For Immediate Release
Amy Danielson: 612.245.2020 | DANIELSON.AMY@GMAIL.COM
Scotty Reynolds: 612.619.2112 | MIXEDPRECIPITATION@GMAIL.COM
Mixed Precipitation: Scotty Reynolds, a director and project lead; Mike Harris, writer; Marya Hart, music director; Zach Humes, set and prop designer; Teresa Mock, costume designer; and Nick Schneider, head chef.
Opening Saturday, August 14 at 7 p.m. at the Dodge Nature Center and Community Garden. The production tours to community gardens through September 21. See calendar for performance dates, times, and locations.
Community gardens in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Falcon Heights, Hastings, North Branch, Northfield, Robbinsdale, Roseville and St. Louis Park. See calendar for details. Check our website for information about rain sites.
Mixed Precipitation’s King Arthur: A Picnic Operetta Opens August 14
English baroque gets punked in gardens across the Twin Cities and beyond in August and September
(Minneapolis) July 23, 2014 — Mixed Precipitation’s King Arthur: A Picnic Operetta kicks off on August 14 with a punk retelling of Henry Purcell’s 1684 English Baroque opera. Now in its sixth season, this edible opera adventure for the whole family plays through September 21 in community gardens and urban farms throughout the Twin Cities.
King Arthur has gathered the elite Knights of the Round Table together to celebrate the expansion of their benevolent empire, Cameloteapolis. They’re cutting the ribbons to celebrate the building of a colossal sporting arena to host a “Super Joust,” but their grand vision faces a brand new threat — a bull-headed generation of young Saxon knights determined to destroy their new creation. Saddled by debt and underemployment, the Saxons have enlisted the “black magic” of the underworld. Will they use their magic to bring new prosperity or athletic success? And who will be king?
Scotty Reynolds directs A Picnic Operetta alongside the creative team: Mike Harris, writer; Marya Hart, music director; Paulino Brener, choreographer, Zach Humes, set and prop designer; Teresa Mock, costume designer; and Nick Schneider, chef.
Mike Harris’ reworking of the script (adapted from John Dryden’s 1691 original) ties the story to modern themes involving clashes between baby-boomers and millennials, civic investment, and social justice. No matter what concessions the boomers make, the evil can’t be completely undone.
This year’s operetta features cast members Jim Ahrens as King Arthur (tenor), JP Fitzgibbons as Merlin (baritone), Maggie Lofboom as Guinevere (mezzo) and Peter Middlecamp as Sir Gawain (tenor). The multi-generational cast is supported by a magnificent group of instrumentalists: Greg Byers (cello, guitar), Devan Moran and Leif Peterson (strings), and Karen Majewicz of Dreamland Faces (accordion).
Henry Purcell’s English Baroque compositions are contrasted by the countercultural anthems of Iggy Pop, The Clash, The Sex Pistols, Patti Smith, and the Buzzcocks. British punk adds to the anarchy against the British establishment. Fitzgibbons sings “The Cold Song,” the piece’s most recognizable aria, famously recorded by Klaus Nomi, and recently included in the Wolf of Wall Street soundtrack.
Teresa Mock’s costumes combine the medieval world of King Arthur with ‘70s era London punk. The Britons are mainstream punk, whereas the Saxons represent the tough underclass. For the Britons, Mock drew from the work of fashion designer Vivienne Westwood in the ‘70s, including colorful mixtures of tartan fabrics and Union Jack colors. The Saxons will be seen in street punk fashion with leather, studs and punked-out t-shirts with images of classical Arthurian legend buried within them.
No picnic is complete without delicious food. Mixed Precipitation weaves savory and sweet bites into the storytelling as a way to celebrate the harvest. Chef Nick Schneider, who honed his skills in the kitchens of Cafe Brenda and Spoonriver Cafe, works with a team of chefs and volunteers to create a menu that adapts to the story and invites the audience to taste the edible beauty of the landscape.
For King Arthur: A Picnic Operetta, chefs dust off a 14th century Anglo-saxon recipe called “Compost” (fruits and vegetables pickled in honey and wine) to please the masses at King Arthur’s stadium event. Sorcery in the kitchen conjures a cool cucumber granita and a soup of braised local forest delicacies. To pay homage to the royal joust, audiences will be served a cherry sweet treat, presented on a skewer.
Thursday, August 14, 7 p.m.: Dodge Nature Center and Community Garden, 1701 Charlton St., West St. Paul
Friday, August 15, 7 p.m.: Eleanor Graham Community Garden, 1335 Ashland Avenue, St. Paul
Saturday, August 16, 4 p.m.: Skidmore Park Community Garden, 1085 4th St., East St. Paul
Sunday, August 17, 4 p.m.: Falcon Heights Community Garden, 2050 Roselawn Ave., Falcon Heights (ASL performance)
Friday, August 22, 7 p.m.: Loring Park Garden of the Seasons, 1382 Willow St., Minneapolis
Saturday, August 23, 4 p.m.: Northeast United Methodist Church, 2510 Cleveland St., NE Minneapolis
Sunday, August 24, 4 p.m.: JD Rivers’ Children’s Garden, 2900 Glenwood Ave. N., North Minneapolis
Saturday, August 30, 4 p.m.: Alexis Bailly Vineyard, 18200 Kirby Ave., Hastings
Sunday, August 31, 4 p.m.: Stone’s Throw Urban Farm, 2820 15th Ave. S., Minneapolis
Saturday, September 6, 4 p.m.: Women’s Environmental Institute Farm, 15715 River Rd., North Branch
Sunday, September 7, 4 p.m.: Bronx Park Community Garden, 2600 Georgia Ave. S., St. Louis Park
Saturday, September 13, 4 p.m.: Robbinsdale Community Garden, 4239 Halifax Ave. N., Robbinsdale
Sunday, September 14, 4 p.m.: Swede Hollow Park, Beaumont and Drewry St., St. Paul (ASL performance)
Saturday, September 20, 4 p.m.: Carleton Farm House, 612 Three Oaks Dr., Northfield
Sunday, September 21, 4 p.m.: Central Park Muriel Sahlin Arboretum, 2525 N. Dale St., Roseville
Special fundraiser announced: On August 26 at 7:30 p.m., attend a fundraiser for A Picnic Operetta featuring violist John Scanlon. $50 for beverages and world class entertainment in an intimate setting overlooking Lake Phalen. At the (former) Weequah Canoe Club, 1492 East Short Drive, St. Paul. More info and tickets.
Please call 1.800.838.3006 or visit mixedprecipitation.org for reservations. Seating is limited and reservations are strongly encouraged. The suggested donation is $10 – $20 per person. Donations are a critical source of funding for A Picnic Operetta and can be made with your reservation or collected at the end of the performance. No one will be turned away for lack of funds. Patrons are encouraged to bring their own blankets and lawn chairs.
We are prepared to provide reasonable accommodation to patrons with physical disabilities and
those who require access services. Our performance is designed for an outdoor garden venue. A sighted guide is suggested for visually impaired patrons. Please call Audience Services Coordinator Felicia Hobert (414.678.9409) for parking suggestions and access to each unique venue. Find additional info about access services, ASL, captioning, and audio description at mixedprecipitation.org. The opera is in English.
About Mixed Precipitation
Mixed Precipitation is a performance company exploring text, space, and form with festive theatrical events that inspire social engagement. More info at mixedprecipitation.org.
This activity is made possible in part by a grant provided by the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council and VSA Minnesota, through an appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.
About The Picnic Operetta
Each summer we present our signature event, The Picnic Operetta, a lively theater experience touring community gardens and other green spaces throughout the Twin Cities Metro. A five-course tasting menu of locally grown, performance-inspired delicacies is served during the show. We bring together classical music, horticulture, food, and storytelling into a celebration of the urban eco-system.