On March 15th Dramatic Adventure Theatre’s Associate Artistic Director, Kathleen Amshoff, opened her ambitious production of Swell to rave reviews at Culture Project’s Women Center Stage Festival at the Living Theatre.
Swell is an adaptation of the graphic novel by Juliacks. The protagonist Emmeline Grouse lives in a small town in Vermont, in a house overlooking an abandoned cemetery where she and her sister Lucy would often play. The play Swell explores the memory-shifting and kaleidoscopic journey of grief, immersing the audience in a lush visual landscape as Emmeline confronts her fears, dreams and imagination.
"When you finally cross into the playing space, you feel like you’ve come upon something hidden, a secret world or a child’s fort!"
~ Nicole Villeneuve, Backstage
"…a black-and-white world where graphic texture trumps dialogue."
~ Andy Webster, NY Times
The performance score for Swell was developed collaboratively in rehearsal by Kathleen, Juliacks and the company. In adapting the comic, Kathleen says she built on her experiences devising plays for Dramatic Adventure Theatre’s projects in Zimbabwe and Ecuador.
“While in this process we were working from a book instead of a series of experiences, many of my techniques and tools -– giving actors assignments, improvising scenes, culling material and drafting and re-drafting -– came from my work generating DAT projects with a company.”
~ Kathleen Amshoff, Director
Other DAT alumni also contributed to the work. Katey Parker (ACTion 2009) stars as the mother and created beautifully detailed shadow puppets. J’nelle Bobb-Semple (ACTion 2010) leads applied theatre workshops around the topic of grief and in relation to the production.
For more on the making of SWELL: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lanie-zipoy/from-page-to-stage-the-ma_b_1340911.html
Thursdays + Fridays at 7:30PM
Now - April 6 @ the Living Theatre (21 Clinton Street, NYC)
Tickets are available at www.womencenterstage.org