Here’s the press release from The Building Stage:
THE BUILDING STAGE ANNOUNCES FOUR PLAY SEASON
OF ORIGINAL WORKS AND ADAPTATIONS
Company’s seventh year marks transition
CHICAGO, IL — The Building Stage proudly announces its 2011-2012 season, showcasing the range of intellectual, visual, and thematic pleasures the company is known for in its unique, original works. After six years of producing on a project-by-project basis, the company is shifting focus and presenting a cohesive season of original creations. The continual performance schedule aims to foster deeper audience engagement with the company and performance space. All four events will take place at The Building Stage, 412 N. Carpenter Street in Chicago’s emerging West Loop neighborhood.
This year of reinvention at The Building Stage kicks off, appropriately, with the first revision of a previous Building Stage creation. The company returns to its first acclaimed literary adaptation, Moby-Dick, and dives deeper into the relationship between captain and crew. For the holidays, Charles Dickens Begrudgingly Performs “A Christmas Carol.” Again. This twisted take on the life story and most oft-performed tale of one of the world’s favorite novelists features Blake Montgomery in the titular role. In the early spring, they tackle a new inspiration – fairy tales – to create a playfully expressionistic Hänsel und Gretel. Finally, The Building Stage touches base with the traditional theater in a modern adaptation of Life is a Dream by 17th century Spanish playwright Pedro Calderon de la Barca.
The company is evolving in another way for the upcoming season: every performance will be surrounded by a larger event, immersing the audience in the world and connecting them to the story-tellers who built it. This connection between production and event celebrates the unique opportunity for community and communion that is at the heart of the live theater experience.
Artistic Director Blake Montgomery comments, “Switching to a season is very compelling to us right now. Most importantly, it will allow us to connect more directly and consistently with the public as we focus on what cultivates a meaningful dialogue between our artists and our audience. These are such great sources we’re working with, spanning three centuries and four countries. I am excited to place them side by side, providing different reflections of our world for a 21st century American audience.”
The company will also make its first full-time hire. A search process for the role of Managing Director is underway.
adapted by The Building Stage
from the novel by Herman Melville
with original music by Kevin O’Donnell
September 15 – October 30, 2011
Press/Opening Night: September 19, 2011
The audience is confined onboard with the crew of the Pequod as this new version of Moby-Dick focuses on the contagious nature of obsession. Evolving from our highly physical 2006 adaptation, this production reaches beyond the story of Captain Ahab to capture the shifting currents of the novel itself. Melville’s prose mixes with movement and miniature ships as a trio of percussionists propel Ahab’s obsession with the white whale to its fateful conclusion.
“A Christmas Carol.” Again.
created by The Building Stage
loosely based on the life of the author and his most theatricalized text
featuring Blake Montgomery as Dickens
November 17 – December 24, 2011
Press/Opening Night: November 20, 2011
Playing with historical and literary fact, Charles Dickens Begrudgingly Performs… imagines an evening in the home of the great author. Friends, relatives, and very important people eagerly gather for his annual reading of A Christmas Carol, but the price of repetition has become too high for Dickens. This ridiculous, intimate, heartfelt event both skewers and celebrates this most iconic of holiday traditions and our attachment to it.
Hänsel und Gretel
created by The Building Stage
inspired by the classic story and its variations from the Brothers Grimm to the opera by Humperdinck
February 25 – April 15, 2012
Press/Opening Night: March 4, 2012
The Building Stage journeys into the woods, uncovering both the dark and absurd elements of this classic fairy tale about two children on their own, a house made of sweets, a murderous witch, and the perils of breadcrumbs. Adding to the fun are an expressionist oompah band, a 1960s pop crooner in lederhosen, and two guilt-stricken parents on a rescue mission. Performed in an immersive forest setting, Hänsel und Gretel is sure to melt the coldest of hearts on a long winter night.
Life is a Dream
by Pedro Calderon de la Barca
in a new adaptation by The Building Stage
May 5 – June 24, 2012
Press/Opening Night: May 13, 2012
Worlds collide as this 17th century Spanish play, set in feudal Poland and performed in 21st century America, is staged in an outdoor setting inside The Building Stage. Using our non-traditional devised approach, we tackle this classic investigation of leadership, politics, public responsibility, and self-determination — just in time for election season. Calderon’s poetic world comes to life with equal parts comedy, melodrama, philosophy, and a chance to picnic on “the lawn” before the show.
Subscription packages for the four-play season will be available beginning Monday, June 16. Single Tickets and Group Tickets for the season will go on sale July 18. Purchase at buildingstage.com or by calling the Box Office at 312-491-1369.
The Building Stage is located at 412 N. Carpenter Street, Chicago IL 60642 in the emerging West Loop neighborhood. Free parking is available in a lot adjacent to the theater, as well as plentiful street parking. 3 blocks west of the Grand Blue Line stop.
ABOUT THE COMPANY
The Building Stage exists to create original theatrical events that celebrate, mourn, explore, and question our world and ourselves. Serving as both a neighborhood theater and a cultural destination, we seek to combine an entertaining, approachable experience with unique and challenging artistic products. We aspire to contribute to the evolution of the modern theater as we rediscover the vital role that theater can play in American cultural life.
The Building Stage works from pre-existing sources that reflect the world we live in. We transform those sources through rehearsal, creating on our feet, with no separation between play and production. This process allows us to highlight the rapport that is created between performers and audience in the space and time of performance. Our pieces do not simply tell narrative stories; instead, they play with the boundary between poetry and prose, engaging the mind as well as the emotions, stirring the imagination as much as the senses.
The Building Stage company members include David Amaral, Daiva Bhandari, Chelsea Keenan, Pamela Maurer, Jon Stutzman, Leah Urzendowski, and Max Wirt. Blake Montgomery is the founder and Artistic Director.
ABOUT THE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Blake Montgomery is an actor, director, and creator whose approach to theater reflects his training at L’École internationale de théâtre Jacques Lecoq (as well as its scenographic wing, Le Laboratoire d’Etude du Mouvement), the Dell’Arte School of Physical Theater, the Margolis-Brown Movement Theater Lab, and with master clown Ronlin Foreman. He has conceived and/or directed the Building Stage productions: Hamlet, Dustbowl Gothic, Moby-Dick, Noir, and Dracula and co-directed The Ring Cycle. Montgomery played Halvard Solness in the Building Stage production of The Master Builder. In 2007, he appeared as Dr. Prentice in What the Butler Saw at the Court Theatre. Previous to founding The Building Stage, he worked for a period with Redmoon Theater where he performed in Seagull at the Steppenwolf Studio, Nina outdoors in Los Angeles and in Humboldt Park, and Salao: The Worst Kind of Unlucky Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare. Most recently, he performed the role of Uncle Drosselmeyer in The House Theatre of Chicago’s The Nutcracker.