World Premiere of Goblin Market Set for CRT
Connecticut Repertory Theatre (CRT) will present the World Premiere of Goblin Market by Penny Benson, inspired by the poem by Christina Rossetti, March 27 - April 6 in the Studio Theater, Storrs. For tickets and information, call 860-486-2113 and visit www.crt.uconn.edu.
The creative power of the University of Connecticut's Puppet Arts program is on display in the world premiere adaptation of Christina Rossetti's entrancingly atmospheric narrative poem Goblin Market. The production is a collaborative effort between the Puppet Arts program and CRT, combining live actors and puppets onstage together.
Two sisters, in the service of a troubled household, must resist the hypnotic call of seductive goblins who tempt them with luscious fruits and promises of unimagined ecstasies. When one of the sisters is sacrificed to the goblins, her sibling must risk her own life to bargain with the supernatural creatures in order to save her sister from certain demise. With actors, imaginative puppetry and surprising theatrics, Goblin Market promises to weave an enchanting spell around the theme of human connection and disconnection.
Goblin Market was written by MFA Puppet Arts candidate Penny Benson, inspired by the poem published in 1862 by Christina Rossetti. The original poem was bold in its portrayal of women's power and sexuality given the strictures of Victorian social norms. Benson's adaptation blends contemporary values into a fantasy world, weaving the narrative together using the strengths of both actors as well as the puppets.
Penny Benson who is also a professional actor from the Boston area said, "I chose to adapt Rossetti's Goblin Market for the stage because of its rich imagery and the potential inherent in a world where real people interact with magical beings. One of my biggest challenges in writing the play was letting go of my desire to remain true to the poem while creating a community around the two sisters who are the poem's only human characters. What resulted is a play with contemporary themes which, while inspired by the poem, is a completely new work. Even in the early stages of rehearsal, it is remarkable to watch my characters, both human and goblin alike, come to life. How can one resist the goblin's alluring call, "Come buy, come buy!"?"
Director Margarita Blush, a former student of the internationally known puppeteer Nikolina Georgieva, brings another perspective on performance and directing to complement the multi-faceted approach to the play. Bart Roccoberton, Director of the Puppet Arts Program, said of Blush, "Her eastern European sensibility will bring something very different in the way we work. ... Puppetry in Bulgaria is the leading theatrical form in the country. Many of the great directors, film and stage, went through the puppet academy." This production marks Blush's first time directing at CRT since joining the UConn faculty in the fall of 2013.
Blush said, "Our re-envisioned theatrical interpretation of the classical poem Goblin Market has been a collaborative artistic search for themes and ideas that resonate with all of us through time and space and remind us what's most important - our human connection and our ability to empathize, belong, love and remember that each one of us is a thread in a delicately woven tapestry."
THE CREATIVE TEAM
Margarita Blush (Director) was born and grew up in Sofia, Bulgaria. She moved to the U.S. in 1995, where she later became the Outreach Director for the Fort Wayne Dance Collective (FWDC) in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Margarita returned to Bulgaria (2004-2006) and obtained her MFA degree in Directing for Puppet Theatre from the Bulgarian National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts in Sofia, Bulgaria. Margarita moved to Boulder in 2006. In Boulder, Margarita worked as an independent artist and created River Story and The Crane Wife. Both shows won the Encore Award at the Boulder International Fringe Festival (2009 and 2013). In August, 2013, Margarita became a Professor in Directing and Performance in the Puppet Arts at the Puppet Arts Program at University of Connecticut and currently lives in Storrs, CT.
Penny Benson (Playwright, Puppet Designer/Builder, and Asst. Director) is a third year MFA Puppetry candidate. Prior to coming to UConn, she co-produced an original touring production, Starsisters, with UConn Puppet Arts alum Faye Dupras. She also worked as a professional actor and teaching artist in the Boston area with various companies including Underground Railway Theater and the Huntington Theater. Ms. Benson has toured nationally and internationally as an actor and puppeteer, and last year had the privilege of acting in CRT's production of His Girl Friday. Other UConn Puppet Arts productions include Peter and the Wolf and The Keeper of Clark Street, both of which she performed in and Assistant Directed. Ms. Benson is a proud member of Actor's Equity Association.
The Design team includes: Geoff Ehrendreich, Scenic Designer; Xiachen Zhou, Costume Designer; Hayley Kasper, Lighting Designer and Daniel Bria, Sound Designer.
Colleen Labella (Jane) is a Senior BFA Actor. Colleen has been seen on the CRT stage in Punk Rock (Dr. Casey), O Beautiful (Brenda) and Spring Awakening (Adult Woman). Other credits include: The Crucible (Abigail Williams), Doubt (Sister James) and Little Women (Meg March).
Emmett McMullan (Dirk) is a Sophomore BFA Actor. He was seen on the CRT stage in Three Musketeers (Lubin/Musketeer). He played Brett in the upcoming independent film The Trespasser. In 2011, he danced at Judson Church in Everybody's Solo, a piece he helped choreograph with the ensemble led by Athena Kokoronis. Athena Audio Theater company credits include: March (An Expedition to Hording) and Harriman (I Dream of the Stars). Favorite stage credits include: Sextimus (Once Upon a Mattress),The Gentleman Caller (The Glass Menagerie), Dogberry/Antonio (Much Ado About Nothing), and Erronius (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum).
The cast will feature undergraduate actors Alyson Danielczuk, Kaitlyn Gorman, Harrison Haney, Colleen Labella, Emmett McMullan and Brian Sullivan; as well as puppetry students Isaac Bloodworth, Anamaria Craciun, Kalob Martinez, Christopher Mullens and Sarah Nolen.
Please call 860-486-2113 for tickets or for more information. Please call or visit the box office for specific show dates and times because performance schedules vary and are subject to change. Tickets available online at www.crt.uconn.edu.