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

Pocket Casts has us right here.

Take us with you!

 

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.

———–

*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.

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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: 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.

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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.

—-

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! 

 

 

 

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! 

Who Is Jarnsaxa?

Jarnsaxa is one of the lesser-known characters in Norse mythology, but her mystery is only one of the things that makes her the most interesting. When Carin game me the original writing prompt, I started researching the spot she described.

View over southern part of Sottunga, in the Aland Islands. North of the 60th parallel in the Baltic is The Aland Islands. During the summer, they’re a popular destination for tourists seeking rustic peace. Mostly, they’re known for iron mining (abandoned in the 1800s), beets, and cows. In ruminating on the most concrete elements (wind, waves, iron) and doing some meditative web-surfing, I found Jarnsaxa. She’s a creature who comes up in important ways in Norse mythology, but much is left out. Jarnsaxa makes ripe material for contemporary imagination.

"The three maidens swam close to the shore" by the German painter Ferdinand Leeke, 1905We know a little bit about her and what she does. Her name is a portmanteau of the Swedish words for iron, axe, and scissors (jarn, yxa, and saxa, respectively).  In the Poetic Edda (considered one of the oldest texts of Norse culture), we learn that she is one of The Nine Mothers of Heimdall. These Wave-Maidens were responsible for turning the mill which runs the wind and the waves. After Heimdall leaves his mothers to seek his fortune, Jarnsaxa disappears from the Eddas for a while.

She reappears as Thor’s lover. Like before, as a Wave-Maiden, she is a giantess.  We learn that she is a Jotun, the same race as Loki. She is also the mother of Thor’s sons, Magni and Modi (respectively named for physical strength, and the desire to fight and kill).  It is prophesied that Modi and Magni will eventually inherit Mjölnir, Thor’s hammer, when it is thrown at the end of Ragnarok (the Old Norse apocalypse).  We also know from other places in the Eddas that Thor’s official wife is Sif, the goddess of fertility.

Kråka, daughter of Sigurd (royal name: Aslaug). Painted in 1862 by Mårten Eskil Winge. So, what can we assume, based on this information? Jarnsaxa has been called Thor’s mistress, lover, even co-wife, but never does she have the role that monogamous marriage confers. Sif is a fertility goddess, associated with summer and the harvest, so she must cover Thor’s aspect as a thunder god and bringer of rain. Therefore Jarnsaxa must cover his warrior aspect. Jarnsaxa’s children embody a warrior’s best qualities, and it’s safe to assume they didn’t only get this from their old man. Shield maidens were an acceptable role in Old Norse culture, a way that women could fight alongside their community, without the official title of Viking. Jarnsaxa’s fighting qualities can be supposed not only from her name, but also her surroundings. Since the Aesir generally looked down on Jotuns, as uncouth and wild, but she snagged Thor, she definitely had to be smoking hot and a lot of fun to be with.

Hervors død by Peter Nicolai Arbo, Loki and Thor share many adventures, generally stories in which Loki and/or his Jotun comrades are harmed. Since Loki and Jarnsaxa are both Jotuns, it’s safe to assume they share a bond. Loki will eventually helm the ship that sails against the Aesir in Ragnarok, and Jarnsaxa’s children will directly benefit from Thor’s defeat.  Since she’s bearing Thor’s children without The Aesir’s blessing or status,  and will benefit from the destruction of the Aesir, all that can come in the middle is a desire for revenge.

Returning to the original proposition, we can take a look at a sentient wind farm, and wonder how it got that way, and what it wants.  The world of Old Norse culture lends itself to liminality, a flexibility of boundaries between the past and present, natural and supernatural worlds. This is a place with Northern Lights and white nights, and the states of dreaming and being awake can become blurred. How does Jarnsaxa fit into this scheme?

The Draugr is the Old Norse version of the walking dead. This is just one version of the ways in which souls can transcend the mortal experience. Sometimes, if a dead person is not properly buried, or has unfinished business, their body can live on after them, or, simply, their will. It can inhabit animals, attacking the living until it gets what it wants. In the Eyrbyggja Saga, the will of a dead woman inhabited a seal, attacking humans until its bedclothes were burned, as the departed woman had requested. This story is a precursor of the Irish and Scots folk creature, the Selkie.

Many undead Norse were lost at sea.  More common are the souls of corpses washed up on shore. Having committed no crime, but without a proper funeral, their soul would wander until their body was properly buried. If a living person were to pass the body without trying to help its soul, the ghost would follow and hunt them until it received satisfaction.  Stories of supernatural women taking over untended farms at The Winter Solstice, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve (the darkest time of the year in the Northern hemisphere),  are popular in Old Norse culture. In some cases, the woman is disguised as a quiet farm girl, who refuses to go to Mass, but instead turns into an Elf Queen and throws a secret party for all of her elvish friends. In other cases, the quiet farm girl reveals a murderous nature, slaughtering livestock and whoever might try to stop her. Christian ritual is often not enough to stop restlessness. In the Eyrbyggja Saga, Thorgunna receives a Christian burial, but returns to tell everyone how cold her resting place is, until they finally fulfill her request to burn her bedclothes. As scholar Kirsti Kanerva says, the ghost is there to shine a light on past wrong, and get things in order, not because of the presence or absence of any particular religion. “The ghosts and wonders manifest the mental and social disequilibrium inherent in these situations…indicating in a concrete way the shadows of the past, deeds that have caused the balance of the minds of men and the order of their society to be shaken by the dead through fear, lunacy, illness, and death.” Like the ghosts in Macbeth and Hamlet, the undead in Old Norse culture are there to push the living to truth and justice.

So, how does a re-animated Jarnsaxa, fueled by revenge, fit into contemporary imagination?

She wants revenge on the Aesir. Like a corporation, this network of gods controls everything, from the seasons and weather to choices about food, shelter and sex. They set rules, and demand loyalty and homage. They can punish or reward, according to their whims. They can use and destroy the natural world however they please, and re-create it in their own image. An ancient giantess, turning a mill which feeds the wind and ways has its mirror opposite in a graceful silvery wind turbine, towering over land and sea to harness the wind’s energy. What comes around, goes around, literally.

cropped-7340720552_af85218ee9_k1.jpg Jarnsaxa gives us a means to explore themes of betrayal, sustainability, and revenge through an ancient metaphor. Norse mythology allows us the opportunity to explore time and space in a way which lends itself well to audio drama.

Currently, I’m working on the ninth and tenth episodes of the script, and in 31 days, Vince and I fly to Minneapolis to record with the cast. Soon, I’ll post updates about the artists with whom we’ll be working, and more about the characters in this audio drama.

In the meantime, if you’re interested in what you’ve read so far, please consider contributing to our fundraising campaign at Indiegogo. We’re 8% funded right now, and part of our goal is to make this story accessible to all for free while compensating our artists. Please consider donating; if you can’t, but still want to help, spread the word.