Nature Walking Play Header

"Nature"--an Outdoor Walking Play

The legacy of Ralph Waldo Emerson is brought to life through one of his direct descendants and the natural world of the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Special "Nature" souvenirs for sale at each event.

September 12-October 12, 2014 (full performance schedule below)

$25 general admission/$20 Arboretum members/$15 students/children 12 and under free

Arboretum admission included in ticket price. Guests are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance to expedite their entry into the Arboretum, but tickets may also be purchased on site.

More info: www.tigerlion.org/nature

Dancing SceneTigerLion Arts and the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum present Nature, the mythic telling of Emerson and Thoreau's mutual love affair with the natural world. Nature is performed outdoors as a "walking play." A professional ensemble of actors takes the audience on a journey through the natural environment as scenes unfold around them. Bagpipes, ancient flutes, drums and rich choral arrangements are intricately woven into the script with compositions by Dick Hensold (2006 Bush Artist Fellow).

Nature is an extraordinary, family-friendly experience that co-mingles story, spirit, and nature, as a means to reconnect its audience with the natural world. A version of this show was presented at the arboretum in 2010.

This original work is collaboratively created with Twin Cities writer/actor/producer Tyson Forbes, a direct descendent of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Forbes says, "I have always felt honored to be an Emerson descendent. I feel an intimate responsibility to his lineage, and for years I have imagined a play that could bring his spirit and teachings, along with that of his friend and fellow author Henry David Thoreau, to a broader audience. When I read their work, I find answers to burning questions on how to live my life more deeply and responsibly in this world. They were both radicals of their time, calling on their peers to think for themselves and be agents of change. I believe their words and ideas are as necessary now as they were then."

The cast of ten actors includes John Catron as Thoreau (named Best Actor 2014 by City Pages and seen locally at the Guthrie Theater, Jungle Theater, Frank Theater and many others); Kimberly Richardson (Ten Thousand Things, Open Eye Figure Theater, Children's Theatre Company); Norah Long (Guthrie Theater, Skylark Opera, Chanhassen Dinner Theater, Nautilus Music-Theater). Tyson Forbes (Guthrie Theater, Ordway, Jungle Theater and multiple TigerLion Arts productions) also appears in the show as Emerson. Full cast list and bios are available at http://tigerlion.org/nature/cast.php.

Musicians"We are delighted to welcome back TigerLion Arts and present a wonderful new staging of the Nature walking play," said Dr. Ed Schneider, Arboretum director.  "There's something magical about enjoying live theater in the great outdoors."  

The play will take place in the Arboretum's Johanna Frerichs Garden for Wildlife, a rolling, open grassy expanse traversed by paved walkways and landscaped with interesting native trees and demonstration plantings.  It is located on the Arboretum's Three-Mile Drive.

Audiences are encouraged to come early to visit the arboretum grounds. Grab-and-go meals will be available at the café in the Oswald Visitors Center, so guests can picnic on the grounds and enjoy pre-show music before the performance begins.

More about TigerLion Arts

TigerLion Arts, founded and led by director Markell Kiefer and Tyson Forbes, is a Minneapolis-based production company with a mission to celebrate human wisdom and the spirit of nature through creative works that awaken, inform, and delight. Since 2009, TigerLion Arts has touched thousands nationwide with four original productions: The Buddha Prince (2009), a walking play about the life of the Dalai Lama, which was performed in New York City's Central Park; Nature (2010), the outdoor telling of Emerson and Thoreau's mutual love affair with the natural world; KIPO! (2011), a circus of spirit, song and dance from Tibet, which was the official arts component of the Dalai Lama's 2011 Minnesota visit, and The Dragons are Singing Tonight (2012), a musical based on the book of children's poetry by Jack Prelutsky, created in collaboration with Circus Juventas and Minnesota Boychoir.

Reserve online

Or call (612) 301-7600 to order tickets by phone.

Performances

Friday, Sept 12 at 5:00 p.m.

Saturday, Sept 13 at 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Sunday, Sept 14 at 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Thursday, Sept 18 at 5:00 p.m.

Friday, Sept 19 at 5:00 p.m.

Saturday, Sept 20 at 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Sunday, Sept 21 at 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Thursday, Sept 25 at 5:00 p.m.

Friday, Sept 26 at 5:00 p.m.

Saturday, Sept 27 at 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Sunday, Sept 28 at 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Thursday, Oct 2 at 5:00 p.m.

Friday, Oct 3 at 5:00 p.m.

Saturday, Oct 4 at 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Sunday, Oct 5 at 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Thursday, Oct 9 at 5:00 p.m.

Friday, Oct 10 at 5:00 p.m.

Saturday, Oct 11 at 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Sunday, Oct 12 at 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

 


Reviews to date:

The program for “Nature: a walking play” doesn’t credit anyone, but whoever designed these acres of trees, ravines, flowers, meadows and ponds deserves a salute. What better scenery could exist for a play about two men who drew inspiration from the beauty of the Earth? Audiences travel the literal distance between sloping meadow, tree-sheltered cabin frame and fen (standing in for Walden Pond). They also travel a figurative distance, as Emerson and Thoreau bond on a hillside in their bromance over nature and then fall out over differing philosophies on progress and society."
—Graydon Royce, Star Tribune

"The eleven-person cast and community chorus lead us through the experience, dressed in authentic looking period clothing (costumes by Christine A. Richardson). Waldo and Henry are perfectly personified by Tyson Forbes (who also created and co-wrote the piece) as the tall, elegant, well-dressed minister and lecturer, and John Catron as the bearded and unruly-haired nature-lover who eschews the trappings of modern society."
—cherryandspoon.com
 

""TigerLion Arts’ production of Nature, directed by Markell Kiefer, may be less of a play in the conventional sense and more of an explication of the ideas of Ralph Waldo Emerson (playwright Tyson Forbes) and Henry David Thoreau (John Catron) through movement, dialogue, and music, but it is still very much worth your while. Emerson and Thoreau both believed that the divine manifested itself most strongly and clearly in the natural world, and, after spending a few hours tromping to and fro in the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum’s Garden for Wildlife, even the most indoorsy of audience members will likely be inclined to agree with them."
—Emily Anderson, Bad-Entertainment.net

""The show owes much of its energy to its performance outdoors, and director Markell Kiefer does an admirable job creating performance spaces that are clearly demarcated from but wholly integrated into some rather majestic landscapes. Some of the moments are strikingly beautiful, and there always will be something to venerate in hearing, as we do here, delicate music sung by strong voices echoing off a hill of tall prairie grass. Composer Dick Hensold has done a terrific job with a score inspired by the music of New England in the 19th century."
—Matthew Foster, MinnesotaPlaylist.com

""Aside from providing an opportunity to appreciate the natural world, Nature stages a more profound debate about political engagement. While Emerson (Tyson Forbes) advocates bringing change to the world through public discourse, Thoreau (John Catron) becomes a hermit, preferring to minimize his environmental footprint as much as possible. Much of the script is drawn directly from original texts by Emerson and Thoreau, and Forbes and Catron do an excellent job bringing the eloquent prose to life while imbuing it with their characters’ distinct personalities."
Sophie Kerman, aislesaytwinciteis.com

Nature is an extraordinary, family-friendly experience that co-mingles story, spirit, and nature, as a means to reconnect its audience with the natural world. A version of this show was presented at the Arboretum in 2010 and received much acclaim," This original work is collaboratively created with Twin Cities writer/actor/producer Tyson Forbes, a direct descendant of Ralph Waldo Emerson. The cast of 10 actors includes John Catron as Thoreau and Forbes as Emerson, as well as Kimberly Richardson and Norah Long. Chanhassen Villager

The eleven-person cast and community chorus lead us through the experience, dressed in authentic looking period clothing (costumes by Christine A. Richardson). Waldo and Henry are perfectly personified by Tyson Forbes (who also created and co-wrote the piece) as the tall, elegant, well-dressed minister and lecturer, and John Catron as the bearded and unruly-haired nature-lover who eschews the trappings of modern society. They're like yin and yang, two different expressions of the same idea. Norah Long beautifully embodies Nature herself, golden flowers in her shining curls, a glowing expression on her face as she lovingly looks upon her boys, her pure clear voice singing the songs of nature ringing out across the prairie. The rest of the ensemble portrays all of the other characters as well as inanimate objects in a very physical style of theater. Perhaps the most charming moment is when the audience watches Waldo and Henry far across a grassy hill as they exaggeratedly pantomime their actions and words while the ensemble provides their voices and sound effects.

It may be a bit of a hike to get to the west side of town, but it's well worth the trip. Pick one of these beautiful Minnesota fall days, bring your family, and spend the day at the Arboretum. Walk the grounds, take a deep breath, visit the exhibits and gift shop, have a bite to eat at the cafe, and let these wonderful actors lead you on an experience with nature. And then continue that experience on your own, either at the Arboretum, or in the mountains of New Zealand, or in your own backyard. For the song of nature is everywhere if we take the time and listen hard enough. Jill Schafer, Broadway World.com

 

Audience Response:

"This production was absolutely magical! My husband said EVERYONE needs to see this! I loved the message it sent, and the way nature played along with the script at times-- left me in awe! The music, singing, and acting was way beyond my expectations. … It is a special memory that will be etched into my heart and mind for years to come. Thanks to everyone who made this production possible! I have been to an outdoor play before, but nothing quite like this! Although the producers were focused on our connection with nature, I can see how this play would inspire people to realize their role in being a catalyst for change-- and doing it in a way that helps, not harms."
—Lori Pouttu