"An Evening of Enchantment": The Beginning

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And so we’ve begun! Monday, February 1, 2010 marked the first day of rehearsals for the project(s) that will ultimately result in “An Evening of Enchantment” at the Berlind Theater in April.   All the collaborators are excited and ready to go and I’m excited to get this blog off the ground and start documenting the process.

Given that you’ve made it over to our site, you may know what this project is all about but in case you don’t, here’s a little background:

“An Evening of Enchantment” will showcase three dance/theater premieres, “Table’s Clear,” “Krazy Kat,” and “The Toy Box.” Each focuses on themes of childhood and enchantment, but “Krazy Kat” and “The Toy Box” are also directly influenced by the jazz age and culture.

“Table’s Clear,” a musical work by Professor Paul Lansky, will be choreographed by Princeton dance faculty member Tina Fehlandt, a former dancer with the Mark Morris Dance Group, on three Princeton alumni, Julie Rubinger ’09, Jennie Scholick ’09 (me!), and Elizabeth Schwall ’09. This work will open the evening of performances.

“Krazy Kat” will be created by Tracy Bersley as a part of THR 311: Creating Character and Text. The music will be played live by the students of MUS 320: Jazz Performance Practice in Historical and Cultural Context, taught by Simon Morrison and Anthony Branker.   “Krazy Kat” by John Carpenter was the first example of jazz music being treated as high art—a topic that I hope Professor Morrison will later discuss in this blog. We also hope in later weeks to have Prof. Bersley, her students, and the students of MUS 320 write for this blog to share their personal artistic and creative reflections and processes.

The students in MUS 320 will also be playing for “The Toy Box” as created by dance faculty member Rebecca Lazier in DAN 409. “The Toy Box” was one of Debussy’s last works, composed in 1913 for his daughter Chou-Chou based on a script by André Helle. It was thought that it was incomplete when Debussy died and was later orchestrated by a student but recently Prof. Morrison found a previously unknown version of the score in a Russian archive. This version had been orchestrated by Debussy and included a jazz overture. This composition has never been heard and will be performed for the first time in the Berlind on April 8. Prof. Morrison can better explain the intricate and clever workings of the score than I, and I’m sure he will do so soon. What I can say, however, is that Rebecca’s interpretation will be quite different from any earlier production. She’s starting with a new story, a new movement style, and, essentially, new music, so we’re all excited to see what happens!

It would probably also be good to name some of the key players in this whole process:

Simon Morrison is a Professor in the Department of Music and the Project Coordinator for both “Krazy Kat” and “The Toy Box.” For more info on other projects he’s spearheaded, check out his Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_Morrison

Tracy Bersley is the Director of “Krazy Kat” and a lecturer in the Program in Theater. Her bio can be found here: http://www.princeton.edu/arts/arts_at_princeton/theater/professor_bios/bersley/

Rebecca Lazier is the Director/Choreographer of “The Toy Box,” a Senior Lecturer in the Program in Dance, and the Artistic Director of Terrain.  Her bio can be found here: http://www.princeton.edu/arts/arts_at_princeton/dance/professor_bios/lazier/index.xml

Anthony Branker is the Conductor for “Krazy Kat” and “The Toy Box,” a Senior Lecturer in Music, and Conductor of University Jazz Ensembles at Princeton University. His bio can be found here: http://www.princeton.edu/~puje/conductor.htm

Pilar Castro Kiltz is a Music concentrator with certificates in Theater and Dance who is writing her thesis on “The Toy Box.” She’s acting as the Dramaturge on the project and giving us lots of insight into past productions of the work.

And I’m Jennie Scholick, a 2009 graduate of Princeton University, and the “Assistant” on the Toy Box project. I got involved thanks to Prof. Morrison and Rebecca who were two of my mentors and thesis advisors while I was a student at Princeton. Although I now work at the McCarter Theatre (in fact, my office is directly below the stage on which these pieces will be performed), I’ve been lucky enough to have been asked to stay involved in this “on campus” project. I’ll be maintaining this blog and updating from the “Toy Box” side of things. 

We’re looking forward to you joining us on this journey and hope that this blog will allow our audience a little insight into the creative process. Up next, the first rehearsals!

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Looking forward to the creative insights!

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