Thank you, everyone!

Odin arrives at Valhalla, riding his eight-legged horse, Slepnir
Odin arrives at Valhalla, riding his eight-legged horse, Slepnir. Photo by Berig. Image stone from from Tjängvide, Alskog Gotland (Go 110)This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International, 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.

Jarnsaxa Rising’s Indiegogo campaign is complete. As I write this, we are in Minneapolis*. Tonight, we have our first table reading with the cast and director. As I’m writing this, Vince is taking a well-earned nap, for putting up with an over-excited playwright. I’m watching raindrops on maple leaves outside the window, and getting all my notes and administrative stuff in order.

Thank you to everyone who contributed, who passed along links to the campaign, who clicked “like” and “share” buttons, and who patted me on the back when I said, “crowdfunding is scary.” Thank you to everyone who made me explain my ideas so I could focus and clarify them, including my thirteen year old friend Archer, who, at one point, said, “Is this a comedy?”

Speaking of since fiction and comedy, we also have to thank the creative team behind The Hadron Gospel Hour. I started listening to their podcast a few months ago, and enjoyed it enough that Jarnsaxa has been taunting their characters on Twitter. They were kind enough to promote our Indiegogo campaign, and I didn’t even had to ask them. Like our characters, The Hadron Gospel Hour’s Dr. Oppenheimer and Mike travel through space and time trying to make things right. However, they’re less vengeful, and funnier.

English: An original card from the tarot deck of Jean Dodal of en:Lyon, a classic "Marseilles" deck. The deck dates from 1701-1715. By Fuzzypeg at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons
Strength. An original card from the tarot deck of Jean Dodal of Lyon, a classic “Marseilles” deck. The deck dates from 1701-1715.
There is no playbook for, “let’s travel halfway across the country to record a science fiction revenge tragedy audio drama serial,” and the risk has been nerve wracking at times. Having people say, “Of course this is a good idea,” gives us strength and courage.

Thank you again for helping us take risks and bring an unusual story to life.

———–

*If you’re saying to yourself, “Self, doesn’t that mean that their house is unguarded?” then you can guess again. If you’re casing out our house, you have probably already met our police-trained and extremely dangerous house-sitter. He waters plants, cuddles cats, and strikes without warning. Good luck with that.

Time is running out.

Ragnarok hornWinter will come, and stay. Feuds will break out. All morality will disappear. The cock will crow, and the wolf will devour the sun. Heimdall shall blow his horn, summoning the Aesir to the field of battle, and Ragnarök shall begin.

All right. It’s not as bad as all that. But, you have a mere thirty-four hours to join Jarnsaxa Rising’s Indiegogo campaign. The funds we raise will go toward compensating the artists for their time and voices, and purchasing web hosting for the sound files.

In exchange, you can receive;

-a handwritten thank-you note from the character of your choice (a one of a kind work of mail art. your character might even draw. not very well, though. none of these characters are good at drawing, even though they enjoy it).

– Your praises sung (textually) on social media

-Access to the secret, members only section of our web site, with behind the scenes content.

cropped-7340720552_af85218ee9_k1.jpgIf you prefer, you can receive membership benefits, but keep it a secret that you supported us. Some people prefer their privacy, and that is 100% fine with us.

This story will be rehearsed and recorded next week, then edited and made available for everyone’s ears this autumn. But, if you want to be one of the people with a special connection to this project, now is your chance. 

Come join our story.

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: 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: 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! 

Meet the artists of Jarnsaxa Rising: Amy Pirkl

Amy Pirkl Just who are these people that are lending their voices to audio drama? We think these actors are too good to hide, so we’ll be sharing them with you one at a time (don’t want to overload you too fast, darlings). 

Amy Pirkl will play Sif, the Norse goddess of fertility. Sif is associated with summertime and abundance; as Thor’s wife, she provides his thunderous aspect with a fruitful outlet. The Poetic Edda is full of salacious rumors about Sif and her feelings about Loki, but she claims to be above reproach:

Welcome now, Loki, and take the crystal cup

full of ancient mead,

you should admit, that of the children of the Aesir, 

that I alone am blameless.

She’s such a sweetheart. It’s really a shame that she stole Jarnsaxa’s man.

Amy Pirkl is a Company Member of Theatre Pro Rata. She is a freelance props designer, and has worked at the Guthrie, Park Square, Theatre in the Round, Nimbus, Yellow Tree, and a butt ton of others. Amy also is a member of Brain Punch Games, and a puzzle constructor/operator at Trapped Puzzle Rooms. She loves cats more than is reasonable, and her dog Badger is the best thing to ever happen on this planet. When Amy grows up, she wants to be a firefighter or Godzilla.

Amy is partly excited to be involved in this project because she wants her husband to think she’s a cool kid. He is a sound guy and a Norse Mythology buff.

Amy’s favorite character from Norse Mythology is Ratatoskr because she likes squirrels.

Amy is currently reading A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin. Other books on her nightstand include: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the Tao Te Ching, the Tarot Bible, and Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book.

Amy’s favorite pre-performance ritual is drinking a goblet of mead, then smashing it so no other mortal can drink from it again.

At this very moment there is a kitten named Gir lurking under Amy’s bed, waiting for her chance to attack the other cat, Kittenvader Zim.

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!