Monday, August 31, 2009

Starting up: 2009 Barebones Halloween show

Since 1993 Minneapolis has enjoyed the outdoor Barebones Halloween pageant on the banks of the Mississippi River.  Last year the show was called "Fleeced: You Reap What You Sow," and told the story of Jason and the Argonauts, but with a contemporary political twist.  Here's a photo of Zeus (Adam Cook, of the Dolly Wagglers) presenting a cantastoria to tell the story of the Golden Fleece and the Sowing of the Dragon's Teeth.  He's using a lightning bolt as a pointer to explain the story to young Jason (left) and the warmongering usurper Pelias (right).

Note the red, white and blue bunting adorning the platform on which Pelias stands -- he and Jason presented their claims to the kingdom in a mock debate format, fitting for a show performed mere days before the US presidential elections.  Pelias the warmonger was clearly corrupt and had little use for laws, while young Jason carried the fresh appeal of change -- but as the show unfolded Jason too would lead his armies to futile, bloody death.  Many more excellent photos (especially of the fire-breathing bulls!) are at the show link above, and here's a Flickr set from Megan Mayer (10 pics, including hucksters selling Cyclops Insurance).  Here's a video of the armies fighting on a burning plain.

In 2005 I saw my first Barebones show.  Called  "Foretold: It's Your Funeral," it was a story about a town where Divinators study the night sky with a giant telescope and predict disasters, the fear of which drives the town's denizens to extreme lengths to protect themselves.  It's a post-2001 fable of fear-manipulated America, but the Barebones team does an excellent job of weaving the political pattern into their tapestry without letting it overwhelm the design. 

The 2009 Barebones planning website suggests that werewolves are in store for us this year!  I'm not sure what political angle they're taking, but the concept of werewolf does make me ponder Obama the rule-of-law, anti-war, pro-transparency Candidate's transformation into Obama the President.  Rough script development for the 2008 show is archived on that website as well (ie, posts from Aug / Sept / Oct 2008)-- so very fascinating to see shows past and present take shape.  Participation is open to the community.

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