Killer Party

Killer Party Poster

Sandbox is throwing a Killer Party in support of our new November original production, Killer Inside. Herschel and the Detainees and Valley Meadows will be rested and ready to rock Hell’s Kitchen. We’ll have Sandbox merchandise, CDs, tees, raffles and a few surprises. All killer – no filler, and all in the name of making new, ensemble-created theatre in Minneapolis. There’s no cover, and it’s all ages. 21+ to drink.

When: Monday, September 15 | 7-10p
Where: Hell’s Kitchen – Mpls | 80 S 9th St

Herschel & The Detainees 2 - Igor Mikhailovich Kovalchuk

Photo by Igor Mikhailovich Kovalchuk

Herschel and the Detainees

 “Herschel is possibly the next big one-named musical talent to come from the Twin Cities.” – StarTribune

“No one can really even peg what Herschel sounds like—not even him. And that’s a thing of beauty in today’s world of synthesized voices and computer-generated beats. It’s also why he can book such clubs as the Dakota Jazz Club and fill it, drawing a wide-ranging audience that includes everyone from 20-something college students to seniors who dig his soulful, bluesy vibe.” – Minnesota Monthly

“When Herschel and the Detainees take the stage in a venue, the whole pulse of the room intensifies. Over time you’ll soon discover that without protest, your heartbeat drifts in tune with the Funkadelic sounds of this ska-Caribbean-hip hop blend of new age music.” – Insight News

“If you like Prince, you’ll like Herschel. If you like Maxwell, you’ll like Herschel. If you like unapologetic R&B with a big dollop of pop charisma, you’ll absolutely love Herschel.” – Twin Cities NewsCastic

Valley Meadows
Valley Meadows

 Valley Meadows in Vita.MN

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Derek: On Cryptids, Kung Fu and La Bete du Gevaudan

la bete statue

It’s a common question for Sandbox: “How did you come up with that idea?” Usually it’s as simple as one of us getting turned on by something and getting passionate about it. Enthusiasm is often contagious, as it was with Derek Lee Miller and La Bête du Gevaudan.

I first heard of the Beast of Gevaudan from the French movie Le Pacte des Loups, which I saw in college when it came to that one tiny theater in Decatur, IL that would play foreign and indie films. It was not exactly the existential drama that I had been led to believe all French films were. In reality, it was a bloated action movie with a confusing plot and for some reason, a Native American man that somehow knew Kung Fu. Oh, and the wolf was actually a hyena wearing armor made of leather, spikes and chains, which looked cool on screen, but was actually a really dumb idea now that I think about it.
Many years (and many confusing action films) later, I was writing an album’s worth of songs about cryptids (animals rumored to exist, but not proven). I didn’t want to write six songs about Bigfoot and Nessie, so I did some research, and, holy crap the internet has seriously empowered all kinds of crazy cryptid hunters. In the flurry of chupacabras, remnant dinosaurs and mothmen, I stumbled upon the Beast of Gevaudan. As it turns out, many people over the centuries have speculated that the wolf was no ordinary wolf. Some people are still seriously suggesting that it’s a hyena, which still sounds really dumb.
From this, though, I learned the tale of Marie-Jeanne Valet, who was completely left out of the Le Pacte des Loups, despite the fact that there is a badass statue of her in France today (see photo above), and not a single statue for Francois Antoine, who is officially credited with killing the wolf. Antoine’s love and awe for Marie-Jeanne formed the basis of the song I wrote, which contained, among other things, a guitar, an accordion and some badly butchered French. I’ve been waiting for this style of music to come back around again, and I think the time has almost come.
A few years after that, Sandbox was doing its Suitcase series, and I turned the story into a 15-minute piece done with only myself and suitcase of flat puppets. In escaping the constraints of a 3-minute song, I was able to explore some of the broader political contexts around this incident in France’s history (which, to be fair, Le Pacte des Loupes attempted as well through the use of punches, flying kicks and guys who always wear leather). It was fun, but I still felt like there were some greater ideas left on the table.
So earlier this year, when Sandbox’s ball was picked in the Fringe, I had a slew of new things to add to flesh out the entire world of Gevaudan. Along with the cast and director, we’ve found all kinds of funny, sad details that make the whole weird state of affairs in 1764 France seem eerily familiar to today’s world. Somehow, what started off as a quirky story from a bad action film mutated into a great and terrible lesson on what happens when a nation goes off hunting the wrong monsters. It’s beautiful and terrible, and I’m so glad that I had help in bringing it to fuller life.
Sadly, this version still does not feature Native American kung fu, leather-clad punches in the rain or a hyena in bondage gear. Maybe next time.

Derek Lee Miller is Sandbox Theatre’s Artistic Director, and the Co-Project Lead on our Fall 2014 production, Killer Inside. Marie-Jeanne Valet, Who Defeated La Bête du Gevaudan opens Friday, August 1st, 2014. Tickets are on sale now.

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War With the Newts at Park Square in 2015

The 2015 season at St. Paul’s Park Square Theatre – Andy Boss Thrust Stage was announced earlier today, and we’re pleased to tell you that an all new, ensemble-created adaptation of War With the Newts will be our first production as a part of our partnership with Park Square.

WWTN graphic

Details from the press release:
Sandbox Theatre takes the stage first with their all new ensemble-created production War With the Newts, playing May 13-30, 2015. Sandbox brings rich, visual storytelling to this exploration of Karel Capek’s 1936 sociopolitical sci-fi tale of corruption, selfishness and absurdism. Told with Sandbox’s signature stylized design, movement and language, War With the Newts promises a sprawling, sharp-witted commentary on profit-first economies, the dangers of pride and nationalism, and a stern warning of our self-destructive nature. “The Andy Boss Stage is a brand new playground for Sandbox,” says Sandbox Artistic Director, Derek Lee Miller. “We’re looking forward to the challenge of bringing something the Park Square audience has never seen before. War With the Newts is an odd little tale with big ideas for the modern world, it’s a perfect match.”

Producing Partners Logo Banner Low Res

Sandbox’s partnership with Park Square, Theatre Pro Rata and Girl Friday Productions was announced earlier in 2014. Park Square Artistic Director Richard Cook commented on the theatres in residence season: “The programming by this trio of producers is so smart: they’ve each chosen pieces that capitalize on their strengths and pump up their passions,” said Cook. “They’ve also decided to debut on the Boss Stage with works that soar with ambition while still taking advantage of the wrap-around immediacy of the space. And each of their productions can and will stand boldly on its own – adding additional diversity to what one writer described as Park Square’s ‘thundering herd of plays.’ I can’t wait to experience and share their work as a unique series of events.”

Also as a part of the first resident season, Theatre Pro Rata will bring The Illusion, by Tony Kushner (June 10-28, 2015), and Girl Friday will produce Thornton Wilder’s The Matchmaker (July 9-26, 2015).

Ticket information:
Tickets will go on sale at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, July 31st. Tickets may be purchased in person at the Park Square Box Office at 20 West 7th Place in St. Paul, over the phone at (651) 291-7005, and online at parksquaretheatre.org. Tickets may be purchased for all three productions as a package or as single show tickets. Single tickets are $25 each with discounts available for students, seniors, groups and Fringe button holders. The package of three shows is available for $69 ($23 per show).

All of us at Sandbox are excited and honored to be working with Park Square, Pro Rata and Girl Friday, and we’re looking forward to showing our stuff next year in St. Paul.

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