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Minnesota’s festival of performing arts
August 1–11, 2013 / Minneapolis

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In Watermelon Sugar

Something different /

By Tripod Productions

Created by Mike Ricci and the cast

Richard Brautigan's classic 60's novel of a fantastical, utopian land questions how life came to be the way it is, or was, or will be and how a world can be built of watermelon sugar. With music by Batteryboy.

Sci-fi/Mystery/Horror, Literary adaptation

World premiere, First-time Minnesota Fringe Festival producer

The creators say this show is appropriate for ages 12 and up.

Friday, 8/2 10:00 p.m.
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Sunday, 8/4 5:30 p.m.
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Tuesday, 8/6 7:00 p.m.
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Friday, 8/9 8:30 p.m.
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Sunday, 8/11 5:30 p.m.
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U of M Rarig Center Thrust

330 21st Ave. S, Main Floor

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Reviews

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Audience reviews

Confusing yet intriguing

By Paul Keeler / August 11, 2013
This user has reviewed 3 shows

Having not seen or heard anything about Brautigans work, I was pleasantly surprised to find such a bizarre story. I'd have to say that I don't know exactly what the message being conveyed was, but I did find a lot of the guitar and violin music to be enjoyable. I particularly enjoyed the tigers and the song they sang. I also thought inBoils character and acting style gave the story a much needed conflict to help it build some momentum.

This rumination didn't connect for me

By Mariellen Jacobson / August 8, 2013
This user has reviewed 12 shows

A staged presentation of a largely-unknown novel by Richard Brautigan. This adaptation of the piece will either inspire you to read it or put you to sleep. Unfortunately, it put me to sleep. But kudos to Tripod Productions for undertaking this significant production.

An odd, confusing little show

By Gabe Heller / August 10, 2013
This user has reviewed 27 shows

Perhaps, had I ever even heard of the book, I would have been less confused. Or perhaps had there been some, any exposition anywhere, or some literal set for more than one location, or if the actors had actually expressed recognisable feelings towards the confusing things. Or if the likely psychedelic origins of this tale had been not entirely been stripped, I might have gotten this show better. Maybe now I'll read the book, but I'm kind-of afraid that I still won't get it.

A Fringe Worthy Jaunt!!

By Cindy Mielke / August 5, 2013
This user has reviewed 1 show

Attended a second showing of this unique play and the cast was clearly more energized than on opening night! I have seen most of this talented cast in many past performances, and in this play they do not disappoint providing fluid performances in this edgy and fringe worthy adaptation. inBOIL is performed uncomfortably brilliantly, and the live music is beautifully done. I did feel that the female narrator's voice was a distraction not adequately providing needed details.
I thoroughly enjoyed the play, and will be attending another showing!! My first year attending the Fringe Festival, and love the Rarig Thrust Stage. Live theatre is the best!!!

difficult story and a student cast

By Karen Cooper / August 10, 2013
This user has reviewed 17 shows

I still have a copy of "In Watermelon Sugar." Haven't read it for years. But the story came back to me in bits and bites as these young actors made their way through the social problem of the Forgotten Works, struggled for understanding the place of iDeath in the world, and left the audience contemplating the loss of all the tigers and nearly all the books.

Best for Brautigan fans, I suppose. Plant this review.

Remembering the 'Forgotten Works'

By Jon Skaalen / August 4, 2013
This user has reviewed 1 show

After seeing Mike Ricci’s adaptation of Richard Brautigan’s 1968 novel, performed largely by North Hennepin Community College actors, made me want to revisit “Trout Fishing in America” and his other books by that somewhat quirky author who had such a following in the sixties. Live music on guitar & violin really set the rural mood, with starry lighting, rough-hewn mobile set pieces, and a narrator daughter, who reads/conjures these scenes to understand her father's death. A young author, his buddies, Forgotten Works drunks, and a tragic incident are portrayed through many scenes and props moving about, all done fluidly to create pictures of a homey, hippie, intoxicating setting in the backwoods.

2 people found this review helpful

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Background information + more

'In Watermelon Sugar', published in 1968, is the follow-up novel to Richard Brautigan's hugely successful 'Trout Fishing in America', which launched his career, and became required reading for college students of that generation.  His unique writing style and ability to create magic out of the ordinary gained him a devoted following. Considered to be somewhat of a bridge between the Beats and the Hippies, Brautigan led a complicated life, and in 1984, he took his own life.  Several years after his suicide, Brautigan's daughter, Ianthe, wrote 'You Can't  Catch Death',  a book about life with her father and her attempts to come to terms with his suicide.  Her book became the inspiration for this stage adaptation of 'In Watermelon Sugar'. 

Cast + crew bios

Miranda Shunkwiler

Daughter

Miranda Shunkwiler is a senior at Iowa State University, where she is pursuing her B.A. degree in performing arts with an emphasis in Acting and Directing. She has most recently worked on Noises Off, Alice in Wonderland, A Streetcar Named Desire, Love's Labor's Lost ,and Paradise Circus. Miranda would like to thank her family and friends for their continued support over the years.

John Naumann

Writer

John is currently pursuing his AFA degree in theatre from North Hennepin Community College, with plans to eventually get his BFA in Performance. Originally from Moorhead, John has been acting for most of his life, and has performed on the NHCC stage in Honk!, Bat Boy, The Three Musketeers, and Avenue Q. He would like to thank his family and friends who have supported him through the years.

Jenny Reierson

Pauline

Jenny is currently pursuing her AFA Degree in theatre at North Hennepin Community College, where she has performed roles in The Three Musketeers, Bat Boy, and Avenue Q. Jenny has been acting in the Minneapolis theatre scene for a number of years, having recently performed in Footloose and Oklahoma.

Carter Roeske

Fred

Carter is currently pursuing his BA in theatre from Iowa State University. A graduate of North Hennepin Community College, he has performed roles in Spelling Bee, Bat Boy, The Three Musketeers, and Avenue Q, as well as numerous roles in Twin Cities theatres. Thanks to everyone who comes out to support live theatre.

Zach Miller

Charley

Zach Miller is currently pursuing his AFA degree in Theatre at North Hennepin Community College, with plans to transfer to get his BA in theatre from Metro State. Previous shows on the NHCC stage include How I Learned to Drive, Bat Boy, Honk!, Avenue Q, and Spelling Bee, as well as roles in Beauty and the Beast and Sweeney Todd in area theaters. He hopes to someday work as a professional director.

Bryn Tanner

Al, Teacher, Gang Member

Bryn Tanner has received his AFA in Theatre from North Hennepin Community College and will be pursuing his BFA in Musical Theatre from MSU - Mankato. On the NHCC stage, Bryn has performed roles in Avenue Q, Bat Boy, How I Learned to Drive, Twelfth Night, and Honk!.

Michael Turner

Tiger #1, Gang Member

Michael Turner received his AFA in theatre from North Hennepin Community College, and will be pursuing his BFA in Acting from MSU - Mankato in the fall. On the NHCC stage, he has performed roles in Spelling Bee, Honk!, Bat Boy, Twelfth Night, and Avenue Q. Special thanks to family and friends for their continued support.

Steve Modena

Tiger #2, Gang Member

Steve Modena has received his AFA degree in theatre from North Hennepin Community College, and will be pursuing his BA in theatre from Metro State. On the NHCC stage, he has performed roles in Honk!, The Wolf, Bat Boy, Three Three Musketeers, and Avenue Q. He has also performed in The Complete Works of William Shakespeare - Abridged. Thanks to all who have helped him through the years.

Jesse Cole

inBOIL

Jesse Cole is pursuing his AFA degree in theatre from North Hennepin Community College, where he has appeared in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Our Town, The Wolf, The Three Musketeers, Rumors, and Three Days of Rain. He plans on pursuing a professional career in theatre and would like to thank the cast of Watermelon Sugar and his mother for their support.

Danielle Ricci

Margaret, choreographer

Danielle received her BFA in Dance from UC-Irvine, and has studied at the Ailey School in NY. She has performed with members of James Sewell Ballet, the Joffrey Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and Minnesota Dance Theatre. She is the founder and Artistic Director of Borealis Dance Company, a modern dance company which originated in Austin, Texas, and has now been relocated to Minneapolis. Danielle has choreographed numerous theatre productions, including Beauty and the Beast, The Pirates of Penzance, Bat Boy, and Avenue Q. She has also performed roles in A Christmas Carol and Beauty and the Beast. She is currently pursuing her Masters Degree in Arts and Cultural Management from St. Mary's University. She invites all of you to see her company 'Borealis Dance' performing at the Fringe Festival.

Stephen Decker

Musician/Composer

Stephen is currently pursuing his AFA degree in Music from North Hennepin Community College. He has been playing violin since the fourth grade, and credits it with changing his life. He has since also picked up the guitar and mandolin as well. He is striving to develop a career making music, and hopes to one day create and perform great music professionally.

Zarah Nesser

Musician/Composer/Singer

Zarah is currently a student at both Minnetonka High school and North Hennepin Community College, where she is studying music and theatre. An accomplished violinist, she has studied at the MacPhail Center, and has played with several area orchestras. She is also a member of the NHCC Chamber and Concert Choirs. After completing her AA degree, she plans on attending a major university where she will major in music and theatre.

Elyse Evans

Stage manager

Elyse is currently pursuing her AFA degree in Theatre from North Hennepin Community College, where she has performed roles in The Maids, Arms and the Man, Helen, In Darfur, Tongue of a Bird, How I Learned to Drive and Three Days of Rain. She is planning on getting her BA in Theatre from Metro State. She would like to thank the cast for their support.

Ellie Ricci

Set/Props Design and Construction

Ellie Ricci has designed sets and props, and has done scenic art work for numerous theatres around the country. Some of the plays she has designed sets for include Frankenstein, Amadeus, Beauty and the Beast, The Pirates of Penzance, The Visit, and Phantom. She has also designed and built props and masks for dozens of shows, and has painted scenic backdrops and set pieces for Charlotte City Ballet, Louisville Ballet, Minnesota Dance Theatre, Mixed Blood Theatre and Yellow Tree Theatre.

Mike Ricci

Director/Script Adaptor

Mike Ricci is currently Director of Theatre at North Hennepin Community College. He has directed over 100 plays in nearly every kind of theatre around the country. A fan of Richard Brautigan's In Watermelon Sugar for many years, he is hoping this production will re-introduce people to a uniquely American literary voice.

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