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Cow Calls in Dalarna

Saturday, July 23, 2016 - 2:30pm to 4:00pm

Cow Calls in Dalarna is a one-hour readers’ theater piece, which employs a cycle of original poems by Duluth playwright and poet Bart Sutter with traditional music to evoke the lost world of Sweden’s summer pasture camps. For centuries, village women in the province of Dalarna herded their cows in the forested hills above Lake Siljan, producing dairy products to carry their communities through winter. The story of this feminine culture, which only faded in the last century, is conveyed by four women who had been cowgirls in their youth. A middle-aged Swedish-American man finds the pasture camps are still alive today—insofar as they are kept up, revered, and celebrated in memory and song. The stories the women tell include their peculiar customs, work habits, folk wisdom, odd mix of superstition with religion, and—above all—their musicality. The play is musically charged with folk songs, fiddle tunes, cow calls, cow horns, and cowbells.

 The performances of Cow Calls in Dalarna will be preceded by a program of complementary music presented by Vikarbyns Lilla Spelmanslag, a young adult fiddle group from the Lake Siljan area of Sweden. Vikarbyns perform in folk dress, under the guidance of their teacher, Margaretha Mattsson.   

Bart Sutter is a three-time winner of the Minnesota Book Award and has had three previous verse plays produced. Sutter’s research on the summer pasture camps earned the support of the Jerome Foundation in the form of a Travel & Study Grant. This summer, Red Dragonfly Press will publish the cycle of poems from which Cow Calls in Dalarna was developed. Considering Sutter’s work, the late Icelandic-American writer Bill Holm remarked, “Barton Sutter is so thoroughly a Minnesota Scandinavian that he becomes something larger, a type of American artist and culture maker, an emblem of us at our best.”



Members: $15          Non-members: $20           Youth ages 6-18: $5 

Friday, July 22  |  6:30pm - 8:00pm  |  Click here to purchase tickets for July 22 performance.
Saturday, July 23    |  2:30pm - 4:00pm  |   Click here to purchase tickets for July 23 performance.

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