11:35 AM

By Director Xan S. Johnson, Ph.D.
Spiders are most often, by nature, not welcome residents in the human world. Yet, they are truly stay at home creatures that work tremendously hard to survive ... and for the brave that risk getting to know spiders, they have great beauty and courage ... I would even say they are natural leaders ... as well as highly inventive trappers and amazing visual artists. Spiders make sense in Wisconsin, because trapping is a huge business.

Family farms in Wisconsin usually grow crops, cut wood, and raise some live stock, and for sure, have at least one or two cows ... more if dairy farming is part of their focus. Most spiders live alone as widows (we won't elaborate on how mates die), but they seem very willing to be civically proactive in most any community they call home, eating those irritating flies and mosquitos. Charlotte spins, Fern and Wilbur spin (all children spin) ... spinning is organic to many people in one way or another ... we spin stories to preserve our cultures, we spin webs of intrigue in our lives because human conflict is what the human brain is most interested in resolving, spiders spin webs to survive and create visual wonder, young pigs spin to chase their tails, little girls spin to show off dresses, boys spin to hit things, like baseballs, and sisters, and spiders, on and on. Thirza Defoe, who plays Charlotte, is a nationally recognized hoop dancer who spins in marvelously creative ways.

I have challenged Ernie Brusubardis, our sound designer, to also create two cultures, one grounded in the Native American pentatonic flute, and one grounded in the rural musical traditions of the Midwest.


(image: Charlotte's costume rendering drawn by Rachel Healy, USAA)

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