August 9 — The Pickup Truck Opera brings an old adaptation of an old story to Rochester.
It’s gonna be epic.
Twin Cities-based show company Mixed Precipitation features pickup truck operas and tours with a show every summer. This year, the ensemble is performing based on Homer’s Greek epic poem “The Odyssey,” using old-school Americana music and a mix of theatrical traditions.
“We are borrowing from multiple traditions,” said Scotty Reynolds, artistic director of Mixed Precipitation.
Since 2005, Mixed Precipitation has concocted a classic or well-known piece to be produced on the road. Most of the shows take place in rural areas, small towns or on farms.
A full performance and a series of preview shows in Rochester deviate a bit from this strategy. The group comes to Rochester after an invitation from the Rochester Art Center to perform outside of Mayo Park.
“We wanted to take the show to community spaces where people are,” Reynolds said.
Registration for the show is mandatory, with a suggested donation of $ 25. Profits will go to Mixed Precipitation.
The company will have one-act preview performances Thursday and Friday at various locations around Rochester.
The show borrows techniques from Japanese cycling shows, as well as techniques used in “medicine shows,” a 19th-century American tradition in which performers peddled “miracle cures” while dazzling audiences.
Fantastic monsters and many other characters come to life with the help of puppets. While epic in scope, the cast of eight rarely ventures far from the back of a pickup truck “scene”. An old-fashioned folk arrangement provides the music.
Reynolds adapted the work to the performance. Although it dates from 1200 BCE, he has stated that certain themes are universally understood.
“He’s just trying to get home,” Reynolds said.
“The Odyssey” has been adapted in various ways over the centuries. The pairing with the ancient traditions of American folk music was made in 2000 in the film “O Brother, Where Art Thou !?”
“I remember loving the soundtrack,” Reynolds said of the film. “I thought to myself that I would like to borrow what works best someday.”
When he sat down to adapt “The Odyssey” ideas came quickly.
“It has become unnecessary homework,” Reynolds said.
Part of the fun was creating the fantastic creatures that appear in “The Odyssey” with puppets.
“The Cyclops will definitely look like a Cyclops,” Reynolds said.
If you are going to
Noon, Central Park, 225 First Ave. NW
3:30 p.m., Goose Egg Park, 199 Ninth St. NW
4:30 p.m. Silver Lake East Three Links Park and Playground
Noon, Central Park
2:00 p.m. Olmsted County Recreation Area at 125 Live
2 p.m. Saturday, Mayo Park
Cost: $ 25 suggested donation.