Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Young Girl In Peril, The Musical-Drama I am Anne Frank at The Edge

The story of Anne Frank is one of the most widely read of all time. Having it told in a musical-drama is very moving. I am Anne Frank, based on her diary, is a very special look at the way one of millions of young people lived their short lives under the dangers of Nazi rule. How Anne was hidden by friends for 2 years, betrayed by an unknown collaborator and sent to her end is known only because of her diary and the interest it created. The performances, followed by audience talkbacks, are at The Edge Center Theatre in Bigfork on Friday, March 2nd at 7PM and Sunday, March 4th at 2PM. Prices are $10 for adults, $5 for children and $3 for student rush. There also will be a special student performance on March 2nd.

Anne Frank wanted to become a journalist and wondered if she could write well enough. “I finally realized that I must do my schoolwork to keep from being ignorant, to get on in life, to become a journalist, because that’s what I want! I know I can write ...When I write I can shake off all my cares. My sorrow disappears, my spirits are revived! But, and that’s a big question, will I ever be able to write something great, will I ever become a journalist or a writer?” Anne Frank pictured above in 1942 is from Wikipedia (, the above quote is from her diary according to Lessons from The Diary of Anne Frank by Harold Marcuse, UCSB August 7, 2002 and tells much about her aspirations.

Also from the same site, above is an image of Het Achterhuis (1947), the cover of the first edition of Anne Frank's diary later translated as The Diary of a Young Girl

The musical-drama, I Am Anne Frank is based on Anne Frank’s diary. The St. Paul based professional Nautilus Music-Theater brings this production to Bigfork. Since 1986 the theater has dedicated itself to innovative forms of music-theater and opera. Starring singer-actors Vanassa Gamble (pictured above and below) and Joel Liestman (pictured below) with libretto by Enid Futterman and music by Michael Cohen, the I am Anne Frank production has been enjoying excellent reviews from audiences and critics, such as "…capturing Anne’s combination of commonness and exceptional self-awareness…remarkable music, lyrics, and performers…thoughtfully presented...”

The Edge Center welcomes you to try this production as a way to see, hear and experience a different kind of theatre here in Bigfork.

Tickets are available at the Edge Center Wednesdays - Fridays 9am-1:00pm, at Two Rivers Cenex Convenience Store in Bigfork, online at, and at the door.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

When Silence is Not Just Quiet

Making silence a key part of a play’s dialogue makes the play Circle Mirror Transformation special. Its creator, Anne Baker, believes silence is an important part of everyday life and can be just as important on stage. Circle Mirror Transformatoin is on The Edge Center Theatre stage in Bigfork Thursday through Saturday, February 23rd to 25th at 7pm and Sunday, February 26th at 2pm. Tickets are $12 for adults, $5 children, and $3 student rush.

Annie Baker grew up in a small town and experienced acting classes at this level. Her play is not typical at all. She uses silence in her plays as an effect that sometimes makes audiences aware of themselves, and sometimes makes them uncomfortable, until they get used to it.

The following is in the Playbill and is from Patricia Feld, Director of the play at The Edge Center, “While theatre groups throughout the U.S. have performed this 2010, award-winning script the EdgeWild Players is only the second theatre group in Minnesota to produce Circle Mirror Transformation. The first was the Guthrie Theatre in 2011. Are the elements of quiet and “theatre about theatre” part of the reason other companies haven’t attempted it?”

“Circle differs from most plays, modern and ancient, in its scripted reliance on silence as part of the everyday, hyper-naturalistic dialogue. Playwright Annie Baker said that ‘when it feels like nothing is taboo anymore — we can have sex and violence on stage and no one blinks an eye — I think the one thing left that really makes people uncomfortable is empty space and quiet.’ We have taken on Baker’s play with its required short pauses, pauses, long pauses, silences, long silences, and very long awkward silences as a challenge to our abilities to ‘fill’ those quiet moments with the real inner lives of the characters. When you next have a very important conversation, you may notice how much of it is framed by silence.”

“There are a couple hundred people in our area who have worked in some capacity with plays, but few of us here in the woods know what a Creative Dramatics class is. Why should we be interested in what happens in that kind of a class in a small town in Vermont? Is this a show about ‘theatre people’ self-consciously doing a play about theatre people?”

“Not at all.”

“This play is successful because it is not about the theatre. It is about five people who simply come to know themselves better, come to know each other much better, attempt to build and restore and maintain relationships, and ultimately bond in a shared experience of human understanding achieved through theatrical exercise and intention.”

“Besides the actual mirrored wall of a dance studio and a hula hoop, the symbols in the title may be understood as follows: The circle is the place where these people meet. The mirror is the group of theatrical devices that allow them to see themselves in each other, and to see the other in themselves. The transformation is what happens to us in the process of watching them create their own imaginative world in which we also happen to live. (Jerry Kraft of The Seattle offered these thoughtful metaphors).”

“Thank you for being here to support live, performing arts, and the work of your friends and neighbors.”

Tickets are available at the Edge Center Wednesdays - Fridays 9am-1:00pm, at Two Rivers Cenex Convenience Store in Bigfork, online at, and at the door.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Circle Mirror – Ready Set Go

The play Circle Mirror Transformation, starting performances in Bigfork later this month, includes a set with most everything in a dance studio. Building it took volunteers from the region including Marcel, Effie, Togo and Bigfork to finish in two days. Complete with mirrors, ballet bars, wooden flooring, hula-hoop, exercise ball and a cast of five, the play is definitely a go. Circle Mirror Transformation, which won last year’s Obie for Best New Play off-Broadway is about a Creative Dramatics class taught at a community center in a small Vermont town. It will run February 23th through the 26th.

The flooring and painting the set walls took a day. If you have tried this, you can appreciate how much time and patience it takes.

Putting the 12-foot walls up went quickly. It is amazing how lots of hands can make the difference. Two of the walls are “real” enough to hold the mirrors, lean on and even use the ballet bars.

The first rehearsal in the new set was Firday the 10th. And with less than two weeks before opening night, there will be lots of rehearsing.

The show times at The Edge Center Theatre in Bigfork are Thursday through Saturday, February 23rd to 25th at 7pm and Sunday, February 26th at 2pm. Tickets are $12 for adults, $5 children, and $3 student rush.

Tickets are available at the Edge Center Wednesdays - Fridays 9am-1:00pm, at Two Rivers Cenex Convenience Store in Bigfork, online at, and at the door.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Artists in Training

When native artist Gorden Coons exhibited at The Edge Canter gallery in October of 2011, he conducted five classes at the Bigfork School in his techniques. The following is some the art that the students of the Bigfork School created as a result.

The above photo is Gordon during one of the classes.

Gordon Coons, because of his Ojibway and Ottawa heritage, has chosen to work in the Eastern Woodland and the Ledger styles. He is a self-taught artist, now living in Minneapolis, and is an enrolled member of the Lac Courte Oreilles Tribe of northern Wisconsin.

His student classes started with 14 Native American students from Grand Rapids and then included several grades from the Bigfork School. The talks he gave after the classes helped students and other visitors understand what lies behind his color and symbol choices.

Here are several examples of the student art. The whole collection can be viewed at:

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Robin Hood Older and Wiser?

Who would have ever thought Robin Hood and Marian would not live happily ever after? Evidently, all did not stay merry in Sherwood Forest. This sequel really spins an interesting yarn and is better at it than most sequels. But Robin refusing to do what King Richard wants and Marian a nun? This is interesting stuff and “Robin and Marian” could be worth a trip to Bigfork February 9th at 6:30PM to see it free-of-charge. It is part of the Park Theater Memorial Classic Movie Series and will include Jack Nachbar’s background discussions and treats appropriate for love renewed.

Below stars Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn enjoy a special moment as Robin and Marian in the 1976 film.

The movie poster below is even special. It is by award-winning Drew Struzan, who is an American artist known for his movie poster work with over 150 done for such special movies such as all the Indiana Jones movies, Back to the Future, and Star Wars along with album covers, collectibles and book covers.

The following is by Jack Nachbar on “Robin and Marian”.

“As Americans, we all like to believe in second chances. Just look at the popularity of sports movies, for example. Our Classic Movie for February is one of the grand movies to celebrate the second chance. ROBIN AND MARIAN (1976) takes up the story of Robin Hood and Maid Marian twenty years after most Robin Hood stories end. Their lives haven't gone as they had hoped. Robin is losing his skills and is disillusioned by the crusades. Marian has given up on love and entered a convent. But they meet again and, as the ads for the movie proclaimed in 1976, "love is the greatest adventure of all." The two stars of the movie were also embarking on second chances. Sean Connery was finishing his James Bond roles and was anxious to explore new roles. Audrey Hepburn was returning to movies after an eight year absence. Together they are pure magic.”

Here is another Struzan poster. From Walt Disney’s “Return to Oz”.