We are fun, and you can join us any time.

Phrenological chart of the skull and brain, 1818
You’re smart. Audio drama helps you stay that way.

Want to be part of something exciting this summer? Of course you do. You should join Jarnsaxa Rising’s Indiegogo campaign. Besides being gluten-free, fat-free, sugar-free, non-alcoholic and hypoallergenic, here are some more reasons you want to be part of The Next Big Thing.

1) Audio drama provides unique sensory stimulation and possibility for imagination not experienced in other entertainment. It frees your mind to supply visual elements, while letting your eyes and hands do other important things, like knitting.

2) You can receive a one-of-a-kind, handmade gift; a thank you letter written to you by one of the characters from the story. If you choose, it can also be a love letter, a poison pen letter, or a memo firing you from the Corporation.  Who doesn’t want to be taunted in writing by Loki?

3) Membership has its privileges. When you join us at the $20 level or above, you get the password to the section of our website containing behind-the-scenes interviews, photographs from the rehearsal and recording sessions, and recordings that won’t be made available to the general public. It’s like going to a backstage party, but without the hassle of transportation or parking.

Aesir maidens disguise Thor as Freya while Loki laughs
Aesir maidens disguise Thor as Freya, while Loki laughs.

4) Listening to podcasts before going to sleep helps your mind wind down, and may cause more exciting dreams. They also make great companions for commuting, exercise, house cleaning, gardening, laundry, and litter box scooping. Night or day, our story is here for you.

5) This podcast will be made available in the fall of 2015, and it will be free for everyone. However, you’ll be one of the people who knew it in its infancy, with a special connection to its genesis. Can you say that about Serial or Welcome to Night Vale? Wouldn’t you love to be able to say, “I made that project possible?”

6) You can have your name mentioned in the podcast credits once, or multiple times if you’re a higher-level donor. If you run a business which relies on word-of mouth advertising, this can get the name of your organization in an awful lot of ears.

7) Wind farms have been described as majestic, helpful, and a nuisance. Just how ugly is the battle for sustainable-energy supremacy? We’re digging around and finding a lot of conspiracy and controversy for this story.

8) Jarnsaxa is one of the more mysterious characters of mythology. Marvel says one thing, SyFy says another. It’s high time somebody dug deeper and let her have her own saga.

9) This project combines the work of artists in Minneapolis and Philadelphia, and has supporters from Devils Lake, North Dakota, to Melbourne, Australia. It’s a wide-ranging community, and we are mighty. You can be part of our team and our story.

girl laughing in a wheat field under a clear sky. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.10)  Every time someone contributes, you make a writer want to stretch her brain further and make this story better.  You help an artist give a unique voice to a rare character, and you give someone a story to lift them out of their mundane life.  You’re rolling positive energy forward into productive action and more great ideas.

 

In nineteen days, we start rehearsing, and in 24, we start recording. Join us! 

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: Ethan Bjelland

Ethan BjellandEthan’s going to be playing Loki, a character so popular in Western folklore and culture that he needs little to no introduction. Scholars haven’t clarified exactly the relationship between the Aesir and this shape-shifting Jotun trickster deity, but the gods need him as much as they are infuriated by him. His ability to change gender, species, and size makes him able to solve as many problems as he causes. Though he’s known as the father of lies, he’s one of world culture’s favorite villains.

Ethan Bjelland, originally of Decorah, IA, is a freelance theatre artist and teacher and translator of Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish. Ethan has previously worked with Theatre Pro Rata as the Preacher in Elephant’s Graveyard in 2014. Other stage credits include The Drawer Boy, The Philadelphia Story (Commonweal); The Foreigner, Crazy for You!, This Untoward Generation!, Ichabod Crane… (St. Croix Festival); CRAZYFACE (Shadow Horse); If We Were Birds (Theatre 20%); Ghost Sonata, and From Darkness (nimbus).

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

Well first, I was excited to work with Theatre Pro Rata again, as they were the first company I had the pleasure of acting with when I moved to the Twin Cities. So many incredible people, and some of my best friends so far in this area are so connected with TPR, that I couldn’t say no.

Second, and probably the biggest kicker–I am a huge Scandinavian Studies nerd, and I am fascinated by Åland, where the drama takes place, and hope to visit sometime

Loki_in_painting  Who’s your favorite character from Norse Mythology? 

As confessed, I have a dark, geeky passion for all things Nordic. When I was little, while the other kids were at Bible Camp and Band Camp, I went to Norwegian Immersion Camp. After 10 years, I still go back and work every now and then. Sometimes, all of the counselors dress up as Norse gods and goddesses and we have an entire day (sometimes three) in character. I’ve been known to play a pretty mean Loki. There’s something special about being able to troll kids in a foreign language whilst suited in motley that isn’t quite the same outside of Norwegian camp.

What are you reading these days? 

I just picked up Aksel Sandemose’s classic novel and social criticism, A Fugitive Crosses His Tracks.

What’s your favorite pre-performance ritual? 

Yoga/Pilates. Just a few sun-salutations and centering. There’s also a voice and enunciation bit that I like to run when I have a dialect or some tricky lines, called the Announcer’s Test.

What’s under your bed right now? 

I haven’t looked in a while. It might be fun to check out soon, if not for the “Oh, that’s where that went!” -factor.

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!