Tracker Pixel for Entry

​“The Oil Project” taps into “Bakken Boom!” exhibition

by Jack Dura | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Theatre | August 5th, 2015

Local artists are now joining the oil rush in western North Dakota. In a way.

Theatre B is collaborating with the Plains Art Museum to present “The Oil Project,” an original performance piece drawing inspiration from the lives and landscape of North Dakota’s Bakken region. This event is coordinated with “Bakken Boom!,” the museum’s six-month exhibition of artworks reacting to North Dakota’s oil rush.

Drilling in

Four shows in two days will highlight the various viewpoints of North Dakota’s modern gold rush, from the center out rather than the outside in, said Brad Delzer, Theatre B’s programs coordinator.

“We really try to be nondiscriminatory in our research—the good, the bad and the ugly. Finding all of the angles, and from that … start putting it up, seeing what comes out.”

As an original work, the company conducted its own research on North Dakota’s oil rush. The area was already familiar to some of those involved in the project, such as Delzer, who hails from central-western North Dakota.

“I can walk up the hill outside my parents’ farm, and see flares at night.”

With their own connections and the research they generated, “The Oil Project” members laced together a piece to tie all the people together – from the lifelong Williston resident to the roughneck newcomer.

“We found out what was important, what common thread was shared, how we wanted to shape the piece as a company and put that together,” Delzer said.

Staged on the Plains Art Museum’s third floor, “The Oil Project” is not the typical theatrical setting.

Interspersed throughout the space and allowing the audience to move around “semi-freely,” this performance art is a little different, but also unique to the space.

“(The audience) can choose to follow a performer or choose to stay in one space and see what they see,” Delzer said. “The audience gets to, in a way, curate their own experience.”

Ending the ‘Boom’

While “Bakken Boom!” wraps up Aug. 15, “The Oil Project” brings a “wonderful finale” to an exhibition that saw “overwhelmingly positive” reactions,” said Amy Richardson, communications director at the museum.

“It’s going to add that whole angle of performance,” she added. “Our exhibition … has video, you get to hear from these different people … so now we’re going to have performance art be a part of it.”

“Visitors will have a unique, immersive experience in ‘The Oil Project,’” curator Becky Dunham said in a press release.

Comment cards for visitors to write their reactions on have been available throughout the run of “Bakken Boom!” Many visitors have written about their appreciation for the show, while many others have voiced their opinions about the oil industry.

“Oil = Wealth, Oil = Death,” one card read.

“An oil truck almost hit me,” read another.

Seeing the show

“The Oil Project,” free and open to the public, is expected to run under an hour in length, and visitors can stay as long as they wish.

Due to fire code restrictions, a cap of 75-100 people will limit the audience, but four performances are available.

Though the setting may be unusual, the original work and the platform to connect to an unavoidable theme in North Dakota is what Theatre B and the Plains Art Museum hope draws people in, where people can “be engaged and not afraid,” said Delzer.


“The Oil Project”

Aug. 13 and 14, noon and 7 p.m. 

Plains Art Museum’s third floor

Free 701-729-8880; space is limited 

Recently in:

FARGO – Water sizzles against scorched stones piled in a shallow pit center of Fargo’s only Indigenous sweat lodge. Faces gleam briefly before the glow fades, and the Native songs begin. Packed side by side, Anishinaabe, Spirit…

One of the most annoying things on the web is advertising that interrupts what you are doing. I’m talking about the pop-up ads, the videos that start playing as soon as your browser opens the page. You get the idea.Well, it seems…

Thursday, February 22, 7pmFront Street Taproom, 614 Main Ave, Fargo The jazz musician and independent songwriter, making music for 20 years and performing for 10. Interesting, arranges in a dynamic and unorthodox fashion. On tour,…


Go ask ALICE

by Sabrina Hornung

I was 14 in 1999 when Columbine happened. I remember feeling the shock, horror, and overall sickness that comes with a national tragedy of that caliber.According to a February 15, 2018 article in The Washington Post by John Woodrow…

When will we learn to share wealth?Last week I wrote about how many predictions made by Aldous Huxley in his 1932 book "Brave New World" were beginning to come true in 2018.When I read the toll to travel on Interstate 66 in…

Although the temperatures were sub zero last Sunday, the crowd and competitors were certainly on fire at the Holiday Inn in Fargo for the 5th Annual Bartenders Battle.This event has become a highlight of the year for the service…

By Melissa Martin, Ph.D. Emotional eating refers to a range of behaviors in which individuals eat for reasons other than physiological hunger; and eating is an attempt to self-soothe emotions.…


​New Direction Fest 7

by Jack Stenerson

The New Direction had no shows booked in January 2012 so one of our co-founders, Charley Wang, decided to put together the First New Direction Fest out of complete necessity. He reached out to 18 local bands to play our little…

Hungarian filmmaker Ildiko Enyedi, whose 1989 debut "My Twentieth Century" won the Camera d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, achieved another career highlight recently with an Oscar nomination for her most recent feature. "On Body…

In my tenure at the High Plains Reader, I have devoted a lot of column inches to promoting the local music scene of the Red River Valley. However, I would be doing an injustice if I didn’t also bring your attention to another…

By Nathan Roybardsdream@gmail.comYou are absolutely right. The title is not “To be or not to be” from the famous Shakespeare soliloquy in "Hamlet." I won’t be talking about Shakespeare particularly. I will expound the…

Fargo has its share of people who are passionate about stand-up comedy, even if the success of clubs devoted to it has been mixed. Despite the fact we have seen places like Courtney’s Comedy Club and Level 2 Comedy Club close…

“What are some of your favorite bottles of whiskey?” is a question I get asked quite frequently and is often harder to answer than one might think. One of the great rewards of my profession is getting to sample some of the…

Essential oils. They are all the buzz lately. It seems everyone has heard of them or is purchasing them. Some people know how to use them; others are just interested in the wonder of their complex scents.Essential oils are as…

Live and Learn

​The other shoe

by HPR Contributor

By Elizabeth Nawrotnawrot@mnstate.eduI look up from my hotel lobby breakfast astonished to see a framed print of Wassily Kandinsky's "Mit und Gegen,” a masterpiece of color and composition that just happens to be my favorite…

By Gary Radical: Derived from the Latin radix, which literally means the root or base. In political terms it means penetrating beyond conventional explanations and getting at the root cause of a problem.In…