Postcard from Minneapolis

Team Leader Brian O'Neal shares discoveries from Minnesota

Briefly introduce yourself and your team. 
I'm Brian O'Neal, a satellite member of SHC living and working in Minneapolis.
Working on EARTH with me so far have been: Amber Bjork, Joy Dolo, Katie Kaufmann, Kelsey McMahon, Larissa Shea, Heather Stone, and Mark Benzel. The Team has been a bit different each time we meet.  

How did your team approach the topic of overpopulation?
The scene we've created has focused on scarcity of resources as a result of overpopulation - specifically a very Minnesotan concern, did we  make enough food for the birthday party? As the world gets more crowded, will we have enough time to really see each other? 

What other themes or topics are you wrestling with?
The other reasons why people do or don't decide to have children, How the climate in Minnesota influences our day to day life, What is uniquely Minnesotan (what is our "terroir") 

How did your environment or location influence your work?
We've had an unusually harsh winter, which is saying something given the average winter in Minnesota can be brutal. This has made for a pervasive feeling of isolation and remoteness. It also has created a kind of nesting effect - or a sense that 'we have each other' first and foremost. That feeling was a seed for the dance piece in our scene. 

Share some of the discoveries you've made along the way. Has anything surprised you in the process?
It's easier at the beginning of the process to imagine the final product than it is at the midpoint. We're still figuring out where the scene will ultimately go. We've been working with an odd model of rotating performers and collaborators, so each workshop has had a very different feel so far. The unique personnel for each workshop has made the piece bear the fingerprints of many people at once, without shutting out anyone's input.