Video Tour of Barebones Workspace

Artists work toward the 2010 Barebones Halloween Show at Sister’s Camelot in South Minneapolis. Video and blog post by Sheila Regan from City Pages. Read her blog post about BareBones, posted below the video, or at the City Pages website.

BareBones’ Halloween Show Goes Carnival at Hidden Falls

If you’re looking for an outdoor spectacle event with giant puppet creations, robots, hornets, stilts, aerial artists, fire, and original music by a live orchestra, then look no further than Hidden Falls Regional Park, where BareBones Productions presents their 17th Annual Halloween Outdoor Puppet Extravaganza. This year’s show, called Carnetheria has a carnival theme and takes the audience on an experiential journey of visual effects. BareBones Board Treasurer Brent Harring states that this year’s show has very little dialogue, instead allowing the audience to make personal interpretations through the imagery. There is also an ambiguity in the narrative, “creating striking imagery that is thematically developed without being overt.” The production has layers of intention that mix and mingle, so audiences can pull out the things that resonate with them.

This year’s Halloween pageant is directed by Mark Safford and Andrew Wagner. Dozens of people have been working for weeks putting the show together at Sister’s Camelot, a nonprofit organization that delivers organic food to low-income neighborhoods around the Twin Cities.​

In addition to the carnival theme, one of the show’s inspirations comes from the Ray Bradberry novel, Something Wicked This Way Comes. There is also a message about how technology and energy use wreaks havoc on the planet and humanity. Touching on the oil spill, with a bit of allusion to predator drones, Carnetheria has many themes steeped in its highly visual production.

“This show is an excursion into fall, and it has also been bent by personal experience,” states Safford. The process this year was darkened early on by a death in the community when Brass Messengers member Ethan Johnson died in September in a car accident. There is an altar for Ethan in the Sisters of Camelot workspace. “There’s a kind of toughness in the loss,” Safford says, “and a lot of people were kind of reeling.” Part of the unimaginableness of his death has spilled into the story. “There’s some more difficult, dramatic stuff this year than we’ve really ever done before.” His spirit will surely be present in what is much more than a play, but rather more of an experience of ritual, of art, of ceremony, and of celebration.

It’s a good idea to carpool to the show, as there is limited parking. The entrance to the performance area is at the North Gate at 1305 Mississippi River Boulevard South in St. Paul. There will be straw bale seating for about 1,000 people but you can bring a blanket or a lawn chair. It can get pretty cold so dress warm. There will also be an audience reception each night after the pageant until 10 p.m. with free hot food and drink by Sister’s Camelot and live music by the Brass Messengers. Shows begin at 7 p.m. Fridays through Sundays, from Saturday, October 23 through Sunday, October 31.

-Sheila Regan, City Pages

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