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  • TNW Ensemble Theater

Sketchy Ideas

Sketchy Ideas
Sketchy Ideas

Sketchy Ideas began as a series of illustrated letters Wisconsin-based visual artist Randall Berndt started experimenting with more than four years ago.

As Berndt’s drawings are projected, four actors, Anthony Novich Leonard, Liz Light, Andrew Lonsdale, and Patrick Mahoney, share Berndt’s droll perspectives on everything from “the secret life of plants” to “extravagant thinking in a time of plague.” Sketchy Ideas is produced by TNW Ensemble Theater under the direction of Danielle Dresden and Donna Peckett, with staging by Peckett. Violinist Paran Amirinazari underscores and enhances the words and images, making this a thoroughly mixed media event.

These upcoming performances are actually the second time TNW has presented this mix of theater, music, and visual art. The first round of Sketchy Ideas, the multi-disciplinary production, took place at the company’s Studio Theater on Winnebago Street and were so successful the company decided to take the work to a larger venue, namely the Overture Center's Wisconsin Studio, in February, 2023.

Berndt’s Sketchy Ideas series operates in the tradition of artist’s letters that flourished in the 19 th and early 20 th centuries. Berndt sent his own missives across the country in this century. The production came about because Donna Peckett, co-founder and co-producing artistic director with Danielle Dresden, of TNW Ensemble Theater, are among the nearby recipients of Berndt’s work. After enjoying Berndt’s mailings for years, one day Peckett decided, “More people need to see these,” and the show began to take shape.

A studio artist, Berndt is a former curator of the James Watrous Gallery in the Overture Center and worked as an art conservator in the Wisconsin State Capitol restoration project. He has designed sets for several TNW Ensemble Theater’s productions. TNW Ensemble Theater founded in 1985 by Danielle Dresden and Donna Peckett, creates, produces, and performs new, multi-disciplinary works for theater. The company has performed across the United States, as well as in Canada, Mexico, and Scotland.

Sketchy Ideas is made possible by support from Pleasant Rowland’s Great Performance Fund for Theater at Overture, the Madison Community Foundation, the Wisconsin Arts Board, with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts; the Neil Allen Peckett Memorial Fund, and RoseDot.


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