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December 10, 2021 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm


Weird Nightmares is the dramatic presentation of four Hans Christian Andersen stories (The Deep Bell, Most Incredible Thing, The Red Shoes, and Little Match Girl) and the lyrics to Charles Mingus’ song Weird Nightmares told by the Perpich Acting Ensemble who play multiple roles and provide narration. It is characterized by the use of simple visual scenery arranged to suggest various settings, props, and costume pieces in different ways in more than one story.

Back in the 1960s, a man named Paul Sills worked with a group of actors and used the improvisational theatre techniques created and documented by his mother, Viola Spolin (Improvisation for the Theatre) to dramatize several of Grimm’s Fairy Tales and Aesop’s Fables. Mr. Sills documented their work and scripted it into a play called, simply, Story Theatre.

This play, which had a Broadway run in 1970-1971, is a great example of a creative and entertaining genre of theatre. Here’s how the Perpich Ensemble is adapting Hans Christian Anderson stories as Story Theatre:

  • Viewpoints work to build improv skills, improvised characters, discovering and developing relationships onstage, and improvised scene and group work. The class focuses on getting participants out of their heads and into the body, active listening, and exploring each moment and movement onstage.
  • Viewpoints is a philosophy translated into a technique for (1) training performers; (2) building ensemble; and (3) creating movement for the stage.
  • Viewpoints is a set of names given to certain principles of movement through time and space; these names constitute a language for talking about what happens onstage.
  • Viewpoints are points of awareness that a performer or creator makes use of while working.

This form of theater usually requires high-energy, exaggerated performances. The entire Perpich Acting Ensemble often remains onstage throughout the performance, playing roles, singing songs, moving set pieces, making sound effects, and reacting to the events of the dramatized stories as they happen.

Because of the many characters in this Hans Christian Anderson collection, these stories can accommodate large casts of actors or small casts who play multiple roles. Perpich Acting Ensemble uses these Story Theatre conventions as a way to transform the texts that they read into dramatizations.

COVID-19 Conditions:



Perpich is supporting PRISM with a Holiday Toy Drive! Please bring new, unwrapped toys between now and December 14th. The collection barrel is set up in the lower lobby area, outside the Tony Basta Gallery. PRISM currently needs gifts for boys of all ages, especially TEENS! Shop off their registry or consider a monetary donation for PRISM staff to shop for participating families. ***Designate Children’s Programs***



December 10, 2021
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
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Perpich Center for Arts Education
6125 Olson Memorial Highway
Golden Valley, MN 55422 United States
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