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WARNING! This episode contains content which may upset some listeners, please be advised.

If you mention the Donner Party to most Americans, you’ll probably be met with a wrinkled nose, uncomfortable fidgeting or a look of vague revulsion.  This week on The Main Course, Alexes McLaughlin and Phillip Gilmour welcome playwright Adam Scott Mazer and actor Joe Peterson to the studio talking about this crazy page in history as well as their production, “The Tower: The Psychedelic Tragedy of the Donner Party.” The Tower is best described as a psychedelic journey into the history and mythology of the Donner Party, a group of snowbound pioneers who notoriously resorted to cannibalism to survive the brutal winter of 1846. Historical narrative collides with hallucinatory imagery to create a shifting landscape filled with the whispers of the past and the roar of the future. A vision of adolescent America: frostbitten, bloodstained, ravenous.  Hungry for more? Tune in!


“Survival cannibalism is surprisingly common, especially at sea.” [15:30]

“John Smith from Pocahontas was definitely eating people all the time.” [16:45]

–Adam Scott Mazer on The Main Course