Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater will present the world premiere of Double Edge Theatre's The Grand Parade (of the 20th Century), which takes audiences on an evocative journey through the 20th century by fusing music, dance and flying. Following workshop performances in Baltimore and Chicago previews, Double Edge, hailed by American Theatre as an "unpredictable and imaginative" theater troupe, officially launches the international tour of The Grand Parade in Washington, D.C. before taking the production to the Golden Mask Festival in Moscow. Inspired by Marc Chagall's paintings, this movement-based new work runs February 6-10, 2013 in the Arlene and Robert Kogod Cradle.
The Grand Parade is directed and designed by Double Edge Founder and Artistic Director Stacy Klein in collaboration with Double Edge members Carlos Uriona, Matthew Glassman, Adam Bright, Hayley Brown, Jeremy Louise Eaton and Milena Dabova.
"The Grand Parade is a highly visual and unusual, company-built piece that serves as a reminder of the wonderful work collective ensembles do," sharesArena Stage Artistic Director Molly Smith. "The company members live and work on a farm in western Massachusetts, and it's a pleasure to bring their work to D.C. to literally take flight in the Kogod Cradle."
"The Grand Parade has been a truly collaborative experience, from its co-creation by Double Edge's international ensemble to the inspiring partnership with Russian composer Alexander Bakshi, to the host of designers, dramaturgs and production associates from Ashfield and around the country, who have come together to envision their picture of 20th century history," adds Klein. "With Chagall as our muse, we dared our way through the century's chaos, trying to write (or imagine) a better future and find our own thousand ways to fly."
To share their ensemble-based approach to devised work with the local community, Double Edge is partnering with local theater ensembles and universities to provide workshops focused on physical improvisation leading up to their run at Arena Stage. Double Edge kicked off this series of training sessions by working with members of two of Arena Stage's Community Engagement programs-Voices of Now Mentor Ensemble, a yearlong drama program for students focused on devising and performing theater based on their own writing, and The Actors Arena, a forum for experienced local professional actors to hone and develop their skills. Three additional workshops are scheduled for January that will include ensemble members from dog & pony dc and students from Georgetown University, along with other local artists and students.
About The Grand Parade: The Grand Parade depicts major events of the 20th century in a theatrical style inspired by Chagall's kaleidoscopic vision of humanity at play, at war and at rest. Trapeze, circus, dance, projections and popular culture fill the height and breadth of the stage as history is recounted with iconic images from film, television and photography. Time shrinks and expands as the 20th century unfolds in a dream-like rush of juxtapositions that include the ecstasy of landing on the moon, the frenzy of war, the skilled escapes of Houdini, the atomic bomb, Kennedy's assassination and Hitler's brutalization of Europe.
Stacy Klein (Director/Designer) is the founder and artistic director of Double Edge, which has entered its 30th year as one of the foremost laboratory, ensemble theaters in the U.S. After 12 years in Boston, she moved Double Edge to rural Ashfield, MA in 1994 and led the creation of The Farm Center. The Grand Parade is the 16th Double Edge performance she has directed, and it begins a new stage in her work. She was mentored from the 1970s until the present by Rena Mirecka, lead actress of the Teatr Laboratorium, and holds a Ph.D. in Theater History and Criticism.
The Cast of The Grand Parade (in alphabetical order)
Adam Bright is an actor, technical director and core member originally from London, England. He studied theater at Hull University and worked with the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough, England under the guidance of Sir Alan Ayckbourn. While studying acting with the National Youth Theatre UK, he became interested in ensemble-based new work, and this led him to Double Edge. Adam has been with Double Edge since 2005 and has performed in three company performances.