13th Floor Dance Theater to Premiere A WAKE at ODC, 10/16-19
Thirteenth Floor Dance Theater has announced the world premiere of A Wake, conceived and created by 13th Floor Founder and Artistic Director Jenny McAllister. A Wake, based on the novel Finnegans Wake, explores what James Joyce called "the dark night of the soul," a meditation on love, death and the inescapability of the past. This latest dance theater piece by McAllister combines Joyce's wild, idiosyncratic language with original dialogue and choreography by McAllister. A Wake opens in preview Thursday, October 16, 2014 and runs for three nights, Friday through Sunday, October 17 - 19 at ODC Theater.
Thirteenth Floor Dance Theater resets Joyce's final work to 1994 with flashbacks to the early 1980s. An ensemble of nine performers dramatizes the tale of the Finnegan family as it assembles on the eve of a funeral.
"A Wake is fundamentally a ghost story," says McAllister. "Among the members of the family who return is a ghost who calls up a crime from the past that his siblings would sooner choose to forget." Set in the home of the family patriarch, the characters slide from the everyday -- a drink, a kiss, an argument -- into the realms of dream and fantasy.
"In creating A Wake," continues McAllister, "I have been inspired as much by Joyce's avant-garde and at times laugh-out-loud funny treatment of character as I have by the magical music of his language, full of puns and jokes and riddles."
Scenic designer Delayne Medoff returns to 13th Floor with an elaborate set design for A Wake. After last year's stark, noirish Being Raymond Chandler, Medoff and McAllister are planning a "highly detailed" and "imaginative" environment approximating with absurdist twists a middle-class kitchen and front yard from a generation ago. McAllister notes that the ambitious scale of the set is a first for her company.
Making their 13th Floor Dance Theater debut are performers Colin Epstein, Zach Fisher, Parker Murphy and Rebecca Seigel. They join returning company members Blane Ashby, Kat Cole, Eric Garcia, Nicole Nastari and Erin Mei-Ling Stuart.
Tickets go on sale September 1, and range between $13 and $23. To purchase online, visit odcdance.org/buytickets.php or call 415-863-9834, Monday through Friday from 12 - 3pm.
The development of A Wake is supported in part by ODC's Fleishhacker Opportunity Fund.
ABOUT JENNY MCALLISTER & 13TH FLOOR DANCE THEATER - Jenny McAllister has been dancing and choreographing in the Bay Area for almost two decades. Before forming 13th Floor Dance Theater in 2010, she was co-director of Huckabay McAllister Dance from 1994-2009. Thirteenth Floor Dance Theater experiments in character-driven dance performance with a sense of humor. The company's most recent production, Being Raymond Chandler, was presented in 2013 at ODC Dance Commons and supported in part by a grant from ODC Theater's Creative Work/Play program. McAllister's early dance training includes the Oakland Ballet, Cliff Keuter, Fred Mathews, and Gary Masters. In addition, McAllister has studied release technique and partnering with Bay Area teachers Joe Goode, Lizz Roman, Scott Wells, and Eric Kupers. Her performance credits include Lizz Roman and Dancers, Eric Essner Performance Co-op, Fellow Travelers Performance Group, Chris Black/Potrzebie, Keith Hennesey's Circus of Resistance, EmSpace Dance, Duncan Macfarland, and Cliff Keuter. She has choreographed for San Jose Repertory Theatre, SF Cabaret Opera, and various local musical theater groups, and taught modern dance at San Francisco Dance Center and ODC School.