Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage at the Harry de Jur Playhouse

Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage, a musical play, will open at The Abrons Arts Center�s Harry de Jur Playhouse on 5 Apr 2009, following previews from 31 Mar and run through to 18 Apr 2009.

Presented by San Francisco�s Shotgun Players and New York's Banana Bag & Bodice, Beowulf is written by Jason Craig with music by 2009 Larson Award Winner Dave Malloy and directed by Rod Hipskind.

"Beowulf: Flawed heroes, sympathetic monsters and haughty professors collide as this hefty poem is rescued from the grasp of 1,000 years of highbrow analysis and transformed into a defiantly raucous musical.

Some would say the old world character of Beowulf is a rugged warrior fighting for survival. Others would argue that he is fighting for the destruction of society. Is the great story a structurally pagan tale with Christian overtones or a Christian tale inspired by the book of Genesis? With so many contrary ideas, the only reasonable plan is to create a new version of Beowulf, one where each narrator battles to tell the story from their own perspective."

Shotgun Players and Banana Bag & Bodice have adapted Beowulf's narrative to make a new play that is part homage and part parody. The show combines Weillian cabaret, 40's jazz harmony, indie rock, electroinica and Romantic lieder.

Shotgun Players and Banana Bag & Bodice say "Beowulf is the oldest poem in Old English, written in the 8th century and was passed down from generation to generation by bards who told the story in a mead hall setting. Students have been forced to study the text in classrooms for over a century, potentially robbing it of passion and beauty for the poor students. Our version: Beowulf � a thousand years of baggage is an attempt to inject raw passion back into the poem and save it from the hands of academia."

Directed by Rod Hipskind and choreographed by Anna Ishida & Shaye Troha, Beowulf features Jason Craig, Jessica Jelliffe, Chris Kuckenbaker, Anna Ishida, Shaye Troha and Beth Wilmurt.

The band, led by composer 2009 Larson Award Winner Dave Malloy on Piano/Accordion, includes Benjamin Geller on Viola, Mario Maggio on Bass Clarinet/Clarinet, Jen Baker & Andy Strain on Trombones, Andre Nigoghossian on Guitar/Saw, Ezra Gale on Bass and Daniel Bruno on Percussion.

The creative team features set design by Banana Bag & Bodice, original costume design by Kaibrina Sky Buck, with additional costumes by SF Buffoons, lighting design by Miranda Hardy and sound design by Brendan West.

For tickets and further information click here

Originally published on

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