Dominique Serrand, Steve Epp (left)and Nathan Keepers are throwing a party this weekend. The founders of the Moving Company say the idea is to have some fun, but also get a little serious about what they are doing.
“To just talk about the work, and the future,” said Serrand. “We call it ‘Footprint.’ And to talk about the past and how we will manage the work in the future.”
The trio rose from the rubble of Theater de la Jeune Lune, the much celebrated company which collapsed in 2008 under the weight of accumulated debt as the economy tanked. Now Serrand says they are working on creating a three part model for a national company.
“It’s a partnership with universities in terms of creating the work,” he said of the first part. So far they have developed pieces at UC Davis, and more recently at the U of M, where “The War Within” was developed as a student production. Projects at UNC and the University of Iowa are now in the works.
“It’s great because we get commissioned, so it is not a burden on the company,” Serrand said.”Not only are we developing the work when we get there, but we are teaching. And we are scouting the landscape and see new and young artists with whom we want to work in the future. So it’s all benefit.”
The second element in the Moving Company Grand Plan is to then develop the work for professional theater.
“The next part, which I guess is the most difficult, is once tjhe work has been researched through this collaboration is to bring the work up on its feet here in Minneapolis, which requires investment,” says Serrand.
That happened with “The War Within” which received a professional production a few months after its run at the U of M.
Finally the Moving Company wants to place their shows in other parts of the country.
“The last part, which is to get picked up, takes time,” says Serrand. He says companies are planning a year and a half in advance.
At the gathering this weekend they hope to spread the word to supporters. Serrand is working on a video, and they are even hoping to raise a little money.
It’s not an easy time to be doing this. This week Penumbra Theater announced it laid off staff and cancelled all its shows for the season.
“I have been there so I know how it goes,” said Serrand. “When I looked at the article in the paper I went ‘Oh no! Not again!”
However he says he thinks Penumbra is very smart to hold on.
He says there are always doubts when you try something.
“You never know if it will succeed. But to quote the big man last night,” he said referring to the convention speech by President Obama,” I would say, these kinds of efforts that we are doing, that we are making on our own, give us all hope. And so we need to pursue what we are doing and hopefully things will get better.”