New season stays true to eclectic roots


Theatre Project to stage drama, dance and puppets

July 08, 2004|By J. Wynn Rousuck | J. Wynn Rousuck,SUN THEATER CRITIC

Eclecticism is the watchword of the Theatre Project, and in keeping with that, the 2004-2005 season will contain "everything from a one-man show of Russian literature, a very literary-minded piece, to a movement theater piece with no words," according to producing director Anne Cantler Fulwiler.

Half of the six-show subscription season consists of returning companies. "Audiences have an interest in watching companies develop new work," Fulwiler explained. But even these more familiar troupes will offer unconventional productions. "It's really a mosaic of techniques and styles," she added.

Here's the lineup:

Fever Pitch, Oct. 7-17. The Department of Homeland Security is attempting to entertain a nervous America in this topical comedy, produced by Under the Table Theatre, a young company based in Brooklyn, N.Y. "It is absolutely no coincidence that it's booked in October and the election season," Fulwiler said. Under the Table was formed by recent graduates of California's Dell'Arte International School of Physical Theatre, where they studied with two Theatre Project alums, movement artists Joan Schirle and Daniel Stein.

Babel: How It Was Done in Odessa, Nov. 4-14. Andrei Malaev-Babel, grandson of Jewish-Russian writer Isaac Babel, portrays characters ranging from racketeers to Red Cavalry revolutionaries in this one-man show based on his grandfather's short stories. Malaev-Babel is artistic director of the Washington-based Stanislavsky Theatre Studio, which last performed at the Theatre Project in 1999.

Air Dance Bernasconi, Dec. 3-12. Another returning company, this modern dance troupe, led by Towson University faculty member Jayne Bernasconi, specializes in aerial choreography.

The Real Nigga Show, Feb. 3-13. The racial epithet in the title is intended to shock, and the level of discomfort it creates is central to this show, written and directed by Baltimorean Troy Burton. Fulwiler describes the work as "an excellent piece of writing, really nice ensemble work, a very accessible way to look at some of the difficult stereotypes that exist between the black and white communities."

Seance, March 24-April 3. Philadelphia's Mum Puppettheatre - which brought Measuring Man to the Theatre Project last season - returns with a new wordless piece that focuses on an 18th-century woman's efforts to reconcile science and the spirit world. The company will also offer several performances of the children's show The Velveteen Rabbit during its stay at the Theatre Project.

The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players, April 7-10. The members of this self-described "indie-vaudeville conceptual art-rock pop band" are a real-life New York mother, father and 10-year-old daughter. The slides they show, however, are not their own, but vintage collections they pick up at yard sales and thrift shops. They then perform original pop songs while projecting the slides. The London Times dubbed the group "America's strangest rock 'n' roll brood."

Fulwiler also announced a number of non-subscription offerings: Poisoner on the Train, Sept. 9-19, a new one-woman piece by Claudia Stevens based on a chance encounter with a bioterrorist; the High Zero Festival, Sept. 30-Oct. 3, the sixth annual festival of improvised experimental music; American Griot, Feb. 17-20, a revised, pre-New York production of Al Letson's show about the African-American storytelling tradition, seen here last season; and a production, to be announced, by the Peabody Chamber Opera, April 25-May 8.

In addition, Fulwiler said the Theatre Project will devote the month of January to presenting local dance companies.

Subscriptions to the six-show main season cost $70 and go on sale Aug. 1. For more information, call 410-752-8558 or visit

Road show

Part of the Kennedy Center's "Tennessee Williams Explored" festival will be traveling north next season. The Manhattan Theatre Club has announced that in October it will produce a bill of one-acts titled Four by Tenn, directed by Michael Kahn. The production came about in response to Kahn's production of Five by Tenn, which opened the festival in April.

Although two of the titles have not been finalized, one holdover will be And Tell Sad Stories of the Deaths of Queens. That play and another short work, Escape, will be New York premieres. Kathleen Chalfant will again be featured in the ensemble cast.


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