Managing Director and resident sound designer Cheryl Cluff interviews her husband Todd Riesen about his failed parachute on his first sky dive, which has nothing and everything to do with JUMP

As Managing Director Cheryl Cluff and Artistic Director Jerry Rapier were sweeping and mopping the theatre on Wednesday afternoon, Cheryl casually asked, “Have I ever told you about Todd’s failed parachute?” [Long pause.]  Todd is Cheryl’s husband, the answer was no, Jerry asked her to talk to Todd about sharing it on our blog and the story is below. It has nothing and everything to do with the world premiere of Austin Archer’s JUMP, premiering April 5-15 in a co-pro with Flying Bobcat Theatrical Laboratory. Cheryl: How old were you when you had this experience? Todd: I was in my 20s. Cheryl: Was this after or before I met you? Todd: I think it was right before we met. Cheryl: So it was 1987-ish. Todd: Probably. Cheryl: Was this your first sky diving experience? Todd: Yes. Cheryl: Was this your ONLY sky diving experience? Todd: No. Cheryl: Oh, you went again after that? Todd: Yeah a couple times. I think three times, or four. This was my first time. I went by myself. it was a spur of the moment decision. Cheryl: You suddenly decided to do it. Did you tell anyone you were going to do it? Todd: No. Cheryl: So you did the training and everything, and it was not a tandem jump, it was a solo jump, right? Todd: Yes. Cheryl: How did you feel when you were sitting the airplane getting ready to jump? Todd: Very nervous. I was sitting right on the floor right next to the door of the airplane. The door swung up – Cheryl: It rolled up? Todd: It didn’t roll...

Our upcoming co-productions with Sackerson (THE WEIRD PLAY) and Flying Bobcat (JUMP)

Last December, as I was finalizing our 2017/18 season, I started thinking about the unique needs and opportunities of Jenifer Nii’s THE WEIRD PLAY and Austin Archer’s JUMP. And then I started thinking about the exciting work I was seeing from Sackerson and Flying Bobcat Theatrical Laboratory. And then I started thinking how rewarding it has been for us over the years to co-produce work with KUER, Art Access and NOVA Chamber Music Series. And then I started thinking about how rewarding these co-productions have been because they were focused on artistry and audience development rather than sharing production costs. And then I talked to Dave/Alex/Morag of Sackerson and Scott/Andra of Flying Bobcat: “The productions are funded. What we want is your points-of-view. How would you like to come play with us?” And two co-productions were born. [Well, you might even say three, since Sackerson and Flying Bobcat have since co-produced Morag Shepherd’s HOW LONG CAN YOU STAND ON THE TRAIN TRACKS: A GAME FOR TWO SISTERS, which was read in Plan-B’s Lab early in 2017]. Jenifer Nii’s THE WEIRD PLAY (March 1-11) asks: Whom do you love? What do you love? And why? The play lives in the space between romance and devotion and is funded in part by a national grant that we can’t make public until early in the new year but we can tell you only ten plays nationwide have been so honored. Austin Archer’s JUMP  (April 5-15) asks: How will you die? Will you see it coming? What if you’re given a second chance? The play explores the impact of survival on those we love and is funded in...

Austin Archer on creating our third subscription offering: JUMP

Austin Archer’s play JUMP is the current recipient of the Plan-B Theatre grant from The David Ross Fetzer Foundation for Emerging Artists and is the third subscription offering of our 2017/18 Season (our 27th! – click here for tickets and subscription info – performances April 5-15). Most recently, Austin contributed “Swipe Right” and “Swipe Left” to Plan-B’s (IN)DIVISIBLE and directed IN THE HEIGHTS for Good Company Theatre. His play THICK METAL BALL was produced at Weber State University. As an actor, he has appeared onstage at GCT, Utah Rep, SLAC and PTC.  How will you die? Will you see it coming? What if you’re given a second chance? JUMP explores the impact of survival on those we love. A co-production with Flying Bobcat Theatrical Laboratory. I’ve been writing songs for over a decade (music catalog here). It started slowly when I was in high school. I’d finish a song every few months or so, and I was never pleased with the result. I wanted to be a great songwriter like Bob Dylan or Elliot Smith. I believed that if I kept it up I’d eventually get better at it. And while that was true, I thought I’d get better after ten or twenty songs. In reality, I don’t think I started to get decent until I’d written maybe 100. By then I was in college and finishing a new song about every other week. I’d adjusted my methods, I’d grown as a guitarist and lyricist, but I still wasn’t where I wanted to be. As time passed my obsession grew deeper. I’d write song after song, most of them only lasting in my...

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