WHY ARE YOU PRESENTING 3 PLAYS BY JON FOSSE?
Jon Fosse is Europe's most produced living playwright. His works have been translated into more than 40 languages, he's been compared to Samuel Beckett, declared "Norway's most innovative dramatist since Ibsen," and even won the 2010 International Ibsen Award. Yet his works are rarely - if ever - produced in the United States. Winter was recently staged in Los Angeles and Rattlestick Playwrights Theater in New York successfully staged a production of A Summer's Day starring Karen Allen. Beyond that, you'll be hard-pressed to find Fosse's works on stage anywhere this side of the Atlantic. In fact, Autumn Dream has never been seen in the U.S. All three plays will be presented in brand new translations by Kyle Korynta, commissioned by Akvavit Theatre.
WHY ARE YOU CALLING THIS GJENGANGER: 3 PLAYS BY JON FOSSE?
Gjenganger (YEN-gong-her) is the Norwegian word for "again walker." (Not "White Walker", even though Winter is indeed coming.) The past returning to haunt the present - whether literally or figuratively - is a recurrent theme in Winter, Autumn Dream, and A Summer's Day. Akvavit Theatre will present this triptych (not a trilogy) of plays in rotation (two per night, all three on Sundays) from February 28th through March 24th at the Storefront Theater in Chicago, which is operated under the auspices of the City of Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE).
WHY IS AKVAVIT THEATRE TAKING ON JON FOSSE?
Akvavit Theatre's mission is to investigate and encourage discussion about what "Nordic" means and how it is perceived through translated theatre performance. The plays we produce give Nordic countries a strong voice in North America while contributing to the vibrant intercultural theatre scene already thriving in Chicago. We produce contemporary Nordic plays - you won't be seeing Strindberg or Ibsen any time soon. We've already mounted successful productions from Denmark and Finland (we even had previous Kickstarter success with Finland), and this would be our first fully-staged production from Norway. These three works from Jon Fosse will serve as the ideal gateway to Norwegian theatre.
WHAT DOES MY MONEY PAY FOR?
In order to have the legal rights to stage Gjenganger: 3 Plays by Jon Fosse, we need to pay royalties to the playwright and his publisher. In order to stage it, we need to pay our key personnel. Just paying these people accounts for roughly 33% of our budget.
Then we need to pay for materials to build the set. We need a window for A Summer's Day. We need a hotel bed for Winter. We need a park bench for Autumn Dream. We need costumes - a rain slicker, a cocktail dress, funeral attire, and more. We need to light these plays, add sound, and provide props. All this accounts for another 20% of our budget.
So what about the other 47%? Well, it costs money to load all of these things into the theatre then get it all out when it's done. We need to rent rehearsal space to be ready for performance. We need to advertise and market the production so that, you know, people will come see it. There are programs, posters, and mailings to be printed. We even need insurance - just in case.
And all of that costs money. In fact, it will cost at least $3,000. That's the minimum amount we need to produce this project. Frankly, we could use the generous among you to get this campaign above $3,000, so we can pay for all the things that often must be creatively finagled for free - like actors. Akvavit Theatre depends upon donations from multiple sources to operate throughout the year, but the funds from this campaign - from you - will go directly to producing Gjenganger: 3 Plays by Jon Fosse.
WHAT DO I GET OUT OF IT?
Take a look to the right. Depending on how much you can help us financially, you could get us to talk you up to all your friends on Facebook, get a real, live hug from one of our company members, tickets to see the show, a party invitation, your name on a gravestone (without all of the usual mess), or even a personalized song and dance video of your choice from Akvavit Theatre!
Plus, you'll get updated access to our creative process! You'll get behind the scenes photos from rehearsals! You'll hear from our directors, actors, and designers!
Of course, more than any of that, you'll have a personal stake in the success of Nordic theatre in North America. And you'll get the satisfaction of contributing to a greater diversity in Chicago and American theatre.
Risks and challenges
Mounting any production can be a daunting task, but mounting a triptych of works by a playwright unfamiliar to American audiences is particularly ambitious. It would be a large undertaking for a long-established company with a full-time, paid staff, and we're a small, relatively new company comprised of passionate people who do this in addition to our jobs elsewhere. The work that lies ahead is staggering, but - with your help - we know this can be done.
So check your budget, check your heart, and check your reservations about the unfamiliar so you can decide just how great of a stake you want to have in the success of Akvavit Theatre's production of "Gjenganer: 3 Plays by Jon Fosse" - "Winter", "A Summer's Day", and "Autumn Dream".
"Winter": Corey Noble and Bergen Anderson*. Directed by Paul S. Holmquist. Stage Managed by Rachel Staelens.
"Autumn Dream": Mark Litwicki*, Kirstin Franklin*, Beau Forbes, Susan Fay and Deborah Craft. Directed by Breahan Eve Pautsch*. Assistant Directed by Bethany Anne Weise. Stage Managed by Catherine Connelly.
"A Summer’s Day": Jan Sodaro, Mimi Sagadin, Marika Mashburn, Mandy Walsh, Joshua Harris* and Linsey Falls. Directed by Wm. Bullion*. Assistant Directed by Kate Booth. Stage Managed by Phillip Claudnic.
Kyle Korynta (translator - on a commission from Akvavit Theatre)
Chad Eric Bergman* (scenographer)
Matthew Isler* (co-production manager)
Andy Quijano* (co-production manager)
Kristina Carr (costumes)
Jared Moore (lighting designer)
Nigel Harsch (sound)
Dag Juhlin (composer/arranger)
*Indicates Akvavit Theatre company member.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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