Tracing Fault Lines by Mad Munchkin Productions

Tracing Fault Lines by Mad Munchkin Productions

For Tracing Fault Lines, Mad Munchkins Productions' (MMP) show opening this weekend at In the Heart of the Beast, the performance and puppetry company takes on conflict -- whether it be natural, man-made, or interpersonal -- in a show that explores how humans are affected by the world, and how we affect the world around us. 

Tracing Fault Lines by Mad Munchkin Productions
Photo courtesy Mad Munckins Productions 

The piece is written in three parts, including 18 sections and a conclusion, progressing from natural disasters such as tornadoes and hurricanes, to man-made disasters like oils spills and war, to person-to-person conflicts where one person seeks to hurt another person.

For the natural disasters, the group looks at how things like a hurricane can pull a community together. With man-made disasters, blame is a factor. In person-to-person conflicts, the company looks at situations where there's no question of blame, instead focusing on finding ways where people can make a different choice "and reach out instead to spread the spark of life to make a difference," says MMP artist director Laura Wilhelm.

MMP utilizes various techniques in their explorations, including shadow puppets, bunraku, black-light puppetry, and masks. In one section that explores disease, the puppetry is very abstract. In another section, the nine actors become a hurricane. "It's really interesting and exciting work to represent a thing in a way that audiences can digest," Wilhelm says.

Tracing Fault Lines by Mad Munchkin Productions
Photo courtesy Mad Munckins Productions 

It's intentional that there's no text in the show. "We wanted it to be really accessible, so that anybody could come and see it regardless of language," Wilhelm says. In lieu of words, the company relies on its visual elements, such as puppetry, mask work, and choreography by Allison Doughty, as well as sound and music by Richard Sloss and Warren Park. 

Part of the impetus for the piece is to take all the stories that we are bombarded with every day on the news, and approach them in a way that's more relatable. "We wanted to make a forum to talk about this stuff in a different way," Wilhelm says. Mad Munchkin's storytelling through puppetry and movement "is intrinsically human."

The production is part of In the Heart of the Beast's guest artist program, and was funded by the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council. 


Tracing Fault Lines
Show runs Friday, May 23 through May 31
In the Heart of the Beast
1500 E. Lake St., Minneapolis
See Brownpapertickets for ticket information. 
Use Current Location

Related Location

In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre

1500 E. Lake St.
Minneapolis, MN 55407


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