"It's just a real treat, because I'm so used to doing black box theater where it's like, 'oh, this actor plays violin great.'<0x2009>"
Craig's script, meanwhile, ended up brilliantly channeling his reluctance and skepticism toward the epic poem itself, turning his own discovery and questioning of the text into a set of theatrical subjects and productive dichotomies: a panel of seemingly empty academic experts two of whom, including Jelliffe, double as Beowulf's monster adversaries and the titular hero, played by Craig, as an unlikely he-man gone slightly to seed, in addition to a showdown with monsters who are also a mother and son, and the sly morphing of Beowulf's medieval warrior mythos with its 21st-century rock-god counterpart. The latter concept was already honed in BBB's 2007 show, The Fall and Rise of the Rising Fallen, which birthed a mock-legendary band with a life beyond the play. The results have shown BBB playing at the top of their game.
"It's working with Shotgun that's ramped up everything," confirms Jelliffe. "Not that we have to match that every time, but it has upped the ante, definitely. Usually we make whatever we can with whatever we can. With The Sewers, we made this incredible $20,000 set with no money because of the resources we are able to draw from in New York.
"We still do that, and will continue to do that," she continues. "But with Shotgun, I mean, having a budget?" It's a modest one to be sure, but for now, without a doubt, as Craig says, "It's cool."
BEOWULF: A THOUSAND YEARS OF BAGGAGE
Thurs/8, 8 p.m., $30
2025 Addison, Berk.