Late-Summer Progress Report

Editing the podcast means a lot of listening, so I knit to keep from going insane.
Editing the podcast means a lot of listening to the same thing over and over and over again. So, I knit to keep from going insane.

You haven’t heard from us for a long time. We’re sincerely sorry for the silence. However, it is for a Really Good Reason. We’re deep in the editing phase, and it is slow going.

During our weekend in Minneapolis, we recorded a little bit over ten hours of data in two days. Now, Lindsay is sorting through the files in Garage Band, editing out the mistakes and hiccups. Once an episode’s file is clean, she passes it on to Vince.

Vince is using Logic to mix the episodes, adding the sound effects and making magic. This also is slow going.

“How slow is it?” I’ve been using The Pomodoro Technique to stay on task and productive, because otherwise my spine whines, my eyeballs complain, and I start gnashing my teeth and screaming at myself when I make mistakes. Episode 10, alone, took 20 Pomodoros. I’ll let you do the math.

IMG_3938One of the things we’ve learned is that there are very good reasons to record actors separately, in their own sound booths. It makes things much easier to edit and mix afterwards. However, if it comes down to a choice between carefully picking apart a sound wave to separate where one performer talked over another, or having the actors separated in performance, I’ll gladly pick the former.  Good actors can always imagine environment, stakes, other characters. It’s why Bob Hoskins was engaging in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? or why Benedict Cumberbatch’s Smaug is more than just an animated lizard. But, in our case we had a choice, and that choice was to have the performers able to look each other in the eye.

Almost all of the dialogue editing is complete. This isn’t really important right now. What is important is…

(drumroll)

Indiegogo Fulfillment! (kisssssshhhh!!!!)

Viking stone tablet
WARNING: Your letter will not be carved on a stone tablet. Please prepare accordingly.

I promised that letters would go out late in the summer. They will.  I’m going to send out a backer survey very soon to those who picked the letter option, and soon you’ll receive your one-of-a-kind tangible personal art object from the Jarnsaxa Rising character of your choice.

In the meantime, stay tuned, there’s more to come.

P.S. Did you know that September 28 will be a total lunar eclipse, also known as a blood moon?

Sounds like a good time for a party.

Press for the Process!

Recording. L-R: John Zeiler, Carin Bratlie, Katherine Kupiecki, Vincent Friel, Delta Rae Giordano. Crashed out on bed at center: MaryLynn Mennicke.
Recording. L-R: John Zeiler, Carin Bratlie, Katherine Kupiecki, Vincent Friel, Delta Rae Giordano. Crashed out on bed at center: MaryLynn Mennicke (who should been exhausted by this point).

Howlround.com has published a blog post that I wrote for them about adjusting from writing for theater to writing for audio drama.

A Playwright’s Learning Curve with Audio Drama

Vince and I are now back in Philadelphia. We have to get the house back in order and deprogram our pets, who seem to have been convinced we would never return.  Soon I’ll post some more about the recording process and what we learned. Suffice it to say, the experience was amazing. The people who worked on this are the most positive, productive people I’ve ever met. But right now, I need to shut my eyes and meditate on this for a bit. We have our editing work cut out for us.

Stay tuned!

 

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.

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*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: 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!