Savage Umbrella collaborates with South Korean theater group

Categories: Theater
The Ravagers
Art by Carl Atiya Swanson
This Friday, Savage Umbrella presents a few bits and pieces of their work-in-progress The Ravagers, a play based on Aeschylus's The Suppliants with a little contemporary politics about North Korea thrown in. The group has been collaborating with the Seoul Players, a South Korean theater company through the wonders of Skype, Google docs, and Vimeo. They will also be presenting the play in the near future.  

Savage Umbrella's Artistic Director Laura Leffler-McCabe says that the presentation is a culmination of the work that the two companies have done in the last four weeks.  
Blake E. Bolan, a company member of both groups who is currently living in Seoul teaching English, is the lead writer of the play, and has been incorporating the new material generated from the workshops into the text.  
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Photo by Blake E. Bolan
The Seoul Cast at Work
For this weekend's performance there's about 45 minutes worth of material according to Leffler-McCabe, including movement sequences and scenes to be read. Afterward there will be an audience discussion to generate feedback about the work. Savage Umbrella intends to produce the finished piece next fall.  

Loosely based on The Suppliants by Aesychlus, the script also incorporates ideas on political totalitarian regimes. In the play there are two brothers who each have 50 children. One has all sons and one has all daughters. One of the brothers convinces his daughters to marry the 50 sons and then murder their husbands on their wedding night. All the daughters obey their father except for one.  

The style of the piece is like a dream dance, though since it's not fully staged some of the style has yet to be fine-tuned. "It's a contemporary take on a classic work," she states.

Leffler-McCabe says that the collaboration with the South Korean company (mostly comprised of ex-pats, but with some Korean members) has worked better than she thought it would. "We're using as much technology as we can," she says. The director for the show, Sarah Teich, has been having regular Skype meetings with Bolan, and both companies have been video taping the movement they come up with, uploading it onto Vimeo, and sharing what they've discovered.  
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Photo by Sarah Teich
Michael Sung-Ho and Laura Leffler-McCabe
This presentation will be the first time that Savage Umbrella presents a work-in-progress. "It's a really big experiment," Leffler-McCabe says, "I'm pretty excited." 

The cast includes Tanner Curl, Brandon Ewald, Laura Leffler-McCabe, Christina Lein, Rachel Nelson, Marit Ripley, Danielle Siver, Michael Sung-Ho, and Carl Atiya Swanson.  

The Ravagers presentation will be held at Tarnish & Gold Gallery (1511 Marshall St. NE, Minneapolis) on Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. Performances are pay-what-you-can, and there will be free drinks and refreshments.


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