barebones skullduggery

The 2nd Annual BareBones Halloween  Extravaganza

Co-Creators: Mark Safford, Alison Heimstead, Julian McFaul, & Amy Ballestad

October 31, 1995

Flaming Trees, Screaming Skulls, Burning Oven-Mitt Puppets… Skullduggery was the first synthesis of several Halloween events in Minneapolis that, in later years, would become BareBones Productions' "Halloween Extravaganza."

Cast and Crew: Co-creators Mark Safford, Alison Heimstead, Julian McFaul, and Amy Ballestad teamed up with others to create a ghostly celebration of Fall on the grounds of the derelict Ross Island Power Station along the Mississippi River in St. Paul. Cast and crew include Alison Heimstead (Co-Creator) · Amy Ballestad (Co-Creator) · Mark Safford (Co-Creator) · Jessica Braun-Ferris · Crystalline · Soozin Hirschmugl (Ghost) · Julian McFaul (Co-Creator, Writer, Director, Jack O' Lantern) · Sam Ridenour.

Have a memory you'd like to share about this show? Use the comments box below. If you were involved in this production, but don't see your name and would like it listed, send us a message from our Contact page. Thanks!


  1. Mark Safford on November 4, 2009 at 7:45 am

    It seems to me it was early to mid October when Alison asked If I wanted to do this thing again. We took a walk around the power station and met Dan Guinea who walked us around the place I remember climbing up pretty high and taking in the view and thinking it would be great to drop a puppet from the top. Alison and I hashed an initial storyboard and settled on elemental themes in an action -reaction -blessing -ritual, with monologue moment from jack the pumpkin head which was given increased incarnation by Steve Rife’s pyrotechnic punch Julian’s big headed little monster skulls,skull roarers,skullcasters the head of the skeleton bike from the previous year and Amy and Suzan’s spooky shade costumes. The buget was simple a hundred bucks to rent the space for the night. Everything was made out of detritus trash cardboard foam.PVC an old waterbed liner and leaky bean bag chair became the octopus water elemental. two sofa cushions and a plastic garbage bag became an evil beet and carrot (earth elementals ) swallowing up bone meal from the skullduggery moment. A large leaf of cardboard became a wind elemental and Jim Ouray was morphed into a stilted flare clad samurai fire elemental igniting a fire starter tree created by Julian . I recall testing this orange bottled goop on the driveway trying to create a fire trail with Julian and the realization that we might have taken it too close to the garage. I remember Maren’s excitement and desire to stage manage or direct the thing in the future,after the show. Alexis V. with her moody acordian under an umbrella.Ephraim under a very incomplete sheet with a slide whistle as G’way and later C’mere .I have a vivid memory of the initial deliberate disaster of a puppet show with crunch and spooky the fore mentioned oven mitt hand puppets helping to illustrate the concepts of shades and elements of life and death and them getting it wrong and in their frustration setting fire to themselves ,the stage and a fire trail that led to the main performance site except for the rain which was torential and put out the fire trail every three to eight feet. Alison running with a torch to light those bits of the trail unlit .The leaf failing to fall and Jim stilt walking with hot flare plasma dripping from his head. The octopus missing its correct entrance and nearly setting itself on fire as it careened over some torches. Bo cracking ribs because we had never rehearsed the little monsters with the pants that hobbled ones knees. The beautiful etherial shades and the sparks from Steve’s flaming ball and chain. Beautiful chaotic insane gesture. Warm food inside an audience of maybe forty, cast of sixteen. Krista Pearson and Eric Esse waiting for the leaf to fall and Alison and her powerful call releasing a soggy waterlogged drop in a most unimagined moment.

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