Fiona Shaw Stars in US Debut of THE RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER at BAM, Now thru 12/22

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and directed by Phyllida Lloyd, composed by Mel Mercier, with lighting design by Jean Kalman and Mike Gunning, set design by Chloe Obolensky and choreography by Kim Brandstrup, will play the BAM Harvey Theater (651 Fulton St), tonight, December 10 - 22, 2013 as part of the Next Wave Festival.

The inimitable Olivier Award winner and Tony Award nominee Fiona Shaw (Medea, 2002 Next Wave; Happy Days, 2008 Spring Season; John Gabriel Borkman, 2011 Spring Season) and dancer Daniel Hay-Gordon perform one of the best loved poems in the English language, Samuel Taylor Coleridge's epic The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, under the acclaimed direction of Phyllida Lloyd. This fiery, pared-down adaption of the 215-year-old tale tells of consequences paid while marooned at sea and of man's wanderings throughout the world in search of meaning.

Shaw portrays a sailor regaling a wedding guest with a story of his ill-fated last voyage. The tale traces his encounter with the figure of Death and the loss of his crew after being blown off course. During this doomed Antarctic voyage, the mariner shoots a large bird that arguably symbolizes the crew's salvation-a holy thing "hailed in God's name." The crew assumes that the death of the albatross is an omen of their doomed fate; they punish the mariner by hanging it around his neck ("Instead of the cross, the albatross / About my neck was hung.") When he realizes what he's done, he becomes saddled forever with guilt, hence the mythological "albatross around the neck." After a period of reflection, the sailor finds redemption in prayer and beauty in the sea creatures that he initially dismissed as "slimy things." The poem, written in 1797-98, is believed to have been inspired by the real-life sailor Simon Hatley, who had been lost at sea and, like Coleridge's mariner, shot down a black albatross from the deck.

Rebelling against the literary techniques of his day, Coleridge proved himself a genuine forerunner of modernism, combining a poetic imagination and unfailing creativity with critical thinking. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner was first published in Lyrical Ballads, with a Few Other Poems (1798)-a collection of poems by William Wordsworth and Coleridge, marking the beginning of the English Romantic movement in literature.

Schedule: Dec 10-12 and 17-19 at 7:30pm
*Press opening - Dec 11
Dec 13, 14, 20, & 21 at 7 & 9pm
Dec 15 & 22 at 3pm
Tickets start at $25

Talk: On Coleridge with Richard Holmes
Dec 14 at 4:30pm
BAMcafé (30 Lafayette Ave)
Tickets: $20 ($10 for Friends of BAM)

About the Artists:

Fiona Shaw is an award-winning Irish actress and theater director. Her prolific career spans three decades and includes numerous works with the National Theater, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Old Vic, the Barbican, BAM, on Broadway. She recently starred in The Testament of Mary which earned three Tony nominations including Best Play. Her films include The Tree of Life, the Harry Potter films, Catch and Release, The Black Dahlia, Anna Karenina, The Avengers, The Waste Land, Jane Eyre, My Left Foot, The Butcher Boy, The Last September, The Triumph of Love, Mountains of the Moon, London Kills Me, Underground Blues, RKO 281, and Skin and Blister. She has honorary degrees from Trinity College Dublin, the National University of Ireland, and the Open University, and she was awarded l'Officier des Arts et des Lettres in 2000 and made an honorary CBE in 2001. In the fall of 2013 Shaw directed both Britten's Rape of Lucretia for the Glyndebourne Festival and the Metropolitan Opera's production of Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin. Shaw trained at Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. She appeared at BAM previously in John Gabriel Borkman (Spring 2011), Happy Days (Spring 2008), and Medea (Next Wave 2002).



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