Telluride Academy’s Mudd Butts: “The Reasons For The Seasons"
The 31st annual production of the Telluride Academy’s collaborative theater adventure known as the Mudd Butts Mystery Theatre Troupe takes place Thursday, August 3 – Saturday, August 5, 6 p.m., at Telluride’s Palm Theatre. As always, the final show on Saturday is followed by an auction featuring Mike Stasiuk’s fabulous creations (masks, props, etc.). This year the production is based on the myth of Persephone. Tickets are $12 for adults; $5 for kids; free for children under 5. Available only at the door. Again, the show is a Telluride Academy production. For further information go here or call 970-728-5311.
Joan Crawford is not a candidate.
But Demeter could be a Mother of the Year.
Her major desire was to keep her little Persephone close to go tripping and skipping through fertile fields together. So, when Persephone was abducted, she reacted like any other self-respecting helicopter mom would – who also happened to be a goddess.
Demeter’s revenge was swift and cold.
And, at least according the Greeks, that major hissy fit explains “The Reasons for the Seasons” – also the title of the Telluride Academy’s upcoming Mudd Butts Mystery Drama Camp production.
The backstory: Myth of Persephone:
Persephone was the goddess queen of the underworld, wife of the god Hades. She was also the go-to for spring growth, worshipped alongside her mother in the Eleusian Mysteries. Her agriculture-based cult promised its initiates passage to a blessed afterlife.
How did the girl reach such lofty heights– and deep depths?
Once upon a time when little Persephone was playing in a flowery meadow with her Nymph companions, she was seized by a horny Hades and carried off to the underworld to be his bride.
Demeter despaired at her daughter’s disappearance and searched for her the throughout the world, her friend Hecate by her side.
When Demeter learned that Zeus – you know him: Gal Gadot’s dad, Mr. Thunderbolt himself – had conspired in her daughter’s abduction, she was furious and refused to let the earth fruit until Persephone was returned.
Zeus consented, but because Persephone had tasted of the food of Hades – a handful of pomegranate seeds – she was forced to forever spend a part of the year with her husband down below.
Persephone’s annual return to the earth in spring was marked by the flowering of the meadows and the sudden growth of the new grain.
On the other hand, her return to the underworld in winter marked the death of plants and crops and the arrival of a deep freeze.
Demeter had her revenge.
A good thing for Telluride, which got its snow.
Three cheers for Zeus’ perfidy.
Why do – rather, redo, the Persephone myth? (Mudd Butts had mounted another version of the story in 2002 when it just sweet 16.)
“We are revisiting the myth of Persephone because its a great and very old story. It’s a coming-of-age tale that explains the origin of the seasons. There is a sly environmental angle to the plot too….implies that we humans are responsible for the Earth. We think that’s a good message for these times,” explained Mudd Butts co-founder and director Sally Davis.
According to Sally, in one scene the gods toast the “the guardians of the Planet”: organic farmers, environmentalists, sea shepherds, bee keepers, musicians, scientists and makers of green energy.
“Our young actors range in age from 10-13 and are really excited about Greek Mythology. We’ve also thrown in a few celebs, some animals and Zelda Baldini the Italian psychic.”
Once again, Mudd Butts features guest artists: Clay Frohman, Bart Hopkin, Kelsey Trottier and Ashley Boling.
“As always, the remarkable Michael Stasiuk and his assistant this year Eva Miller plus others are creating a fabulous collection of paper mache props. They will once again be auctioned off after our final show on Saturday,” Sally adds.
Cast list,”Reasons for the Seasons”:
Artistic Directors- Kim Epifano & Sally Davis
Prop Master – Michael Stasiuk
Stage Manager: Kelsey Trottier
About Mudd Butts:
The Telluride Academy’s Mudd Butts Mystery Theater Troupe is an intensive drama workshop founded by co-directors Sally Davis and Kim Epifano. The month-long intensive covers all aspects of theater including games, script- and song-writing, street theatre, improv, dance, prop-making, and marketing – sometimes even stilt walking.
But the program’s off piste claims are what matter in the long run.
For years, performance artists/storytellers and educators Sally, Kim and their closest collaborator sculptor propmeister extraordinaire Mike Stasiuk have been harmonizing with the chorus of educators, who make strong arguments for the halo effect of theatre education and activities: enhanced creativity, problem-solving, focus and perseverance, non-verbal communication, ability to receive and metabolize constructive feedback, ability to work well with others, and an understanding that actions have consequences.
Learning those and other invaluable life skills is a leitmotif of the Mudd Butts experience.
Mudd Butts it should be noted provides a unique opportunity to work with special people from diverse backgrounds of different ages (10 to 50-something for the directors, staff, etc.), who share a common goal.
The camp, for years also international, is a chance for the kids to meet their inner artist and make friends.
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