About this project
Imagine the United States in the 1800s ruled by Norse gods, benevolent and cruel, funny and vicious. Imagine a young con artist with one chance to make it big in a small prairie town. Imagine being asked to join his adventure instead of just watching.
This is Gods of the Prairie, a musical like none you've ever seen. It's loosely based on Wagner's Ring Cycle and Nebraska history, with the open structure of adventure videogames like The Legend of Zelda. We're trying to push the boundaries of what theater can be, and one of our biggest goals is to engage people who never would've thought "going to a show" was something they'd enjoy.
Yes, it's a play. It's a musical, just like you might see on Broadway, except... not like that at all. Our backyard musicals aren't meant to be professional theater; they're more experimental, exciting, and organically grown. The idea for Gods of the Prairie is to create an immersive theatrical experience: the audience will all start and end together, but between the first and last scenes of the show there's freedom and adventure and exploration. The audience will discover scenes and characters and wandering minstrels scattered all over downtown Lincoln, and they'll be invited to become adventurers, not mere spectators.
The most essential scenes for understanding the plot will be well-marked on a map and performed on a loop. Other scenes will be scattered around the area, and some will even be "hidden" for curious adventurers to find. These "in between" scenes can be experienced in any order, so each adventurer can undertake a different journey to get from the start of the musical to the end. You can walk a mile or just a few blocks, you can journey alone or with a band of friends. It will difficult to see all the scenes in one night, so we're planning on at least two performances of the show. Like all Colonel Mustard productions, admission to Gods of the Prairie will be completely free. The show will take place on back-to-back evenings, August 17th and 18th.
The Colonel Mustard Amateur Attic Theatre Company is a non-profit arts collaborative based in Lincoln, Nebraska. We're working to develop young artists and build collaboration in the Lincoln art community. We want to make art (of all kinds, not just backyard theatre!) a more pervasive element of Lincoln's cultural landscape.
We've grown quite a bit in the last few years. Our first play had a cast of seven; last summer's X Files: The Musical had a cast and crew of over 60, plus a 20-member orchestra. That first play had an audience of 30 or so; XFTM had an audience of around 1,200 over two nights, plus thousands more who watched it on an internet livestream. We were very excited when XFTM received both local [Lincoln Journal-Star] and national [NPR] press coverage last summer.
We have a strong track record of making great entertainment on a shoe-string budget. Gods of the Prairie will be our 10th theater production since we got started with an attic play way back in 2007, and most of our plays have been put on for less than $200. Our first Kickstarter fundraiser, for X Files: The Musical, was a remarkable success. We asked the Kickstarter community for $1,500 and eventually received an amazing $4,108 - and all that money went toward producing the show and fulfilling rewards for our backers. You can see the great rewards you'll receive for backing Gods of the Prairie over there, on the right.
We're asking for $2,500 to create Gods of the Prairie. We can make the show happen for that amount, but that's modest for a production of this size, and with every extra dollar raised, we'll be able to infuse the show with more magic and spectacle.
Money raised will go toward all the essentials for an amazing outdoor theatrical adventure: sets, costumes, props, lighting, sound, special effects, and for renting some of the locations.
We already have a conservative budget worked out to make sure the money you donate will be accounted for and spent carefully. This is going to be bigger than X Files: The Musical in every way - we need more actors, more crew members, more musicians - not to mention that instead of being a musical stuck in one spot, big scenes of Gods of the Prairie will take place at more than ten separate locations around downtown Lincoln.
We're dreaming big with this one, and we know we can make it happen in spectacular fashion... but only with your help.
The video will be shot by 3-5 intrepid camera-persons over the course of our dress rehearsal and two performances, seeking to capture at least 95% of the show. It will then be edited into a digital file that is organized into "chapters", and will be accompanied by a "map" which will help you navigate the video, choosing which scenes you wish to explore and skipping scenes you want to skip. Certain scenes will be particularly unique in video form -- a scene that takes place in a dark cellar (scary!), a monologue that occurs in the lofty branches of a tree (scary!), and the songs of wandering troubadours and bluegrass bands (not scary at all!). Ideally, we will eventually translate this "choose-your-own-adventure" experience into a format that makes sense for the content, perhaps on a website or DVD, but this video will give you an exciting, comprehensive, and user-driven experience of the spectacle.
SHORT ANSWER: So many exciting, wonderful things.
LONG ANSWER: $2,500 really just covers our basic needs for this show. With $2,500, we can make this show happen. With more than $2,500 we will be able to create more elaborate costumes, build bigger sets, construct more creative puppets, design cooler masks, hair and makeup, and rent cooler locations. Don't get us wrong, we will be THRILLED beyond words to raise the minimum of $2,500! But we Mustardians do not suffer from lack of imagination and resourcefulness, and thus will be MORE THAN HAPPY to invest further funds into further exciting aspects of this production. The sky is the limit!
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