The Burning House Group creates engaging modern theatre
which stimulates fresh thinking and new perspectives.
A chief goal of the Burning House Group (BHG) has been to
bring to the public a way to identify the relevance of their
worldview in a shared artistic experience. Bringing a strong
physicality (based in Asian, East European, and American studies)
to classic traditions of theatre, we have found a form that
both excites and clarifies our creative passions and exhilarates
audiences by combining familiarity with challenge. We find
the strength to bond as a community by harnessing the human
energy in live theatre. It is BHG’s ambition to use this
style to tell stories that examine the human experience.
In the Fall of 1994 at Spacespace, BHG’s first production, Or,
What You Will (Twelfth Night), under the direction of
Guthrie actor Christopher Bayes, enjoyed success artistically,
critically and financially. With an ensemble of six actors
playing fourteen roles, BHG took Shakespeare’s comedic
tale and turned it on its head, using abstract choreography
and rich aural landscapes.
With its second production, The Fireball Set (Fall
1995 at Margolis Brown’s Movement Theatre Center), BHG
explored new ground by creating two original one-acts and producing
Heiner Mueller’s Hamletmachine, all on one evening’s
bill. It was with The Fireball Set that BHG not only
expanded as creative artists, but also began to actively seek
out its community. Both original creations, A Tale of Red (a
look at social violence through the fairy tale Little Red Riding
Hood) and Uncertain Barriers (a movement-based work
that probed the world of the developmentally challenged), were
created through improvisation and had an emphasis on bold physical
imagery. Using excerpts from extensive interviews on the subject
of these social issues, we created our soundscape for Uncertain
Barriers. In addition to the public showing, the show
was also presented to special needs groups at the Sabathani
Community Center and the EPIC program.
Gulf War, by Joyce Carol Oates (Fall 1996 at The
Pillsbury House Theatre), was the regional premeire of this
poetic text about social tensions within the American suburban
landscape. Set against the backdrop of the initial Gulf War,
this show melded tight choreography into a ‘stylized
In 1997, the company produced the existential farce Knock
Knock by Jules Feiffer. It broke the company’s
attendance records and was cited as one of the top five shows
of the year in Minneapolis’ City Pages.
The second show of 1997 was an original company created adaptation
of the Brother’s Grimm fairytale The Bremen Town
Musicians. This story, for young and old children alike,
was told through physical characterizations and live narration.
For many of the younger audience members, it was their first
theatrical experience, and even the infants were mesmerized
by the universality of the physical expression.
Since 1999 BHG has been concentrating on the creation of all
new physical theatre works. Whirligig: Life and Perspective
101 used live music, voice, video and raw physical choreography
to explore the nature of physics, parallel dimensions, and
time itself. Drawing inspiration from the mind of Stephen Hawking,
chaos theory and the influence of religion and language on
basic thought, Whirligig created audio/visual images that drew
the viewer into a perceptual world of physics.
Say What You Mean (2001 Fringe Festival entry) tackled
the rhetoric and posturing throughout American political history;
a collage of text, movement and music that wove together the
politico-speak and repetitive gesturing that we’ve all
come to recognize as part of the governmental landscape.
With its 2002 Fringe Festival entry, Ooops! You’re
President, BHG continued its original endeavors, but
returns to a more traditional plot driven format with a zany
story of incredulous circumstances.
For information regarding current productions,
our movement workshops, or just to talk, please contact us
by mail, phone, or e-mail:
The Burning House Group
1304 University Ave. NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413