CalArts Festival Theater celebrates “13 At 13,” marking its 13th year staging plays at Venue 13 in Edinburgh, Scotland, as part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the largest arts festival in the world.
The CalArts Festival Theater and Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama collaboratively run Venue 13 to showcase productions of emerging artists from Wales and California, during the festival’s run (Aug. 5-29). This year, three CalArts productions are being staged at what Fest Magazine says has “one of the strongest records at the Fringe for producing challenging, innovative and often gorgeous new theatre.”
The following productions have all been workshopped at CalArts:
In Sublevel Theater Group’s Confetti, written, directed and with costumes by Ambrose Cappuccio (Theater BFA 17), a troubled young painter falls so deeply into his work that he has trouble distinguishing fantasy from reality. In what might be a hallucination, he meets the charming Lliope, and all is well until he starts questioning everything about his art and sees two different sides of Lliope.
Confetti stars Zack Gearing (Theater BFA 17) as Cal, and Moriah Martel (Theater BFA 17) and Megan Hackett (Theater BFA 17) both as Lliope, and features scene design by Melanie Waingarten (Theater MFA 18) and sound design by Ashley Diaz (Theater BFA 18). It is produced by Brian Carbine (Theater MFA 16) and School of Theater faculty Jon Gottlieb.
Confetti runs through Aug. 27.
Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen’s When We Dead Awaken gets a neo-soul/hip hop update in Carbine’s and Preston Butler III’s (Theater MFA 17) Dead Awaken. The concert drama fuses the high language of the original play with a contemporary musical soundtrack.
Dead Awaken follows Artist, played by Butler, who confronts feelings of loss and restlessness after completing an exceedingly well-received masterpiece. He and his estranged wife, played by Kristin Tripe (Theater MFA 16), wander from place to place searching for meaning or salvation. They meet the inspiration for Artist’s masterpiece, Muse, played by Jasmine Gatewood (Theater MFA 18), in a mountain resort. Convinced that Muse holds the key to his redemption, Artist will sacrifice everything to obtain it.
Dead Awaken also features Caleb Fietsam (Theater BFA 19) as Bear Killer, music production by Maxwell Keene (Music BFA 18), scenic design by Tanya Orellana (Theater MFA 17), sound design by Harlow Price (Theater 13), lighting design by Rose Malone (Theater MFA 17) and costume design by Rose Strassen (Theater BFA 17). The play is produced by Megan Lewicki (Theater MFA 16) and Gottlieb.
Dead Awaken plays through Aug. 27.
Unseal Unseam, a new electroacoustic opera written by Micaela Tobin (Music MFA 16), is inspired by Bela Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle and Arnold Schoenberg’s Erwartung (Expectation).
Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle tells the tale of Judith and Bluebeard, who have just eloped and are spending their first night in Bluebeard’s dark castle, where there are seven locked doors. Judith asks to open the doors, and each one reveals horror after horror, with chambers of weaponry, bloody rooms and finally behind the last door, Bluebeard’s former wives, laden and made heavy with jewels, unable to escape their fates. Bluebeard’s Castle is usually performed with Schoenberg’s Erwartung, which explores similar themes.
Unseal Unseam presents the lead relationship as abusive and terrifying. As Judith is trapped in the castle, she transmogrifies her trauma through a series of relics and abstracted visions, while the embodiment of her destined future—the Stage Wife—watches on, knitting a web of her own tortured memories. Unseal Unseam uses live improvised music and object performance to reframe Bartok’s compositional motives.
Unseal Unseam features Tobin as Judith and Sara Sinclair Gomez (Music BFA 13, MFA 15) as the Stage Wife. Gomez also produces the opera, while Shannon Knox (Theater MFA 16) serves as director, and costume and scenic designer.
Unseal Unseem runs through Aug. 27.
Other CalArtians are participating in this year’s festival in several productions. They include Sam Deutsch (Theater BFA 08) performing with Manual Cinema in Ada/Ava, and Rebecca Kessin (Theater MFA 07) sound designing Red Compass Productions’ Out of Our Father’s House.