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The Telluride Academy’s Mudd Butts Mystery Theater Troupe is an intensive drama workshop that covers all aspects of theater from script and songwriting to marketing. During the month-long program, kids also learn invaluable life lessons: how to laugh at themselves and ways to navigate the minefield of group dynamics.
Our big fear: Mudd Butts goes away. Right now, however, not so much, because this weekend, August 14 – August 16, the 23rd annual Mudd Butts ensemble performs its next musical. The production is based on the book, “Fears of Your Life,” by Michael Bernard Loggins.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt lied when, during his first inaugural address, he told Americans the “only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” But Roosevelt was so pre-9/11, before America lost its innocence. Now we are all trapped in an Edward Munch painting populated by terrorists, threats of mesothelioma and erectile dysfunction hanging in the air.
Fear was absolutely necessary to survival in mankind’s past – think cavemen and saber-toothed tiger – but like the appendix, it evolved. Fear today relates to two different but intertwined aspects of our personality: the desire to avoid harm from perceived threats, and a lack of self confidence that leads us to think of the world as a hostile place. The alphabet soup of phobias runs from ablutophobia, fear of washing, bathing or cleaning, to zoophobia, fear of animals.
Michael Bernard Loggins chronicles more than 180 of his fears great and small in his charming book, published by Manic D. Press and featured on NPR’s “This American Life.” Some of Loggins’ fears are idiosyncratic, such as “fear of dropping your soda as it hit the ground fiz on you,” “fear of getting hugged by someone you don’t like,” and “fear of tall giraffe.” Many, however, are universal: fire, authority, black cats, hospitals, rats, roaches, rattlesnakes, bats, bees, sharks, being in the wrong place at the wrong time, heights, hurricanes, tornadoes, quick sand, vampires and werewolves.
Mudd Butts co-founder/director Kim Epifano met Michael Bernard Loggins at his favorite hang out and salvation, Creativity Explored, a visual arts center in San Francisco where artists with developmental disabilities have been creating and selling art for over 20 years. Epifano, a professional dancer, choreographer and singer, immediately saw the potential in “Fears of Your Life,” and was granted permission to help turn Loggins’ work into a theater piece.