Banana Bag & Bodice Take Their Beowulf SongPlay to Europe

Former San Francisco, now NYC-based theater troupe Banana Bag & Bodice have made Olde English Newe again, with a very modern interpretation of the epic poem Beowulf as a staged “SongPlay” complete with 7-piece onstage band. Next month they bring it all back home, taking their award-winning adaptation Beowulf – A Thousand Years of Baggage across the pond to Eurpoe for performances at the Kilkenny Arts Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. It’s a big leap for a small theater company, but the show’s success has gotten ever more epic (heh.) each year since it was first performed.

With a fundraiser ongoing at Indie-Go-Go, they are well on their way. But before they get in front of Irish and Scotch audiences, they also have benefit nights planned this weekend in San Francisco (7/22) and New York City (7/23).

San Francisco Beowulf Benefit Show, July 22

Poster by R. Black

You can see the full NYC lineup online for the show at the Abrons Arts Center: HOT SCANDINAVIAN NIGHTS! A Beowulf Benefit in NYC. There will also be a one-night-only performance in Brooklyn on August, 2nd.

BEOWULF – A Thousand Years of Baggage debuted in 2008 in Berkeley for which it won best new show in the Bay Area that year. It’s an original show with no connection to that recent movie version. Turns out there have been a LOT of adaptations of Beowulf in the more than a millennium since it was written–it is well established in the public domain.

First page of Beowulf in Cotton Vitellius A. xv.

Here’s an excerpt from the show, featuring the epic battle between Beowulf and Grendel, epically:


Actor, nerd, poet, producer, writer mikl-em made his name short so you wouldn't have to. In addition to his blog you can find his writing in "Hi Fructose" magazine and witness him almost life-sized in various plays at The Dark Room Theater in SF's Mission district.

He tends to write about theater, humor, San Francisco culture and history, and stuff that's just plain weird. He thanks Scott for sharing the keys to the Laughing Squid virtual HQ and promises to uphold whatever it is that the mirthful cephalopod would prefer to be uplifted.