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.

Subscribe, review and rate us on iTunes! We want to hear from you.

For more information, visit JarnsaxaRising.com.

Not a big tease, but a tease nonetheless.

JR9-14-15Jarnsaxa’s coming with the full moon.
In the meantime, here’s a clip for you to enjoy at your leisure.

iTunes has provided us with a URL, and we should appear in their searchable directory soon. If iTunes is your podcast purveyor of choice, you can subscribe here: Jarnsaxa Rising on iTunes. 

You can also use our RSS feed link, if you use a podcast app that asks for them, such as Podcast Addict.  http://jarnsaxarising.libsyn.com/rss

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Take us with you!

 

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: 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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You can become a member of the Jarnsaxa Rising army. Only TEN DAYS are left in our campaign. You can get a handwritten letter from one of the characters, and have your name in the podcast credits. 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!