Pre-Fringe Profile: Dream Time Down Under

SHOW TITLE: Dream Time Down Under
PRODUCER: Roger J. Kuhns
HAILING FROM: Pennsylvania
SHOW DESCRIPTION: One man show, comedic/dramatic performance monologue about a journey through Australia, working as a geologist, sitting in Aboriginal dream circles. An adventure of realization.
WHAT CAUGHT MY INTEREST: Hey — as an Australian citizen, I presume that something like this is required viewing.

Just who do you think you are, anyway?
Okay. I travel, I write, and do geology and ecology, and music. Over the years I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked in over 65 countries, and lived in Africa for 8 years. Then off to Russia, China, India, countries in South America, and a year in the UK, and a stint in Australia, and so on. I’ve always been into exploring, and my geology and writing has really been a great vehicle for that. Story telling is my thing, and that led to writing full length monologues. The first time I saw Spalding Gray I realized – that’s what I want to do. It is important to me that we become better stewards of our planet. As a geologist I’ve studied resource scarcity and climate change, and have seen the effects of our activities on people and habitats. Through my monologues I can convey what I’ve seen and perhaps shed some insights into how it affects all of us, and what we might do. But I love studying cultures, behaviors, beliefs and mysteries. In learning about these things from first hand interactions through my travels I’ve grown to understand the profound differences in people, and the profound similarities in them around the world.

So what’s the big idea?
In my travels I met amazing people and experienced some very off the beaten path adventures. People like the Dali Lama, former South African President Nelson Mandela, economist Jeffrey Sachs, diamond discoverer Hugo Dummett, and the like. I am a manic note taker, and therefore fill journals with observations, art, lyrics, quotes for folks I meet, and lots of other writings. I’ve written five monologues, and they explore the interaction between cultures, international impacts, natural resources and ecology and geology, and business. Each monologue looks into some human condition or belief, even chaos theory and the occasional appropriate original song. My concept for the Fringe Festival is an hour long monologue called “Dream Time Down Under” about my travels through Australia, a bit of time with a couple Aboriginals and a dream circle, mining and resources, and the ecology and human impacts on the Australian environment. It is a comedic-dramatic story about situations and beliefs and distances.

How did you come up with a screwy idea like that?
I wanted to tell another story – a true story that I had experienced and that conveyed events that had a big impact on me. I went to my journals and reread what I had written over the years during my many long travels in Australia. I also recently lost my mentor, a dear friend who taught me much about geology and cultures. He was from Australia, but really a Renaissance man – a citizen of the globe. He is in this monologue, and his insights add to what I experienced. I wanted to tell a story on many levels, and it all comes together at the end with realizations of personal change and survival.

Why should I care?
My show looks at not only people and the human condition, but the intricate interaction between people, nature, big business, families, natural resources and ecology, and belief systems. It is a journey in which you will discover something of yourself by joining me on this exploration. It’s fun, it’s heartfelt, and it’s all real. This is an entirely true story – but it is not a travelogue – it is an original written and performed theatre piece. You’ll pick up some history and a different angle of reality as well. There are unexpected events, huge crocodiles, and perspectives of the timeless nature of the Australian outback. Many people have told me that my monologues transport them into places they never thought they’d go or feel or see.

Justify your show’s existence in haiku form.
Dry land under heat
Timeless Earth edge curvature
I dream these gold stones

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Pre-Fringe Profile: The Twelfth Musa

SHOW TITLE: The Twelfth Musa
PRODUCER: Elisa Korenne
HAILING FROM: Minnesota
SHOW DESCRIPTION: A one woman story and song concert about oddballs in American history with a few Greek gods thrown into the mix.
WHAT CAUGHT MY INTEREST: You had me at “Greek gods.” You had me more when you started tossing them into American history. The contrast of the exotic and the familiar is compelling stuff for me.

Just who do you think you are, anyway?
I’m a singer-songwriter and writer, who just happened to decide to write a one-woman show. Here’s a bio that will tell you more about me:

A former international development professional and consultant, Elisa Korentayer is a singer-songwriter, writer, composer, recording artist, and performer. Elisa’s performing experience spans pop-rock and funk-rock bands, an Israeli blues band, a cappella singing groups, theater, and, most recently, the pop-rock-folk troubadour tradition. Elisa’s writing experience includes songs about Minnesotan oddballs, international technology policy analysis for the World Economic Forum, a regular column for her local newspaper The New York Mills Herald and a one-woman play.

After receiving her BA in History from Yale University, with a specialty in cultural overlap, Elisa took a break from her childhood passion for the performing arts while she earned a master’s degree in international development from the London School of Economics, co-founded the groundbreaking international technology nonprofit Geekcorps, and created an innovative policy consulting firm. Reconnecting with her first love­, music­, Elisa took the stagename Elisa Korenne and dedicated herself to writing, recording, and performing.

After cutting her teeth in the high-caliber New York City music scene, the preeminent independent music retailer CD Baby hailed Elisa as “one of the best we’ve ever heard” and Singer & Musician magazine said she “belongs on anyone’s must-play list.” Elisa’s debut album, Favorite, was selected as one of the Top 50 Indie Releases of 2005 by Singer & Musician magazine. Elisa’s music has been heard on ABC’s All My Children, HBO’s The Best Sex, VH1’s Sweet 16, MTV’s Made and college radio stations across the U.S.

Elisa’s music, lyrics, prose, and playwriting have been honored by grants from the Jerome Foundation, the Ucross Foundation, the Hedgebrook Foundation, the New York Mills Cultural Center, the Minnesota Sesquicentennial Commission, Lakes Regional Arts Center, the McKnight Foundation and the Writer’s Colony at Dairy Hollow. Elisa has performed internationally and won accolades from national song contests. She is always writing new songs and stories for the Ordinarily Unsung Project (OUP), her collection of original songs about members of the fringe in American history. Songs from the OUP have already been incorporated into a one-woman theatrical show, a song and story concert on Minnesotans in history, and an interactive educational workshop. After moving to rural Minnesota, Elisa began to write a regular column on her urban-to-rural transition for the New York Mills Herald.

Elisa continues to write songs and prose from her drafty Southern-style plantation house surrounded by oaks on six acres in the middle of nowhere, Minnesota. She travels to Fargo and Minneapolis regularly to shop.

So what’s the big idea?

It all started when I wrote two songs about oddballs in American history—a Montana madam who committed suicide and a sideshow performer who eats lightbulbs. People liked the songs, and I liked to write them, so I started writing more songs about more oddballs, including Dr. Bronner (of Dr. Bronner’s Soap Company), Princess Spotted Elk, a native American vaudeville dancer, and others. Soon enough, I realized that I wanted to put them all together in a one-woman show, and The Tenth Muse was born. I created an overarching concept about the tenth daughter of Zeus who wanted to become a Muse like her nine sisters. In the process she has to inspire a human (me) to create art (songs about oddballs).

How did you come up with a screwy idea like that?

The concept for the songs came about because I was so fascinated with these odd and wonderful characters who actually lived and existed, but weren’t talked about. I have no idea where the concept for the Wannabe Muse came from.

Why should I care?

The show will be full of songs and humor and stories that you never knew you wanted to hear. The audience will also get to sing along. And who doesn’t want to sing along? (Okay, maybe you don’t, but hopefully I’ll make you want to!)

Justify your show’s existence in haiku form.

A Wannabe Muse
Inspires Oddball Art in Song.
Come and sing along!