of Jotunheim.  That’s a lot of power, but she’s a powerhouse.

Ed0048

Viking society depended on women for strategy and cultural cues. The oldest and best known poem in Scandinavian culture opens The Poetic Edda. This poem, The Völuspá,  is a seeress’ vision of the creation and end of the world, told to Odin. These prophetesses went by several different titles: völva (wand carrier), fjolkunnig (magical knowledge), or spækona (seer). As followers of Freya, they travelled, often in groups, to provide advice and ritual, particularly in time of crisis. Not only were their rituals performed with wands, but also the distaff and loom were used, to spin or knot spiritual threads. The Osenberg ship, one of the best-preserved archaeological relics of Viking culture, included the bodies of women, one or both of whom may have been a völva (relics found included a wand made of wood).  Vala, seer to the King of Jotunheim, does not travel, but has nearly the same status as the king. Her visions give her authority over public policy and The King’s decisions. However, visions are not always perfectly clear, and Vala’s interpretation may be biased by opportunism.

two nuns carrying books
“Hey, I got this new book. it’s called, How To Drown A Witch-“
“Boring.”
“-In FROZEN WATER.”
“Now you’re talking!”

Sister Margareta represents some of the early Christian influence in Scandinavia. This process had a longer establishment than on other parts of the world; maybe because of the cold, maybe because early Scandinavians were very happy with their system of beliefs and resisted change. During the middle ages, many missionaries found compromise with pagan beliefs worked better. Places sacred to the Norse Gods were consecrated to saints, and imagery of Mjölnir was incorporated with the cross.  This character is named for Margareta, a Swedish missionary who practiced in the late 14th and early 15th centuries. She was from the Sami people (also known as Laplanders)m and fought hard to convert them from polytheistic paganism. This hard fight worsened when Thomas Von Westen burnt  their sacred objects and destroyed many of their sacred places in the 18th century.  Margareta was said to have visions, for which the church investigated her, unable to determine if the visions came from God or Satan. She must have been a fierce woman.

Delta Rae Giordano is pleased to join the cast of JARNSAXA RISING and embark on her first collaboration with writer Lindsay Harris-Friel and first podcast project.  As a freelance actor in the Twin Cities, Delta has performed with Theatre Pro Rata (EMILIE: LA MARQUISE DU CHATELET DEFENDS HER LIFE TONIGHT, THE TAMING OF THE SHREW), Illusion Theater (three tours of MY ÁNTONIA, FRESH INK: MIRANDA), as well as Teatro del Pueblo, Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company, Nimbus Theatre and several others.  She was a company member with Theatre Unbound from 2004-14 and appeared in more than a dozen productions including the world premieres of SILKWORMS: A NUN PLAY, THE GOOD FIGHT and FRANKENSTEIN INCARNATE: THE PASSIONS OF MARY SHELLEY (directed by Carin Bratlie).  Most recently she participated as an actor and an adoptee in the ADOPTION PLAY PROJECT with Wonderlust Productions.  Originally from California, Delta is a graduate of Los Angeles City College Theatre Academy and the University of California at Santa Barbara.

What made you decide that you wanted to do this project?

It was a chance to work with Theatre Pro Rata again, as well as some firsts for me — working with writer Lindsay Harris-Friel, learning more about Norse mythology, and doing a science fiction audio drama.

Who’s your favorite character from Norse Mythology?

Skadi_Hunting_in_the_Mountains_by_H._L._MI don’t think I know enough to say I have a favorite, but maybe Skade who is described as the “goddess of skiers.”  I was reading about how she loved the mountains but had to marry Njord who loved the seashore.  They tried living at the beach and then in the mountains, and later decided amiably to live separately in the places they loved.  I’m from southern California originally and love the coast but I’m in awe of people who can ski well.

What are you reading these days?

I’ve been to California a few times recently, and I like to read stories about places where I’m traveling, so I’m finishing up one of the Lew Archer novels by Ross Macdonald, The Way Some People Die.  Archer has to track a case from L.A. to Palm Springs to San Francisco and gets into some dicey situations.  MacDonald’s descriptions of people and places are physically detailed with some social commentary thrown in.

Also I checked out D’Aulaires’ Book of Norse Myths from the library as research for this project, and as soon as I saw the illustrations I realized that I must have read this book when I was a kid.

What’s your favorite pre-performance ritual?

It depends on the material — I might spend more time warming up physically and vocally for some shows than others.  I usually try to have some quiet time before jumping in.

What’s under your bed right now?

Mostly clothes, but not a random pile o’ clothes because we have a bed with storage drawers.

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Meet The Artists of Jarnsaxa Rising: Sarah Broude

Broude Sarah If the Norse Gods use humans as pawns against each other in Jarnsaxa Rising, then a system of corporate smoke and mirrors can be a weapon as well as a battle field. Sarah Broude gives her voice to that corporate shell game.  As The Interviewer, Sarah evokes a long history of when rational debate can turn ugly.

Giving away too much about Sarah’s scenes in Jarnsaxa Rising would spoil a lot of the plot. However, it’s safe to say that Sarah’s character is drawn from the mood of transcripts of hearings, such as The Benghazi hearings with secretary of State Clinton, The Anita Hill Testimony and the House Un-American Activities Committee. This character is a professional arbitrator in a corporate world, where democracy is less important than the power of profit. As a result, slippery concepts such as “plausible deniability” and “there are known unknowns” become tools to shed blame, and an interview is less a hearing and more of an accusation. Just as The Norns could spin someone’s fate, lawyers and arbitrators like this Interviewer can spin someone’s future.

Sarah Broude has spent the majority of her life in a theater. She writes and directs but primarily performs in many local venues. Her favorites include The House on Mango Street (Park Square), Elephants Graveyard (Theatre Pro Rata), Miracle on Christmas Lake (Yellow Tree), The House of Bernarda Alba (Pangea/Theatro del Pueblo), and Mrs. Charles (Freshwater). Sarah just finished directing for TEASE with Little Lifeboats, and can be seen in Leaving St. Paul and Mrs. Mortimer’s Xenophobic Travel Guide at this years Fringe Festival next month.

What made you decide that you wanted to do this project? 

I love working with Pro Rata, and I love doing V.O. work. So, it was kind of a no-brainer. And super exciting!

Jimmy Page #2 in Madison Square Garden with Led Zeppelin. Photo by Dina Regine. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.
“The hammer of the gods
Will drive our ships to new lands
To fight the horde, sing and cry
Valhalla, I am coming”

Who’s your favorite character from Norse Mythology? 

My only real knowledge of any Norse mythology comes from Led Zeppelin and The Avengers. I’ll go with Jimmy Page.

What are you reading these days? 

I am reading scripts to 2 Fringe shows and Amy Poehler’s book.

What’s your favorite pre-performance ritual? 

Anything relaxing- walking, sipping tea, laughing.

What’s under your bed right now?

Suitcases and storage stuff.

Only twelve days are left to be part of Jarnsaxa Rising’s Indiegogo Campaign! You can receive member benefits and be One Of The Cool Kids when you support us. Join our merry band of noise makers! 

 

 

 

Meet The Artists of Jarnsaxa Rising: MaryLynn Mennicke

Mary Lynn Mennicke headshotTo provide a voice for Jarnsaxa, we need someone of tremendous flexibility. She needs to feel at home in the mid 16th century, the late 21st, and some z axis of time and space that only supernatural beings inhabit. She has to be stormy, but likeable, intimidating, grounded and unearthly at the same time, an avenging angel, a rogue, and unlikely to actually kill anyone. Mary Lynn Mennicke puts the synergy ohm loot in Norse Mythology.

MaryLynn is a church musician, marketing administrator for The National Theatre for Children, and a sometimes-actor in the Twin Cities. Most recently she was seen playing Viola in Theatre Pro Rata’s summer 2014 production of Twelfth Night. She apologizes to Jesus for calling Him a fishmonger and promises she doesn’t mean it. Jarnsaxa seems like quite the wench.

1) What made you decide that you wanted to do this project?

Sounded like a good time.

A Random Norwegian Troll, and Mary Lynn.
A Random Norwegian Troll, and Mary Lynn.

2) Who’s your favorite character from Norse Mythology?

Admittedly I’m not terribly familiar with Norse Mythology, but that will undoubtedly change working on this project. But right now I’ll cop out and say Thor. Because shirtless Chris Hemsworth.

3) What are you reading these days?

I just read my Japan travel book practically from cover to cover. Otherwise I’m slowly reading Snow by Orhan Pahmuk.

4) What’s your favorite pre-performance ritual?

Silence.

5) What’s under your bed right now?

Dustballs and cat hair, I’m sure.

—————

Today I fixed a problem in Episode 9, determined who the real villain is, wrote six new pages, and am about to charge into The Big Finale Episode. It’s going to be FIERCE. Join our Indiegogo campaign, and we will put your name in the credits, send you real handwritten letters from the characters, and sing your praises. Be part of the story! 

 

Meet the artists of Jarnsaxa Rising: Derek Meyer

derekCan you have a story that mentions Norse Mythology without Thor? Nope. Not only is he the God of Thunder, he’s the one who gives Jarnsaxa an axe to grind. Derek Meyer lends his voice to the Scandinavian hero who’s worshipped everywhere from ancient farming rituals to kids’ lunch boxes today.

Thor is generally seen as a warrior god. However, his marriage with Sif (goddess of fertility) let his role widen, to one who brings rain for fruitful harvests. When Christian influence came to Scandinavia, emblems of his hammer, Mjölnir, were worn by those loyal to pagan faith. In time, the hammer symbol became blended with the Christian cross, to show a compromise between the faiths. Despite its name’s original meaning, “that which pulverizes to dust,” the symbol became a mark of protection in place markers and amulets.

Thunor the Thunderer, carved on the runestone Sö 86, about the year 1000.
Thunor the Thunderer, carved on the runestone Sö 86, about the year 1000.

Thor’s relationship with Jarnsaxa has been described as lover and sometimes a spouse, but the relationship is not completely amicable. Though legend claims she fed and protected Thor against the frost giants, the sons he sired with her are not as hospitable. One, Magni, embodies boundless strength, the other, Modi, homicidal fury. Legend predicts that when Ragnarok comes, and Thor loses his hammer, it will be laid at their feet.  He must have really done something to make her very, very angry.

Fortunately, Derek is not a bad guy. He’s also remarkably concise.

Derek has been living and acting in the Twin Cities since 2007, and works at The National Theatre for Children.  He likes riding his bike around the city, and even the suburbs at times.  He also enjoys dancing and is hoping that is featured in this project.

thor-ice-giantsWhat made you decide you wanted to do this project? 

I actually heard this play being read years ago and thought it was interesting, so I am looking forward to seeing where it goes.

Who’s your favorite character in Norse Mythology?

My favorite character in Norse Mythology is Hel…because she scares the crap out of me.

What are you reading these days? 

I just picked up “The Windup Girl” by Paolo Bacigalupi.

What’s your favorite pre-performance ritual?

Depending on the show I like to either work out or take a nap.

What’s under your bed right now?

I actually had to check on this one and the honest answer is one small empty cardboard box…I have no idea what it held at one time.

Want to help this project? You can make our podcast available for free to everyone by contributing to our Indiegogo campaign.  Join us!

Meet The Artists of Jarnsaxa Rising: John T. Zeiler

John Zeiler headshot You know that Jarnsaxa Rising is shaping up to be a really cool podcast. Just how cool?  Our cast includes a man who is cool enough to portray Fonzie. Let that sink in for a minute.

John T. Zeiler will be disguising his motorcycle macho flair, however, when he plays Dr. Eric Aspinall. Though he and Fonzie both have the skills to fix 1950s-era juke boxes, the similarities end there. Dr. Aspinall makes up half of the team assigned to investigate the “possible threat to profitability” at the abandoned wind farm. He’s an electrical engineer, but Jarnsaxa assumes that his title means he can fix the hole in her soul.

The Tech Guy Archetype runs like Ariadne’s thread throughout science fiction and fantasy stories. This character can fix anything, and seems to be socially challenged, but often shows unique talent for empathy and honesty. Star Trek’s Geordi LaForge, Independence Day’s Dr. Levinson, and Stan in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind initially take a back seat to other characters. In a crisis, it’s their emotional intelligence that breaks an impasse.

Geordi_La_Forge_2368
“You just can’t rely on the plain and simple facts. Sometimes they lie.” -Geordi LaForge

John T. Zeiler is ridiculously excited to be joining this dynamite cast for adventure and magic.  Graduating from Gustavus Adolphus, with majors in dance and English, John has been entertaining the masses for the last eight years.  Now, he has big kid job and gorgeous loving family and still finds time to make believe and dive into a character.  Love you Lacey and Lila.  Recent credits include Arthur Fonzarelli in Minneapolis Musical Theatre’s Happy Days a New Musical; Engineer in Theatre Pro Rata’s Elephant’s Graveyard; and Jeffrey Ford/Boston Corbett in Mainly Me’s 2014 MN Fringe Festival Production Our American Assassin or You Can’t Handle the Booth!.

1) What made you decide you wanted to do this project?

–  The subject matter initially sucked me in.  Growing up, Greek and Norse Myths were as much a part of my life as were The Ninja Turtles and He-Man.  As I got older all mythologies continued to fascinate me.  An engaging subject, fantastic script, and superb group of talent was the perfect combination and I couldn’t say no :-).

2)  Who’s your favorite character from Norse Mythology?

–  When I was a kid, it was Odin.  To my nine year old self, the all powerful and destructive were the most appealing.  I was also a big fan of Thanos and Galactus from the Marvel Universe, to put it in perspective (I promise I was not a troubled child).  In college, I really started following the wives/women of these worlds.  Frigg became my new favorite.  There is something so incredibly awesome and attractive about a Goddess that not only shares the same strengths as her brothers, but also does a damn good job of keeping their husbands in check (well, as much as they can).  These days, after working at Summit Brewery for a stint of time, I have a special place in my heart for Saga.  When your resume sports “Drinking companion to Odin” and “Seer of the past” you better believe I’ll fall in love with you.  So, watch out all of you history majors that party with old, crazy, and powerful men.

independence-day-2-jeff-goldblum
“Checkmate.” -Dr. David Levinson

3)  What are you reading these days?

–  It won’t surprise anyone reading this that I’m currently working my way through four different comic book anthologies (listed below).

Weapon Brown Written and Illustrated by Jason Yungbluth –  I found this gem on Kickstarter.  Jason took every beloved character from the funny pages and threw them into a post-apocolyptic world.  It’s 400 pages of fantastic nerdy chow.  Not only can this guy draw but he tells a pretty good story.

Batwoman Vol. 1 Hydrology (the new 52) by J.H. Williams III and W.Haden Blackman –  Originally, I purchased this as a gift for my wife and of course I too had to read it.  It’s graphic, it’s emotional, it’s getting female heroes out of the ridiculous boob hugging latex body suits and into real stories and real lives.

Death of Wolverine by Charles Soule and Steve McNiven – This was a quick read and a guilty pleasure.  Wolverine is one of my favorites (who cares if he’s mainstream, I’m playing the hipster card and telling you I loved him before everybody else did) and of course I had to see how they wrap up his story.  I keep going back to study the art and make sure I didn’t miss anything.

And, last but not least…

Thor, the Goddess of Thunder by Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman, and Jorge Molina  –  This was another present for my wife that needed to be in my hands, taken in through my eyes, and placed in my brain.  After some key events, Mjolnir no longer finds Donald Blake/Thor worthy to wield her might.  A mysterious woman now wields the hammer and is bringing some delicious pain to those that threaten Asgard.

Ruffalo- ESotSM
“You looked happy. Happy, with a secret.” -Stan

4) What’s your favorite pre-performance ritual?

–   Mainly Me Theatre Company introduced me to a pre-show ritual that I would love to bring to all of my projects.  We stand in a circle and sing the theme song to Fresh Prince of Bel-Air as loud as humanly possible.

5) What’s under your bed right now?

–    Nope.

Want to know how you can be part of this project? You can help all of our artists and make our podcast available for free to everyone by contributing to our Indiegogo campaign.  Join us! 

Meet the artists of Jarnsaxa Rising: Shannon Troy Jones

Shannon JonesShannon will be playing Balder, the Norse god of peace. Unlike his previous, ebullient incarnation in a Lindsay Harris-Friel play, this archetype is much closer to Shannon’s natural personality. Balder embodies all the goodness of light and purity. It was foretold that his death would presage Ragnarok, the Norse apocalypse. As a result, his mother convinced all life forms in the Nine Worlds not to harm Balder, and she succeeded, with one exception. But, that’s another story.  Considering that Balder is a god of purity, light and peace, but not justice, this makes Balder a very interesting character, beneath his brightly polished surface.

Baldur Norse God of peace
Who’s a pretty boy?

Shannon Troy Jones is very excited to working with Lindsay Harris-Friel and Theatre Pro Rata on Jarnsaxa Rising.  He previously had the pleasure of performing in Lindsay’s stage play, Traveling Light for Theare Pro Rata.  He’s been working as an actor, writer, and artist in the Twin Cities since 2003.  Some of his favorite shows have included Mrs. Charles (Freshwater Theatre), The Birth of Venus (20% Theatre), Women’s History Month:  The Historical Comedybration (with Fablulous Prizes) (Black Market Doctor), and The Good Woman of Setzuan, 44 Plays for 44 Presidents, The Spanish Tragedy, and of course Traveling Light (Theatre Pro Rata).

What made you decide that you wanted to do this project?

I have been lucky enough to work with both Lindsay and Theatre Pro Rata before.  And the script is bonkers!

 Who is your favorite character from Norse Mythology?

My knowledge of Norse mythology is based almost entirely on Neil Gaiman’s American Gods and Marvel Comics.  I was going to say Hrimhari, whom I just learned is an Asgardian character that was invented by Marvel, so I fail.  So I’m going to say Hela (or Hel), daughter of Loki and ruler of the realm of Niflheim, because she looks badass in the comic books and has been involved in some of my favorite stories!

What are you reading these days?

Scripts, scripts, scripts!  Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 comic books.  I have also been trying to read Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow for the past year.  Someday I will actually commit to tackling that beast!

What’s your favorite pre-performance ritual?

I don’t have any consistent rituals that I follow, but I really like Crazy Eights for getting energized.

What’s under your bed right now?

Wrapping paper, that one sock I can never find, and the monster that took it.

Want to know how you can be part of this project? You can help all of our artists and make our podcast available for free to everyone by contributing to our Indiegogo campaign. Join us!