• Torre

From Fringe to Full Production

About a year ago I received a message from Torre asking if I would be interested in collaborating on a dance piece she was creating for the fringe festival. She wanted it to be an interdisciplinary piece and needed someone who had knowledge of mental health issues and theatre, so she thought of me. The timing was nothing short of serendipitous as I had just submitted an application to an artistic immersion program during which I would have the opportunity to develop my own process. In my application I had described my desire to create devised, physical theatre that addressed issues of mental health in a way that was not only magical, but intimate.

The original cast: Kathleen Willard, Jennifer Pray, Torre Edahl, Alina Fateieva, Julia Bither, and Kayla McCaffrey on the Ritz Theatre stage

Over the next several months, through hundreds of hours of rehearsals, production meetings, marketing, and performance, we had developed a method of devising and created a quiet, small, and deeply impactful show that was a bizarre and lovely mix of theatre, dance, music, poetry, and film. We realized that the process and product we had created was something we both wanted to continue exploring That original production has served as our jumping off point for the more fully realized version we have been rehearsing for the past month.

One of the most exciting parts of this new production has been the opportunity to work with an entirely new group of artists, all but one of which had not seen the original production. Each performer comes to the table with a unique set of skills, experiences, and ideas. Though we have great respect for the work of the original cast, inviting in the perspectives from other members of the community was one of our main goals with this new production.

Cast members Jasmine Porter, Antonio Jordan, Crissy Tolson, Addie Smith, Megan Marcy, and Assistant Director, Kathleen Willard enjoy a visit from Director, Mariah Larkin's puppy, Hobbes.

Another important aspect of this new production has been the development of new material and the polishing of the old. We were especially curious about exploring the relationships that exist between the people in Persephone’s life and how they seek support from one another. In one scene we see Persephone’s sister and lover have a conversation about what they’re experiencing in confronting the reality of what Persephone is struggling with.

Megan Marcy (Lover) talks with Addie Smith (Sister) in a new scene.

Persephone opens on May 4th at the Off Leash Art Box (tickets here). Until then, be sure to check back here for updates and to get an inside look at the rehearsal process. Even if you were one of those people who saw Persephone at the fringe, with new faces, new moments, and new movement, this second production is well worth your time.

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