Once performances begin, you can watch for reviews to start appearing from the other Twin Cities Theater Bloggers.
What's your role in Bluebeard's Dollhouse?
Erik: I’m the co-artistic director of Combustible Company and I’m producing and performing in Bluebeard’s Dollhouse.
How do you describe yourself as an artist?
Erik: My background is in devised physically-based theater, although I’ve done everything from Shakespeare to contemporary literary-based theater, so I guess that makes me a bit of a mutt.
How do you continue to grow artistically?
Erik: I’m always training. I’ve been teaching Margolis Method the past couple years, but prior to that I tried to find a class whenever I was between projects—whether it was combat or improv.
"A really unique, physical, and captivating piece of theater." ~Cherry and Spoon, 2013
Read the full review of Kym and Erik's first collaboration, the aerial musical "Herocycle."
Erik: Ten Thousand Things always does good work and their mission is important.
How did Combustible Company come about? Can you tell us a little about the organization?
Erik: Kym Longhi [the other co-artistic director of Combustible Company] and I met while we were both members of Kari Margolis' Adaptors Company and I’ve always trusted her insight. Herocycle was our first collaboration and I knew she was the one to help develop the seed of my idea. We both did the freelance thing for a while in between, but we’re both at a point in our careers where we want to collaborate more seriously to produce our own unique work.
Red Eye’s program is a wonderful opportunity to develop an idea. They give artists three really important things: criticism, deadlines, and an audience. We decided to pack as much material as we could into the allotted 15-minute performance in order to discover as much as we possibly could about the piece. Then we had the idea to make it site-specific and set it in a Victorian house, but we needed to test the staging. Kym knows some wonderful folks in Minocqua, Wisconsin who let us use their property to put up a couple performances. Based on what we learned there, we knew we could do it as a promenade-style piece. After some searching, we landed on the James J. Hill House as the setting for this production.
If you could describe this work in three words what would they be?
Erik: Haunting. Intimate. Visceral.
"It’s a haunted house, but the haunting is inside the characters." -Kym Longhi
Read the full interview with Basil Considine in Twin Cities Arts Reader.
Erik: Both of them in their own ways are captivity tales and both contain a measure of violence. However, in one story it’s physical and in the other it’s emotional. At the center of each story is a terrible secret that poses a threat to the heroine and changes her forever. Our goal is to contextualize the emotional abuse in A Doll’s House through the lens of the physical abuse in Bluebeard so the audience can better understand the pain constricting gender roles in our society can impose on all of us. In our story, the struggle to escape is universal.
Erik: So far, I’d have to say it’s been the simple logistics of moving the audience from location to location without compromising the momentum of the performance.
Erik: We have a few more ideas that are under development. Ideally, I think we’d like to be able to produce work about once per year but it may take us some time to get there. We’ll also be offering Margolis Method classes.
September 30 through October 15, 2016
Featuring: Beth Brooks, Karla Grotting, Paul Herwig, Erik Hoover, Renee Howard, Kalen Rainbow Keir, Rachel Nelson and Pearl Noonan.
Production team: Peter Baker (composition), Alissa McCourt and Nicholas Swenson (costume design) and Jim Peitzman (video design and installation).
General Admission Tickets:
$29.97 (including service fee)
Discounts available for economic accessibility, Fringe button holders, and members of the Minnesota Historical Society.
James J. Hill House
240 Summit Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55102
Follow Combustible Company on Facebook for behind the scenes photos and up-to-date performance info.
You can connect with @jjhillhouse on Facebook and Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS), which maintains the site, is active on many social media sites including Twitter (@mnhs) and Instagram (@minnesotahistoricalsociety.)
In the mood for some Minnesota comedy? Check out the Artfully Engaging review of "The Church Basement Ladies In Rise Up, O Men" a Musical Comedy.
There are more Artfully Engaging blogs scheduled for this month: more Halloween antics, Twin Cities theater community celebrations, and reviews of upcoming comedy and tragedy shows. Follow Artfully Engaging on Facebook for all the newest reviews and show features.
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