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    The 2015 Season: 

    This year, Momentum theatre Troupe aims to weave one theatrical experience out or versions of Shakespeare’s Henry V,” Alfred Jarry's "Ubu Roil,” and Larry Jay Tish’s “The Break up of Cause and Effect.” This year we will have an ensemble of 10, half of which are returning ensemble members, and four of whom are visiting Theatre Artists from Malik Rumeau’s Paris Based theatre companie Theatre Interferences.

    With Ubu as our center piece, or main dish, this year, MTT is focused on on duality in the human condition; how the different sides of a character can be at battle, and how this interior battle manifests in the exterior physical world.  This year's tone, however, is one of irreverence, and buffoonery, so these metaphysics are represented through farce, puppetry, and stage magic.  

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    2014 Season: 

    This season we will be performing Juliet and Her Romeo, Chekhov's The Proposal, and an original piece inspired by Orwell's 1984 and titled Own Life. Stay posted for Directors' Notes on our upcoming season!

     

    Notes on the 2013 Season from Artistic Director Sean Eastman:

    BOTTOM'S DREAM

    Over the past 11 years of teaching theatre to all age ranges, primarily in the northeast, I have found that William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream is one of, if not the, most widely read classics in middle and high schools through out the United States.  Apart from being a wonderful romp about love and mystical inspiration and intervention, I have been interested in tackling the play as a director for quite some time. The fact that this play is so well read in modern America, almost 500 years after it was penned, makes it a perfect candidate for this year's classic piece in our tour: because the text is so familiar to our audiences, young and old, it provides an ideal opportunity for MTT to continue the search and development of "the modern American Gesture". That is to say, those physical gestures manifested in our society that originate deep within the individual, that we, and the world, see as uniquely american.

    As with all of Shakespeare's great works that MTT plays with, we have adapted/re-arranged/selectively re-focused the Bard's original text.  With Bottom's Dream, we have developed a text for 7 actors (some in multiple parts) that highlight's the aspects of "inspiration" with in the original text.  Our focus is on the questions of redemption, illumination, translation, sacrifice, and loyalty, that the outside inspiring factor or "other," excite with us as human animals.  The moment of inspiration is something that all artists wrestle with when undertaking any artistic endeavor, and the relationship that is born between self and inspiration is that better self that we all, artists or not, strive for, and wish to perpetually inhabit; that ever elusive "ideal self." This state of inspiration is, of course, only glimpsed at if we are lucky, and on either side it is beset with the bliss and pain of the human condition. 

    We have called it Bottom's Dream because we have restructured the text so that the Mechanicals (or clowns) are the central figures, and the four lovers (Demetrius, Lysander, Helena, and Hermia) are themselves clowns within the Mechanicals.  In this production, the mechanicals are a group of actors that perform throughout the country for our modern royalty, and on this particular rehearsal, mystical inspiration finds the ensemble and all comedic-hell breaks loose.  As with all of my work, I am very interested in developing the shared craft of moving characters through space in a manner that defines , and necessitates, crystalized physical gesture.  Bottom's Dream is a fast paced, compact, wrestling-romp-farce of the artist's mind, spirit, and identity set to Shakespeare's  classic symphony.

     

    CARNIVAL OF WAYWARD SAINTS

    I first read George Herman's historical-fiction account of the "first" Commedia dell'Arte troupe, Carnival of Saints in 1999, fresh out of Sarah Lawrence College.  My uncle had suggested it to me many years earlier, but it was a close college friend who had found it on The Strand's shelves amidst other out-of-print works, and gifted it to me.  This was also the same year that I was working as a mover in Manhattan, and through constant exposure to cube trucks of all sizes, had started to wonder if a functional stage/theatre could be built inside one these trucks.  From the moment I started reading Herman's work, I disappeared into the characters and world that he had created. I soon realized that this moving-truck-theatre could successfully be taken to any neighborhood, rural or urban, as it had already been successfully done by Commedia dell'Arte in 14th century in italy and the medieval passion plays in Europe (as well as by Shakespeare).  I knew, however, that in order to undertake a work this detailed and complex, we would need to use every theatrical device available to us to properly convey the novel's beauty and depth.  It wasn't until earlier this year, when Momentum partnered with composer William Ogmundson that I felt we would be able to do justice to Herman's work as it was through the vehicle of music that we became able to forge a path through the text.  Not only has Will composed all of the music, including four original songs, but he has also initiated a rich dialogue with George Herman.  Will has been of the highest benefit throughout this experience.

    The difficulty that comes with transporting a novel to the stage is that much of the detail and complexity, as well as the beauty of the subjective experience of the reader, is lost.  In an effort to illuminate all of the textures in the novel, we have decided to present the work in hour-long installments, or "episodes", focusing on the four of the overarching themes of Love, Loss, Sacrifice, and Redemption independently of one another.  In doing so, I hope to recreate that experience of timelessness that occurs within the pages of a good book by pulling moments and text from disparate parts of the novel around these larger themes.  This year we start this journey with the theme of Love. In order to get the depth of emotional involvement with the characters that a reader experiences within the pages of a novel, Will has developed music that not only illuminates the characters' inner lives and past selves, but also finds resonance within many aspects of the human condition.  The other performance aspect of this operetta is the Commedia dell'Arte scenes woven into the flow of the piece, a model present in the original novel that we have chosen to remain true to. As the audience hears about the inner development of the characters as they exist off stage they also see the development of the archetypical Commedia characters and their lazzi on stage.  This is no small task that we endeavor to undertake with Carnival of Wayward Saints, and so the episodical release of this piece over the next few summers is also meant to afford Momentum a chance to digest all of the novel's delicious flavors and to allow our audience to feed into the process with their individual insights.  With this piece, Momentum aims to entertain with its folk-grunge-commedia-operetta, and illuminate the saint within us all.

     

    THE MAN WHO TURNED INTO A DOG

    Written by Argentinian playwright Osvadlo Dragun in 1956, this is a lightly melancholic modern fairy tale about an out-of-work husband in a no-job-economy that eventually finds the only position available: that of a watchdog for the local factory.  So he takes the job manning the doghouse, and slowly starts to adopt the behaviors of a canine. In the end this behavior costs him his family and everything he has, due to his "accidents" indoors, penchant for chasing cats, and interest in chewing frisbees while at the park.  The play offers a set of imaginative sketches, whose clownesque style enhances the tragic spirit within, depicting the consequences of having to conform to today's dehumanized world.

    Although this piece does have resonance with the predicament of many of us, and some argue that all theatre is political, I do not see The Man Who Turned Into A Dog as "political theatre." Instead, I see it as an examination of human kind's willingness and ability to dissolve identity when demanded.  In our society, we have established institutions where, for good and bad, the dissolution of identity is demanded at the door, and membership is about being part of the whole; the military, religion, schools,  and prisons, are just a few examples of this phenomenon.  While we all have our different opinions about theses modern institutions, it is the investigation into this social institutionalization, and how it affects individual character, that most intrigues me about this piece.  On top of these  metaphysical  queries, Dragun has layered delicate comedic vignettes  that keep this one act moving along at a wonderful pace; away from the stale, pedantic quagmire of other "political theatre."