New York, NY — The Sundance Institute Theatre Program today announced that it will return to the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) for its Fall Lab, which provides creative support and direction for innovative musical theatre and ensemble-generated projects. Also announced today were the three projects that have been selected to participate.
Under the supervision of Philip Himberg, Artistic Director of the Theatre Program, and Producing Director Christopher Hibma, the two-week Lab (November 25 – December 9) marks the Theatre Program’s second collaboration with MASS MoCA, the largest center for contemporary visual and performing arts in the United States. Joining the Lab as Dramaturgs are Janice Paran (Senior Program Associate, Labs), Jill Rachel Morris and Thomas Keith. Creative Advisors are Jeanine Tesori and Lynn Nottage.
Keri Putnam, Executive Director of Sundance Institute, said, “In response to the unique needs of musical theatre and ensemble-generated projects, this Lab will provide more time and spaces for collaboration and rehearsal. Set at MASS MoCA, our artists will have a unique location in which to explore, refine and build their stories as they make their way to the stage.“
Himberg said, “This particular constellation of artists boldly represents the leading edge of devised and musical work. MASS MoCA has generously offered its facilities to us, and we knew from our previous experience that participants would find similar creativity here. We look forward to working with our artists to bring their stories and visions to life in this inspired setting of the Berkshire Mountains.”
The projects selected for the Lab are:
Adler & Gibb
Conceived and directed by Tim Crouch
Tim Crouch’s Adler & Gibb is the story of the attempted appropriation of another person’s life and work. A young film actress, eager to portray a famous now-deceased artist, tries to research and reconstruct the woman’s story. But the artist herself has achieved fame by creating a purposeful temporal body of work meant never to be remembered or reclaimed. The impulses behind Adler & Gibb stem from Tim Crouch’s interest in our responsibility as artists to reality (and, in this instance, real people).
Tim is a UK theatre artist based in Brighton. He writes plays, performs in them and takes responsibility for their production. Tim works with a number of associates and collaborators to produce his writing. There isn’t a company structure; things and people are brought together as they are needed. Tim is a UK theatre artist based in Dublin. He writes plays, performs in them and takes responsibility for their production. Tim works with a number of associates and collaborators to produce his writing. There isn’t a company structure; things and people are brought together when they are needed.
Songs & lyrics by Todd Almond
Text by Jenny Schwartz
Directed by Ken Rus Schmoll
Iowa is a collaboration between playwright Jenny Schwartz and song writer Todd Almond. The story revolves around a 14 year old girl named Becca whose mother Sandy has reunited over Facebook with her high school prom date Roger. Iowa’s style is heightened, absurdist, fantastical, existential and surreal. Nancy Drew is a character in the play, as is a singing pony.
Almond and Schwartz are the recipients of the 2012 Frederick Loewe Award for Musical Theatre for the development of Iowa. This summer they workshopped the play at Williamstown Theatre Festival.
Mabou Mines’ Glass Guignol
Directed by Lee Breuer
Tennessee Williams is one of America’s greatest playwrights yet nearly half of his work has been either poorly received or rarely produced. When Williams changed his style of work, he was deeply resented by the critical establishment at the time. Glass Guignol, conceived by acclaimed New York ensemble Mabou Mines, is an alternative Williams conceit, style, attitude and staging to virtually every production that has gone before. In Glass Guignol, Williams’ relationship with his sister Rose is explored through a variety of his texts, as if their secrets were hidden in a series of Chinese boxes. Utilizing the frame of The Two Character Play, Glass Guignol replaces the play within the play with a selection of Williams quotes from other works – plays, short stories and poems that elucidate and dramatize the brother sister relationship – the most important, agonizing and creatively stimulating of his life.
The work features award winners Maude Mitchell, (Mabou Mines’ DollHouse: Village Voice OBIE, Backstage West Garland Award, an Elliot Norton Best Actress Award and a Drama League nomination), Greg Mehrten (OBIE -Mabou Mines’ Lear), Eamonn Farrell and Jessica Weinstein (both of Mabou Mines’ DollHouse).
The Sundance Institute Theatre Program is made possible by generous support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Time Warner Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, The Shubert Foundation, Cindy Harrell Horn and Alan Horn, LUMA Foundation, Karen and William Lauder, and The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust.
Sundance Institute Theatre Program
The Theatre Program has been a core component of Sundance Institute since Robert Redford founded the Institute in 1984. The Theatre Program identifies and assists emerging theatre artists, contributes to the creative growth of established artists, and encourages and supports the development of new work for the stage. Under the guidance of Producing Artistic Director Philip Himberg, the Theatre Program is the leading play development program in the United States. Titles such as Spring Awakening, An Iliad, I Am My Own Wife, The Good Negro, Circle Mirror Transformation, Passing Strange, Grey Gardens, Crowns and Marie Antoinette have gone from Theatre Program Labs to production from coast to coast and internationally, garnering multiple Pulitzers, Tonys, Obies and other recognition. The Theatre Program’s East Africa initiative is the only professional program of its type on the continent, offering Labs, cross-cultural exchange, mentorship and exposure to artists in six African countries. www.sundance.org/theatre
Founded by Robert Redford in 1981, Sundance Institute is a global, nonprofit cultural organization dedicated to nurturing artistic expression in film and theater, and to supporting intercultural dialogue between artists and audiences. The Institute promotes independent storytelling to unite, inform and inspire, regardless of geo-political, social, religious or cultural differences. Internationally recognized for its annual Sundance Film Festival and its artistic development programs for directors, screenwriters, producers, film composers, playwrights and theatre artists, Sundance Institute has nurtured such projects as Born into Brothels, Trouble the Water, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Amreeka, An Inconvenient Truth, Spring Awakening, Light in the Piazza and Angels in America. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
MASS MoCA, the largest center for contemporary visual and performing arts in the United States, is located off Marshall Street in North Adams on a 13-acre campus of renovated 19th-century factory buildings. MASS MoCA is an independent 501(c)(3) whose operations and programming are funded through admissions and commercial lease revenue, corporate and foundation grants, and individual philanthropy. Except for an initial construction grant from the Commonwealth, and competitive program and operations grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Cultural Council, MASS MoCA is privately funded: 90% of annual operating revenues are from earned revenues, membership support, and private gifts and grants. www.massmoca.org