Enter "Mugwumpin" when prompted "Which Incubator Project will receive your donation?"


We are a member of the Intersection Incubator, a program of Intersection for the Arts providing fiscal sponsorship, incubation and consulting services to artists. Donations made through Intersection are tax deductible.


Thank you to everyone who came to our benefit party!

And a particular thanks to our performers and volunteers:

Our ace party-planning dynamo, El Beh

Magician Christian Cagigal

Magician Luigi Anzivino

Auctioneer Jason Brock

Pianist Tal Ariel

The Matinees

DJ Anne Allison

Ray Oppenheimer

Greg Wrenn

Maryssa Wanlass

Kelli Zehnder

Cassidy Jamahl Brown

Sandra Pulley

Eve Uberman

Mugwumpin is "reinventing the very model of a theatre season"--read more!

Proclaiming joy

I might get gushy.

Rehearsal ended in the usual ways tonight: bleary eyes, a final push to run something one more time, and then my little why-does-rehearsal-fly-by-so-fast dance. It was a not-so-cold night, and I didn’t feel like waiting for BART.  I swung my leg over my bike and took the 5-mile straight shot down San Pablo towards my home on Lake Merritt.

My brain tends to be wound tight in rehearsal, and then slowly unspools after it ends.  I felt this process as a physical sensation tonight.  The Great Big Also is a big, complicated show with an absurd number of variables to track.  As the air rushed past me and I dodged potholes, I released each thread I was holding in my mind, one at a time.  Often this process leaves me with a blankness that is rather pleasant; I’ll soon be ready for bed.  But tonight, a strong feeling remained behind.  I stretched my arms out wide as I rode, letting go of the handlebars. What was this feeling? I breathed deep. Gratitude.

I am so grateful for the gift of this show.  I’ve loved (almost) every minute of making this crazy beast.  I’m even more grateful for the collaborators who have made the show with me.  Their huge hearts pound out their generosity and fearlessness, scary strong.  I’m grateful when Joe and I can’t figure out what’s supposed to happen in a particular moment, and then the same idea flies from both our mouths.  I’m grateful Mina and Megan, our asskick stage managers, furiously roll up sheets of Tyvek all around us.  I'm grateful for the daily magic and grace this work brings. I’m grateful that Teddy knows where we’re starting from before we do and already has the sound of the bell cued up.  I’m grateful for how Michael sinks into a note I’ve given, suddenly filling out a moment with life.  I’m grateful for how, even though I know that she is going to do it, I’m startled when Susannah drops into a deep chesty voice.

Mostly I’m grateful that I get to be doing this.  I get to make this intricately detailed world with people I love and respect, and then invite people into it.  It’s hard fucking work, and I’m barely able to type these words I’m so exhausted.  And I am so goddamn glad. 

Mark Eitzel sings, “It is important throughout your life to proclaim your joy.”  He’s right.



And we're off!

It's already been a long process of making The Great Big Also--three workshopping periods, a couple of public events, a research trip to the East Coast, endless thinking and doing and plotting and planning.  And now we've moved into our final rehearsal space, which is in fact CalShakes's rehearsal space--a space big enough to load in our gargantuan set.

And it's so awesome (and bound to get moreso)!  Designed by the incomparably gonzo Sean Riley--just check out these pick points!

And here's our intrepid sound designer, Teddy Hulsker, up on his designer-as-lifeguard perch.  I mean, he has to be able to see what's going on, right?

But what does it look like?  More on that to come!  For now, I'm just basking in the pleasure of being there, and in the wondrous creativity of these artists!


Science and Magic – the public and private.

No one can deny that one of the most magical aspects of performance is the publicness of it. A performer, exposed to public elements, creates a magical space and controls that space, or at the very least exposes that space for the benefit of a larger audience. Whether under hot theater lights in a dark room, or in the middle of a street full of stunned onlookers, performance necessitates a public gaze to function. This space between performer and audience is where the most interesting magic often happens.

When Mugwumpin set out to explore the intersections between science and magic this season, the question of how scientific thought and performance overlapped was in the front of all of our minds. Scientists, seemingly be nature, are a much more introverted and reclusive bunch than say, actors. The intellectual tangents and queries they pursue are often sparked by relationships with the inanimate – rather than an engagement with the public sphere. This is not to say that some scientists are not lovers of spotlights. But it does bring into question how the public sphere effects inspiration and action in science, and how the concept of magic might fit into the crevice between science and theatrical performance.

This year so far, we’ve looked at the public and private personalities of Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison, Guglielmo Marconi, and Alan Moore among others. Where their work intersected with public knowledge and opinion is interesting on a whole slew of levels. How their inventions and theories can be inspected and probed by a theatre company through public performance is a very exciting question.

Apart from the basic premise – where do Magic and Science come into parallel? Where to they cross one another? A larger question arises regarding the public and private, where creation actually comes from, and what, if anything, performance has to add this conversation. It’s a big spherical crystal of thought and motion, and we’re in for it for the long haul.

Images: Photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto is interested in creating both lightning fields inside his studio, and photographing empty screens and performance spaces.



These maps point me in no direction

At a certain point in the process of making This Is All I Need, I wandered around my apartment looking for things that I can’t explain why I own.  I had trouble doing so, until I opened up a cabinet and found a large stack of maps.  Not the useful kind of maps that people might have in their glove compartments, but maps saved from National Geographic magazines or topographical maps pulled out of Free Stuff boxes at the library or city maps of foreign cities from long-ago travels.  I’ve had most of them for years.  I can’t say definitively why.

Partly, they’re just aesthetically pleasing to me.  But I don’t take them out and look at them frequently.  Or ever.  I don’t consciously think of them as a collection.  Really, I think that they somehow represent an opportunity for me: someday, I tell myself, I will Do Something with them.  And while it’s true that I have used them on occasion (they have made great wrapping paper), the Something that I tell myself I will Do is grander than that.  Maybe I will make amazing art pieces with them someday.  But I don’t really make visual art, and I’m not much of a crafter.  Maybe I simply don’t want these lovely things to go to waste, so I hold on to them. But they're just taking up space in a cabinet, doing nothing.  Logically I should get rid or them, yet I've never been able to bring myself to do so.

I think this is a large part of Mugwumpin's fascination with our possessions: we undeniably have relationships with the inanimate objects in our life, but they are decidedly one-sided.  Anything we get back from these objects is the result of anthropomorphizing or magical thinking.  But it's still a relationship, not so very different from the relationships we have with people.  There is still a connection.  But while relationships between two people are infinitely more complex (both people, after all, are probably engaging in all sorts of magical thinking and illogic and projection), our connections with our things allow us to look at the inexplicable ways we behave in relationship with others, while isolating the source of complexity.  Our things, after all, want nothing from us. (Right?)

Naturally, I brought the maps to rehearsal to see if they would prove useful.  While they didn’t find a place in the show, this type of relationship with our stuff has fascinated us: potent, illogical, unexplainable.  And above all, personal.  Thank you to the cast, production team, and numerous friends and family members who have plunged into their mysterious relationships with their stuff to enrich this performance.


mugwumpin changes and edits

As of mid-November 2009, we're working on revamping our website, as well as planning a party. And most of the work will be done before the holiday season even begins! Wish us luck!