Episode 2: The Hungry Place

Rocky Shore at Ballintoy by Andrew Wood

Episode 2: The Hungry Place

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Agent Bachman and Dr. Aspinall meet the devastation caused by the Hei Shui corporation, and a harsh landscape, where figures appearing from the mist bring more questions than answers.

Cast in order of appearance:

Agent Bachman: Katherine Kupiecki

Dr. Aspinall: John T. Zeiler

Mrs. Wallace: Molly Pach Johnson

Björn: Derek Meyer

Written by Lindsay Harris Friel

Directed by Carin Bratlie Wethern

Sound design, engineering and music by Vincent Friel

Dramaturgy by Kit Gordon

Special Thanks to Dagny of the Åland Islands Tourism Bureau for assistance with language and dialect. Tack så mycket!

This episode of Jarnsaxa Rising was sponsored by Brian Watson-Jones.

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For more information, visit JarnsaxaRising.com.

Jarnsaxa Rising: Where’d you get this stuff? Research and inspiration.

JR9-14-15As Robin Williams once said about Jim Henson, “you can’t come up with this stuff on just plain air.” He meant something else in particular. My point is that no writer ever creates their work in a complete vacuum. When we set out to create Jarnsaxa Rising, not only did I do a lot of research, but a lot of inspirations appeared that fueled this story. Some of these, such as witch bottles, Viking party beverages, language and dialect, and aural inspirations, I’ll go into greater detail about later. For now, here are the story’s major sources.

capaldi-tennant-firesWhen Carin gave me the first prompt that would become Jarnsaxa Rising, and I started writing notes, an outline and the first draft, the influence of Doctor Who hung over me. Both Carin and I are fans of Doctor Who, and this story’s blending of ancient wisdom with contemporary and future sensibilities inspired me.  Unfortunately, it made me lazy as a writer. Audiences have decades of assumptions about The Doctor, so when he comes into a conflict, the writers have less work to do. As a nearly-thousand-year-old Time Lord who can regenerate, his stakes weren’t appropriate to our story. It did, however, provide the sense that the team must save each other, (as the Doctor tries to do for his companions) and unearth the deeper conflict which threatens a whole world.

Odin arrives at Valhalla, riding his eight-legged horse, Slepnir

Reading The Poetic Edda and The Prose Edda helped me with the stakes and conflicts of Old Norse mythology. Jarnsaxa isn’t mentioned much. I suppose that the Christianization of Europe made Sif a more popular female character. She’s mentioned in Godchecker, The Mythology Wiki, and captured imagination on Deviant Art and in An Archive Of Our Own.

On Coursera, a course about Old Norse culture, Sagas and Space, proved to be the most helpful. This University of Zurich course teaches how the Vikings thought about their land, their spiritual and social space, and how these elements tie together to create a cultural mind set. The course includes lectures by various experts from Europe and North America, and each gave me another point of entry to find new information.

apocalypse In particular. Dr. Terry Gunnell’s work was the most inspiring. His area of expertise includes Old Norse folk beliefs, ritual, legends, and Scandinavian theatre, both medieval and modern. Toward the end of his video lecture in the Sagas and Space course, he describes the experience of being in a Viking hall, surrounded by smoke, rich odors, and masked revellers, hearing a story told in a heightened way, and how the listener is elevated to transcend reality.  His articles helped me find the notion of the draugr, and the power of disguise traditions. Gunnell’s work is intoxicating and exciting.

T. Boone Pickens. Photo by Brandon Hoffman.
T. Boone Pickens. Photo by Brandon Hoffman.

Moving in a different direction, The Pickens Plan provided a lot of fodder for this story. Oil baron T. Boone Pickens planned to invest approximately $1 trillion in wind farming in the Great Plains.  In 2008. he claimed that this plan would reduce American oil spending by 43%, create 138,000 jobs in the first year, and 3.4 billion jobs over the next ten.  Despite the benefits of wind power, natural gas is financially cheaper in the short term than wind farming (though infinitely more devastating).  In 2012, Pickens sold off his last stake in wind farming, abandoning a wind company called New Era LLC. This company tried to move forward with building a farm in Goodhue County, Minnesota. However, the project ceased development in 2012, after citizen opposition claimed the farm posed a threat to eagles and bats. So much for 138,000 jobs and sustainability.

Revengers_Tragedy_DVD_cover Jarnsaxa Rising’s revenge tragedy structure came from my Dramatic Lit seminar class at Temple, and reading and re-reading The Spanish Tragedy and Hamlet. A really enjoyable part of immersing myself in revenge tragedy was the movie Revengers Tragedy, directed by Alex Cox, and starring Christopher Eccleston, Derek Jacobi, and Eddie Izzard. It’s a classic revenge tragedy, set in a sexy contemporary world, and I highly recommend it.

And so we come full circle; I started with Doctor Who on my mind, and ended with Christopher Eccleston in a Thomas Middleton drama.

But, of course, I had to push all these sources to the background, and just tell a good story. Hopefully, what you’ll get out of this is an exciting, deep, relevant tale. Which you should get to start listening to, in eight days.

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: Katherine Kupiecki

KKKatherine Kupiecki will portray Jarnsaxa Rising’s archetype that no sci-fi fantasy story can exist without. She’s the military-grade, black-ops, gritty female warrior. Sumner Bachman’s official title for the Corporation is “Technical Support Agent.” What does that mean? She could tell you, but then she’d have to kill you.

Anything which poses a threat to the stability and profitability of the Corporation, especially its Brand Image, is Agent Bachman’s domain.  She’s a fixer. When Kristy Wallace identifies a threat to The Corporation, she sends Agent Bachman to make it disappear without a trace. As a result, she and Mrs. Wallace have a very intense, close, complicated relationship. However, once Jarnsaxa shows Agent Bachman what she’s been sent to erase, Sumner has to make some difficult choices about where the threat really lies.

tumblr_l4sntlRklm1qa1o5zo1_500
Sigourney Weaver as Ripley in Alien. “I don’t know which species is worse. You don’t see them f*ing each other over for a goddamn percentage.”

Sumner Bachman comes from a long line of sci-fi lady warriors. After the first draft’s staged reading, respondents kept referring to her as “Ripley” by mistake. Like Ripley, Sarah Connor, and the most recent incarnation of Starbuck, she’s had to squash her emotions to make some ugly choices and dispense violence. Katherine looks like an elfin creature, but she’s got a bite and gravitas, so I’m excited about her portrayal of Agent Bachman.

Katherine Kupiecki has worked worked in Twin Cities theater for over a decade. Favorite roles include Sharla Smith in KILLER JOE with Theatre Pro Rata, Jeanne Becquet in GABRIEL with Walking Shadow Theatre Company, and Ruth in THE HOMECOMING with Gremlin Theatre. She has also worked with Penumbra Theatre Company, Workhaus Collective, Stages Theatre Company, Open Window Theatre, and many more.

Sarah_connor_05
Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor in Terminator 2. “Everything needs to be destroyed. Everything.”

She was a proud member of the  2012 Ivey Award Winning production of Theatre Unbound’s all-female Julius Caesar, in which she portrayed Mark Antony.   This summer she takes on the literary icon and title role in CHARLOTTE’S WEB with the Old Log Theatre. Katherine can also be seen in the Theater People web series, the upcoming movie Witch, with Oxford Comma Film Cooperative, and many other film, commercial, and voice projects.  Coming soon: https://katherine-kupiecki.squarespace.com/.

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

I did the staged reading a few years ago and I remembered it being very creative and interesting. When the podcast opportunity came along, I thought it would be a great way to add to my voice work and support a new script, which I really love doing.

Who’s your favorite character from Norse Mythology?

Loki-tom-hiddleston
Inescapable.

Loki. He was my junior high mascot (I don’t think they allow such things anymore) and well. Tom Hiddleston.

What are you reading these days?

Scripts for my current shows! But I hope to finish THE SECRET KEEPER by Katie Morton and start GIRL ON A TRAIN before the summer is over. I like historical, romantic mystery novels.

What’s your favorite pre-performance ritual?

starbuck1
Katee Sackhoff as Starbuck. “Semper frakkin fi!”

It’s a version of what Sir Lawrence Olivier was rumored to do-  stand behind the curtain and talk to the audience (whisper, actually). I like to stand backstage so I can hear and feel the audience energy. It preps me for when I do step on stage. I know more of what to expect.

What’s under your bed right now?

My cat Penny. A sock.

We want to bring a story to your ears that you’ll never forget and won’t hear anywhere else. Be part of our community, and get benefits such as a handwritten letter from the character of your choice, and/or your name in the show’s credit. 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!