Thursday, June 28, 2007

summer solstice pageant at Grand Marais

The introduction of the main characters atop a rolling scaffold.

Going to the cabin with the dog. The dog was a big hit.

The dance of the fire and the wind.

After the rain, the sun helps get new growth started.

The little sprouts among the dead trees.

Most of the Old Wadena folks will remember that three years ago the Old Wadena Society produced a summer solstice pageant modeled on the one in Grand Marais. This year Sally and I went to Grand Marais again to see the 2007 version of the solstice pageant. It was wonderful.

The story was based on the Ham Lake fire in the BWCA. It was a very fun production, with many of the main characters introduced at the top of a rolling scaffolding and introduced by a narrator who gave the basics of the story to come. Then came a fellow driving with his dog to his northwoods cabin, news over the radio of the fire, the evacuation and comfort provided by the comfort goddess, a dance between the fire god and the wind god, then the flames grow with the arrival of the fire dragon, next the rain goddess and the local firefighters heroically end the fire danger, and finally the sun god appears, all leading to a parade of little green sprouts played by small children among bigger kids on stilts looking like burnt trees. There was almost no dialogue; the puppets, mostly a creation directed by the artist Betsy Bowen, and their dancing, told the story. The music, both instrumental and vocal, helped in that way too. Very cool, and conveying an important lesson about the regeneration of life in an effective way.