The event’s 2017 theater productions feature a range of international presentations from puppetry to monologue to a larger-scale production. Here’s how Spoleto Festival USA describes this year’s theater program:
“Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot is programmed alongside Henry Naylor’s Angel, a contemporary monologue set in Northern Syria; Aurélia Thierrée and Victoria Thierrée Chaplin’s Murmurs, a surreal psycho-drama shaped by a range of visual effects; and two works of modern puppetry, Ramona and The Table.
Druid’s Artistic Director Garry Hynes, who will also be directing opera Farnace at the 2017 Festival, leads Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, perhaps the defining play of the 20th century. Designer Francis O’Connor (lauded for his work in Spoleto Festival USA’s The Importance of Being Earnest in 2016) will again bring his inventive designs to Dock Street Theatre starting on May 25. Actors Garrett Lombard, Aaron Monaghon, Rory Nolan, and Marty Rea star in this retelling, which The Irish Times describes as “the freshest, funniest, and most affecting production of the play in at least a quarter of a century.”
Opening weekend will also bring Aurélia Thierrée and Victoria Thierrée Chaplin’s collaboration, Murmurs, to the Emmett Robinson Theatre at College of Charleston (May 26 through 29). Presenting a dreamlike, largely wordless rumination on a woman’s adventure into a surreal and shifting landscape, Thierrée returns to Spoleto Festival USA following sold-out performances of Aurélia’s Oratorio in 2007. This time, she will be accompanied by featured performers Magnus Jakobsson and Jamie Martinez. Innovatively using set design, objects, and puppetry to transform everyday things into manifestations of the soul, Murmurs straddles the delicate line between imagination and madness.
Described by Edinburgh Festivals Magazine as “a compelling, thought-provoking, symbolic piece of theatre,” Angel is inspired by a true story. Henry Naylor’s one-woman monologue follows a heroic sniper—a member of a band of Kurdish female fighters—who may just be the angel that Kobanî, a town in Northern Syria, was hoping for as ISIS forces move in to take the region. Angel is presented as part of the American Express Woolfe Street Series on May 26 through May 29.
Georgian playwright and director Rezo Gabriadze’s Ramona (May 31 through June 4 at College of Charleston’s Emmett Robinson Theatre) presents a charming yet tragic tale of two trains in love. Ramona—a shunting engine—waits for years in a railway station for her heroic Trans- Siberian locomotive, Ermon, to return from his journey across the railroads of Russia. Yet when the circus comes to town, Ramona joins the troupe—ultimately sealing her own fate. Georgian playwright Gabriadze returns to the Festival for a second appearance following his production of The Battle of Stalingrad in 2003. Gabriadze Theatre offers a production full of extraordinary scenes created from ordinary objects; the director and his puppeteers crystalize, in miniature, the joy and heartbreak of love and the unrecoverable past.
Puppetry masterwork continues with Blind Summit Theatre’s The Table, which is centered around Moses, a cantankerous three-man-operated puppet who wants to share an epic philosophy-meets-comedy tale about God, life and death, and puppetry—but who easily gets distracted. The Table has received a Fringe First award, and, in 2012, Blind Summit Theatre served as puppet directors for the London Olympic Opening Ceremonies. Staged at the Emmett Robinson Theatre June 6 through 10, this production will occupy a welcome space between contemporary humor and historical reference. Festival audiences will remember Blind Summit Theatre’s director Mark Down; he co-directed the 2016 production of The Little Match Girl.”
The full 2017 program and an event calendar can be found here.
Tickets can be purchased by phone at 843.579.3100 and online at spoletousa.org. Tickets can also be purchased in person through the Spoleto Festival USA Box Office at the Gaillard Center (95 Calhoun Street) beginning on Monday, May 1.
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