StoryWorks | North by Inferno
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North by Inferno

Written by Jon Bernson

North Dakota


Directed by Jennifer Welch

“North by Inferno,” written by Jon Bernson and directed by Jennifer Welch, examines the controversial events surrounding the deadliest accident in North Dakota’s Bakken oil fields in the last decade. In a series of intimate and brutal snapshots, this StoryWorks play confronts corporate accountability in the oil industry and gives voice to the conflicting loyalties of workers who have flocked to the Bakken from around the country. It is inspired by Reveal reporter Jennifer Gollan’s investigative series that ran on revealnews.org, in Politico magazine, on PBS NewsHour and on public radio stations around the country and by interviews conducted by the playwright with the workers and families. “North by Inferno” premiered at The Edge New Works Festival in Grand Forks, North Dakota, and traveled to communities across the state.

 

ABOUT THE ORIGINAL INVESTIGATION

The Center for Investigative Reporting publishes its award-winning reporting through its national public radio show, podcast, and website, Reveal. In June of this year, Reveal produced “In North Dakota’s oil boom, there will be blood,” a deep-dive investigation that examined how major oil companies avoid accountability for workers’ deaths.

 


Download the full program.

CAST

Mike Twinn………………………………………………………….Michael Carlisi

Brendan Wegner………………………………………………………Jeff Graham

Guitar Player……………………………………………………………Jeff Graham

Jebadiah “Jesse” Stanfill………………………………………………..John Terrell

Bartender…………………………………………………………Christian Phillips

Ray Hardy……………………………………………………………….John Terrell

Company Official…………………………………………………Christian Phillips

Kevin Wegner…………………………………………………….Christian Phillips

PRODUCTION TEAM

Director……………………………………………………………..Jennifer Welch

Playwright……………………………………………………………..Jon Bernson

Assistant Director…………………………………………………..Alicia Griffiths

Scenic Design………………………………………………………..Alicia Griffiths

Sound Design………………………………………………………….Jon Bernson

Poster/Program Design………………………………………………..Liz Pavlovic

Community Engagement……………………………………………….Cole Goins

Editorial Support……………………………………….Fernando Diaz, Robert J. Rosenthal

Reporting……………………………………………………………Jennifer Gollan

Development……………………………………………………..Elizabeth Share, Annie Chabel

Journalist

JENNIFER GOLLAN is a reporter for Reveal, covering worker safety, mistreatment and corporate malfeasance. Her work has appeared in various media outlets, including The New York Times, Guardian US, Politico Magazine and the PBS NewsHour. Gollan’s 2015 investigation, “In North Dakota’s oil boom, there will be blood,” which revealed how major oil companies avoid accountability for workers’ deaths, prompted the federal government to step up enforcement and scrutinize speed bonuses in the Bakken oil fields. She has won many awards for her coverage of corruption, fraud and waste in state and federal government. Most recently, she and Reveal reporter Matt Smith won a first-place award from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers for exposing the financial mistreatment of Indian technology workers recruited to the U.S. Gollan has worked for The Center for Investigative Reporting, which runs Reveal, since 2012. Before that, she worked at The Bay Citizen, where she exposed California’s lax oversight of vocational schools. The series prompted Gov. Jerry Brown to sign a new state law. Gollan was a government watchdog reporter at the South Florida Sun Sentinel from 2006 to 2010.

Playwright

JON BERNSON (Playwright & Sound Design) is an interdisciplinary playwright, musician and multimedia artist from San Francisco. In 2013, he wrote the play, “A Guide to the Aftermath,” for the inaugural StoryWorks, which highlighted the struggles of homeless female veterans living on Skid Row in Los Angeles. Another recent play called “PDX to SFO” was written as a site-specific, interactive overnight Amtrak journey for 20 passengers and four actors. As a 2015 artist-in-residence at the de Young museum in San Francisco, he wrote “Distant Future Symposium,” a play about a series of transmissions that were sent back in time from a future spacecraft called Vessel XII. Bernson is a resident playwright at the Playwrights Foundation Resident Playwright Initiative, a four-year residency that “provides resources for the pursuit of creative theater projects, increases the visibility of Bay Area writers and fosters artistic community.” As a musician, he has released more than 20 albums under multiple names, including Exray’s, whose music was featured in David Fincher’s Academy-Award winning film, “The Social Network.” He has toured the U.S. numerous times and scored more than a dozen plays and films, including his recent soundtracks for Rajiv Joseph’s “Gruesome Playground Injuries” and Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot.” “Beautification Machine,” his multimedia collaboration with Andy Diaz Hope, opened at the Catharine Clark Gallery, was presented by Miami Project 2014 and then acquired by the Nevada Museum of Art. Bernson is a columnist at Decoder Magazine, a company member at Tides Theatre and the founder of Sunset Media Wave, where he has taught writing, music and multimedia art for 15 years.

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