In the back alleys of cities nationwide, Donna Sellinger and Madeline Ffitch dig through other people's trash. No, they're not hungry hobos. Donna, Madeline and the rest of theater group Missoula Obongata
are just preparing for Clamlump
, their newest play, which hits Santa Fe this Saturday.Clamlump, Missoula Oblongata's sixth touring play, is an audio-visual spectacle complete live music, puppetry and heaping piles of junk.
The group, which formed in 2005, began performing in secret underground venues—dodging the watchful eye of the fire marshall—in Missoula, Mont. Missoula's newest play chronicles the life of Clamlump, a non-human child who dreams of life as a stand-up comedian.
Unfortunately, our hero is stuck inside a stadium. He has never been outside his home and, sadly, it makes for a terrible comedy venue. So Clamlump and his two friends decide to get out of the stadium. And all kinds of absurdity ensues.
Missoula Oblongata usually performs several traveling plays in a year's time. Ffitch told SFR that she has all but perfected a method of "grinding out a great script" in time for another production.
"Donna Sellinger and I write the script in usually two to three weeks.
We start with a big list of the most impossible ideas to do on stage. Then maybe we come up with a location—a stadium—and characters. Then, [we] go our separate ways," Ffitch says. "We each write drafts, then trade with each other. The final product is a synthesis of the two."
The creation of the traveling, "modular" set for the tour is also a original creative process. Missoula Oblongata's stages are made up of trash collected from throughout the area.
"So the first week is basically junk gathering. We gather trash on the side of the road
," Ffitch says. "We do a lot of dumpster diving, collecting everything without plans on exactly how to use it."Clamlump
's set include old umbrellas, an old suitcase, crib bars outfitted with vines and a vintage shoe organizer used for puppetry. In the center of the stage sits a jewelry box, which, Ffitch says "open, and closes. People and other things come in and out of it."
This weekend, don't miss Missoula Oblongata's short, all-ages play sure to be a spectacle of lights, puppetry and, of course, junkClamlump8 pmSaturday, Jan. 29$5-$10Little Wing851 St. Michael's Dr.699-5470