IN DEVELOPMENT: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF PHILIP K. DICK
Based on American writer P.K. Dick’s novel Valis, a work in pursuit of the unknowable and – through humor – the inspirational. Dick’s characters are overcoming destructive misconceptions and exploring how humans are not alone and are part of a co-dependent and complex ecosystem. Ursula K. Le Guin has written, "...What [P.K.] Dick is entertaining us about is reality and madness, time and death, sin and salvation..." We begin development of The Life and Times of P.K. Dick in the summer of 2017.
REVIVAL OF ENCIRCLING TIDES FOR OCTOBER 2018 PERFORMANCES:
Based on Charles Darwin’s journal aboard the H.M.S. Beagle, Encircling Tides evokes a surreal world of primal dreams and sounds woven from light and shadow, gesture, puppet, mask and song.
November 2017-March 2018
For a seventh year Triple Shadow’s Beth Skinner and Mari Andrejco are visiting theater artists at the Richmond Consolidated School. The program involves three theater workshops each week over twelve weeks for Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd graders, culminating in performances of three student productions open to parents, the entire school, and community.
MEMORIES OF THE OLDEST GENERATION, our homegrown video documentary series, is an ongoing project initiated in 2015 and produced in 24 towns throughout Berkshire and Hampshire counties with support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council in partnership with local cultural councils. The videos capture, visually and orally, the voices of older generations who grew up in western New England and were farmers, mill, quarry and railroad workers, etc. Videos are broadcast on CTSB: Community Television of the Southern Berkshires, with DVDs available at each town library and at local historical societies.
PRODUCTIONS IN REPERTORY
RIDERS TO THE SEA by John M. Synge
In RIDERS TO THE SEA, set in the Aran Islands, John Millington Synge refers to the annual Gaelic harvest festival Samhain, held October 31 through November 1. The festival marks the end of harvesting and the lighter half of the year while ushering in the beginning of the dark season. Triple Shadow’s adaptation sets the time of the play during Samhain, when the boundaries between the world of the living and that of the dead become thinner, allowing spirits to pass between the worlds. Solo actor Mari Andrejco plays Cathleen, re-living the fateful day her mother lost her last two sons to the sea. Cathleen leaves a window open to the west with a light burning – to guide the departed home – and sets places at the table for her six brothers, father, and grandfather, all lost at sea.
MARI ANDREJCO (actor) has toured with Triple Shadow to Pantelleria, Italy, Cairo, Egypt, and Chiapas, Mexico, and Santa Fe, New Mexico. She has appeared on stage, television and video, appearing as Queen Elizabeth I and Susan B. Anthony on PBS and working with Shakespeare and Company. Her most recent role was as Emily Dickinson in Triple Shadow’s production of THE BELLE OF AMHERST.
Accompanied by an original musical score intertwined with traditional Celtic songs performed live on mandolin, harmonium and bodhran by Edward Herbst.
Lighting design by Bessie and Drama Desk-winner Paul Clay (RENT), and scenic design by Obie Award-winner Jun Maeda.
HOLIDAY MEMORY by Dylan Thomas
A HOLIDAY MEMORY recalls a child’s day at the seaside and the excitement of the family as they prepare in the playwright’s childhood home – a house on a hill overlooking Swansea Bay in South Wales. Thomas’s memories are joyful and his words musical: “A slap of sea and a tickle of sand. A fanfare of sunshades opening.” After a long day, the tired family returns up the hill: “And as we climbed home, up the gas-lit hill, to the still house over the mumbling bay, we heard the music die and the voices drift like sand.”
SEAMUS MAYNARD (actor) has performed with Le Groupov-Belgian National Theater, Julian Crouch’s Improbable Theater at Walker Arts Center, Philadelphia Live Arts Festival, the Actor’s Ensemble, and London’s Barbican. He studied at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.
THE BELLE OF AMHERST by William Luce
A site-specific indoor/outdoor performance adaptation of William Luce's one-woman play, THE BELLE OF AMHERST, performed by Mari Andrejco as Emily Dickinson and directed by Beth Skinner.
Triple Shadow’s BELLE OF AMHERST begins outside in Dickinson’s garden. As day turns to night Emily brings the audience inside both figuratively and metaphorically, exploring the deeper recesses of her mind and inspirations for her poetry. The audience experiences Dickinson's poetry as newly created thoughts reflecting our New England landscape and a quieter simpler time.
Emily Dickinson lived a life of transcendent reflection. Her poems were inspired by a circumscribed world of home and garden in the village of Amherst. Although rarely published in her own lifetime, Emily came to be considered one of America's great poets. Our production of THE BELLE OF AMHERST invites the audience to share her time and space both visually and viscerally. In today's fast-paced information age Dickinson’s poetry offers insights into beauty, sorrow, loss, and the mystery of living.
“My old friend, Emily Dickinson. I was so glad to meet her again! She hadn’t abandoned me after all, and, if I could, I would have run to embrace her. After listening to just the first few lines of The Belle of Amherst tears were running down my cheeks as I remembered how much Dickinson’s writing had influenced me as a young woman. It was a very happy homecoming. When you go to Triple Shadow you become part of a small group witnessing an intimate experience and conversation before, at intermission, and afterward.” Gail M. Burns in Gail Sez–Berkshire Theater Reviews
Read the Press
Berkshire Theater Reviews - Gail M. Burns
Berkshires Week - Kate Abbot
The Berkshire Review for the Arts - Deborah Brown
The Rogovoy Report - Seth Rogovoy
The Buzz - Larry Murray
NIGHT PICNIC, Triple Shadow’s new multimedia production,explores the elusive nature of time. In the last year of his life Albert Einstein is looking back at himself as a young man, during his period of greatest creativity when he first conceived his theory of relativity. Hovering between consciousness and dreams, Einstein watches himself and his first wife Mileva Maric struggle to connect. Past, present and future co-exist amidst a menagerie of surreal characters, reflecting Einstein's and Mileva's revolutionary conception of reality. This blend of theater, live music, real-time video, masks and puppets, creates a shifting reality in which Einstein questions his--and our--perceptions, existence, and possibility for survival.
NIGHT PICNIC developed out of Triple Shadow's collaborative residencies with Hungarian and Romanian artists in Chiapas, Mexico and at the Santa Fe Art Institute in New Mexico. This three-year Time and Shadow Project was an exploratory partnership with Artus/Company Gabor Goda and Toaca, directed by Nona Ciobanu, which led to collaborative research and workshops. The project was funded by NEA Multidisciplinary Program and the Trust for Mutual Understanding. Each company has been developing its own individual production based on the collective intercultural explorations, and NIGHT PICNIC is the result of Triple Shadow's distinct creative work.
Creative energies behind the project include conceiver/director Beth Skinner, composer-musician Edward Herbst, real-time video and lighting designer (and Drama Desk-winner) Paul Clay, mask and puppet designer WindRose Morris,
scenic designer and Obie Award-winner Jun Maeda, video artist Nico Herbst, costume designer Mari Andrejco, video operator Chang-Jin Lee, and performers Mari Andrejco, Gabrielle Autumn, Andrew Belcher, Lucy Kaminsky and Richard Saudek.
For more on our video-in-performance process:
Paul Clay: Statement on Video Mixing
ALICE: END OF DAZE was workshopped at La MaMa E.T.C. in New York City (May 2008) and at StageWorks/Hudson in upstate New York.
ALICE: END OF DAZE is a dark adaptation of Lewis Carroll's "Through the Looking Glass" featuring live music, real-time video projection, puppetry and masks. Freely adapted from Lewis Carroll's "Through the Looking Glass," ALICE: END OF DAZE follows Alice as she escapes into a fantastic, surreal wonderland where she meets some familiar and occasionally sinister humans and puppet characters such as Humpty Dumpty, Tweedledum, and Tweedledee.
This surreal musical fantasy was conceived by director Beth Skinner and composer Edward Herbst, video and lighting design by Paul Clay with additional video by NicoHerbst, scenic design by Jun Maeda, mask and puppet design by WindRose Morris and costume design by Mari Andrejco. Performed by Mari Andrejco, Sara Bragdon, Emma Dweck, Edward Herbst andWindRose Morris with video operator Chang-Jin Lee.
ALICE: END OF DAZE explores the nature of time and visual perception. Alice finds herself in a fast-paced world, venturing into places where past, present and future seemingly coexist. She encounters ancient Mayan beliefs under attack by Spanish missionaries, modern-day creationism, global warming and end-of-days scenarios, and a 19th-century photo shoot that turns into a harrowing wild-west firing squad taking aim directly at her head.
The production design is partly inspired by Federico Fellini's film, "The Clowns." Other influences are the early age of photography, optical toys, Eadweard Muybridge (inventor of fast shutter speeds), and writings on perception of time and motion by famed neurologist Oliver Sacks ("Awakenings").
SEA CHANGE and ARCTIC CIRCLE were presented at the Cairo International Festival for Experimental Theatre in Egypt, September 2005. The New York premiere was in October-November 2004 at La MaMa E.T.C.
SEA CHANGE is a surrealist painting come to life, inhabited by bizarre characters brought together on an ocean cruise, alternately humorous and nightmarish, as they journey toward personal transformation and letting go of worldly attachments.
ARCTIC CIRCLE juxtaposes a “Magritte” explorer in the Arctic, shaking up the lives of individuals caught in a crisis of fast-disappearing cultures and languages. It explores power—in what is at once an expanding and shrinking world—as both an environmental and inner spiritual struggle.
Renï¿½ Magritte’s portrait of The Threatened Assassin shows one of his bowler-hatted dapper gentlemen, but in this painting he is holding a crude wooden club (while his very likeness is holding a fishing net), juxtaposing propriety and danger, possibly the ever-present threat of the ordinary, the danger lurking behind all the facade of civility. Another close likeness of him is listening to an old phonograph player, a world of disembodied sounds. A deathly pale woman lies lifeless, her mouth covered. The window looking out beyond the confines of his orderly room reveals the splendor and severe contours of reality, of cold mountains (and other lurking threats, of which he is unaware). In Arctic Circle, we worked with these images to develop a character we imagine as the father of Smilla in Peter Hoeg’s novel, Smilla’s Sense of Snow. The tragic amorous relationship between this Norwegian doctor and an Inuit woman, Smilla’s mother, triggered the dynamic between our two characters. Another thread running through the piece is the world of silkies, part seal, part woman, found in so many coastal fishing cultures. The doctor/arctic explorer brings with him the cacophony of languages which speak without invoking the true meaning of things, washing over the airwaves across continents. How does the explorer take leave of the explored? What is the legacy of this interaction?
The images, sounds, and events of SEA CHANGE are all in our lady’s head and body, though they also make up the environment we experience as her ocean cruise. The house musician arrives out of Magritte’s Voice of the Winds, and as far as the lady is concerned, he’s not there. The audience may experience him as a man creating a soundscape of her ocean voyage, but all she seems to be aware of is her immediate sensations, and he is just a mirage on the crests of the waves. Is he making the sounds or just her imagined personification of the ocean’s atmospheric effects? The numbing tasties of the dining room are more than she was expecting, and the visceral presence of her dining room companions, the likes of Magritte’s bodily fragments in Intermission, stimulate a different reaction than she was looking for. As in dreams and nightmares, disparate elements conjoin, match up in odd ways, creating vehicles to transport us where we need to go. A boat fashioned of everyday materials could not take her there, but one might have a chance to see through a spirit boat into some other world. Magritte also has winged gentlemen, inhabiting this world but contemplating ways to take flight to some kind of freedom from human logic, language, and limitations.
THE RIVER SWEEPERS, a site-specific performance which can be adapted for rivers or lakes, was initially performed on the Housatonic River, recently designated by the EPA as one of North America’s ten most endangered rivers. THE RIVER SWEEPERS was created for the Housatonic River Summer festival of 2004 and presented on the river in conjunction with the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. For this production Jun Maeda has built a huge rattan teradactyl puppet and four large bamboo rafts on which numerous tall mask characters flow downstream, along with trombones, trumpets and clarinet, playing newly composed music inspired by loon calls and other sounds from the natural environment.
On tour, a core group of Triple Shadow company members develops the performance event during a one-week residency with local performers: actors, dancers, and musicians from the community.
THE RIVER SWEEPERS—some kind of ancestors or ancient river dwellers— rafting down the river after eons of time, sweeping (as with landmines), cleansing, purifying, purging, reinvigorating, activating, and preparing the river for new life. The drama begins with a corporate guy paddling upstream—with some (inadvertent) results. The River Sweepers and prehistoric bird sense the danger and drift downstream to help a little. While strategic, big-time things must be done by human communities to restore the river, our enactment of a more personal, pleasurable process hopefully restores the Housatonic and other endangered bodies of water to new, inspiring places in our minds and hearts.
TIME AND SHADOW is a collaborative performance project bringing together three companies and complementary visions: Artus (Hungary), directed by Gï¿½bor Goda with media artist Ernst Sï¿½ss, Toaca (Romania), directed by Nona Ciobanu with designer/media artist Iulian Baltatescu, and Triple Shadow (U.S.), directed by Beth Skinner with composer Edward Herbst and designer Jun Maeda. The first twenty-month of the project took place in Palenque and San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico (February 2005 and March 2006), and in Budapest (October 2006), with intensive collaborative research and creative development between the three companies.
In October 2007 the three companies came together again for a two-week residency at the Santa Fe Art Institute for an intensive period of experimentation, rehearsal and development, and an opportunity to share the work-in-progress with North American audiences. Further development and touring in Europe, Mexico and the U.S. is anticipated for the near future.
The TIME AND SHADOW PROJECT grows out of a series of exchanges carried out in 2003 during which time the principal artists from each company were able to meet the core artists of the other companies in their studios and performance spaces, and to broaden the conversation with other artists in each region. These encounters, developed in consultation with Philip Arnoult (Center for International Theatre Development), moved between the three countries: Triple Shadow and Artus to Bucharest, Triple Shadow and Toaca to Budapest, Toaca and Artus to the U.S. We got to know each other within the three environs, understanding the others’ artistic approaches and beginning to exchange ideas in a shared process of research. In each of these trips, we were able to visit a wide range of artists and intellectuals, presenters, festivals, arts centers and museums, and attend many performances and rehearsals, including those of the core participants: Artus, Toaca and Triple Shadow.
The collaboration has involved two artistic directors from each company plus four Artus performers, two Toaca performers, and two Triple Shadow performers, along with Triple Shadow designer Jun Maeda. There were public showings of our collaborative research and experimentation in San Cristobal and Palenque, as part of a larger process of exchange and sharing through three weeks of artistic activities with local artists. In October 2006 Triple Shadow composer Edward Herbst spent three weeks in Budapest collaborating with Artus, composing a soundscape for their production based on the Chiapas residency, Sztélé, and rehearsing with the company. In October 2007 the three companies came together again for a TIME AND SHADOW PROJECT two-week residency at the Santa Fe Art Institute for an intensive period of experimentation, rehearsal and development, and an opportunity to share the work-in-progress with North American audiences. Further development and touring in Europe, Mexico and the U.S. is anticipated for 2008-2009.
Skinner Releasing Technique
We're all born dancers, with innate coordination and animal-like grace. As time goes by, we tend to lose touch with this natural ease. Muscles tense unnecessarily, and our alignment goes askew. The Skinner Releasing Techniqueï¿½ (SRT) lets us practice letting go: letting go of stress, letting go of unnecessary holding in our body, letting go of preconceptions about what is supposed to happen, letting go of fear of awkwardness, letting go of the belief that we don't have the right body for dancing. We let go of habitual holding patterns and habitual ways of thinking in order to let something new happen. Eventually, we find energy and power. We rediscover our natural alignment, improve strength and flexibility, and awaken creativity and spontaneity. It's a dance class for professionals as well as everybody else.
Some parts of an SRT class involve 'deep states,' where our brain waves slow down and we journey just below conscious level. This mode is similar to meditation: the senses are heightened and we're open to learning. Moving from this state, or even just visualizing movement, can lead to astonishing transformations. People find themselves moving in ways entirely new for them, that they didn't think themselves capable of, often with an ease they didn't think possible. The class atmosphere is gentle, interweaving guided imagery with a variety of musical environments. Balance is found by expanding multi-directionally. (From the Skinner Releasing Web Site.)
Sensations of Tone
Our voice workshops, geared for dancers and actors as well as musicians, explore internal and external manifestations of sound. The approach reflects Indonesian, Japanese, Indian, Tibetan-Mongolian, and experimental Euro-American sources, but the work is distilled into a more primal process of how we allow qualities to enter us and how we enter into things. The technique is one of kinesthetics and perception, listening for internal qualities and energies which are then embodied in sound vibrations, shaped by spatial orientation and collaborative dynamics. Drawing from various traditions of music, theater and dance, we play with resonance and flows of energy within the body, multiphonics, overtone harmonics and sound contours, opening the door to perspectives on sound in terms of shape, weight, density, heat and color. Sound ultimately becomes a window through which we perceive subtler qualities of thought, spirit, space and time.
Music, Masks and Dance of Bali, Indonesia
Presentation/workshop for Children
A live demonstration and discussion of masks, dance, and music of Bali, Indonesia. In addition to gamelan music played on gongs, cymbals, chimes and drums, we perform songs and vocal styles of the dance and theater traditions of Bali. We also present our own original masks and discuss how to make masks and create one's own characters and movement. Both children and adults are welcome.
Improvisation in Balinese Performance Practice
We offer a lecture demonstration on the aesthetics of Balinese music-dance-theater as well as the underlying creative, generative processes of how these forms are continually replenished, drawing from intuitive, spiritual traditions. The great degree of collaborative improvisation and use of comedy and farce liken Balinese theater in many ways to commedia dell'arte.
Performers agree upon only the barest details of plot beforehand, and the dialogue (sung or spoken stylistically) is composed in performance, drawing freely from classical literary and musical sources. Linking of voice and movement with instrumental music is also a virtuoso, often extemporaneous task, unified by essential qualities of characterization. This lecture demonstration deals with how poetic and musical forms are used improvisationally within performance in keeping with dramatic characterization. Drawing from themes explored in Herbst’s book, VOICES IN BALI: Energies and Perceptions in Vocal Music and Dance Theater, the presentation also demonstrates Balinese vocal techniques for “the movement of sound through the body,” creating a wide range of voices and textural qualities.