STRUCK Begins Performances Tonight at HERE
NACL announced the New York premiere of STRUCK, its new performance about neurology, the workings of the mind, and one woman's walk on the razor's-edge between life and death. STRUCK was co-created by NACL Artistic Director and actress Tannis Kowalchuk, who suffered a major stroke in 2011. In collaboration with fellow NACL actor Brett Keyser, neuroscientist Allison Waters, New York playwright Kristen Kosmas and Canadian director Ker Wells, STRUCK was created as a response to that close brush with mortality.
Following an acclaimed world premiere production at Cleveland Public Theatre in March 2013, STRUCK will have its New York City premiere at HERE (145 6th Avenue, entrance on Dominick St. - one block south of Spring St.) beginning Thursday, December 5th. Presented by NACL in association with Cleveland Public Theatre and Arnold and Roberta Krumholz, STRUCK will be presented December 5th - 21st. The Press Opening is Sunday, December 8th. Tickets, priced at $20.00, are available by calling HERE at 212-352-3101, or online at here.org.
This production is a part of SubletSeries@HERE, HERE's curated rental program, which provides artists with subsidized space and equipment, as well as technical support.
In 2011, NACL Artistic Director Tannis Kowalchuk had a major stroke. To augment her rehabilitation therapy, Kowalchuk devised her own theatre physical therapy in an attempt to regain her abilities and skills as a performer, musician, and stilt walker. The exercise regimes that she practiced to re-find her "performer self" was what planted the seeds for STRUCK. What emerged is an exploration of how the brain and body look for meaning, struggle to communicate, and recover and re-discover the sense of "self" following a stroke.
Bridging the domains of art and science, STRUCK is a visual and poetic performance that incorporates video, a live and recorded musical score, and a custom-designed light installation based on the night-sky displays of the aurora borealis (or northern lights, a natural wonder common above Kowalchuk's childhood home in Winnipeg, Canada). These man-made northern lights illuminate the journey of the protagonist, Catherine (played by Kowalchuk), while echoing the electrical impulses of her brain as she encounters a shape-shifting angel figure (played by Mr. Keyser) and a neurologist (played by Ms. Waters). At times wrenching, often humorous, the play attends to Catherine's urgent questions "What happened to my brain? Am I a new me?" Through an intricately looped narrative crafted by Kowalchuk, Keyser, Kosmas, Wells, and Waters, the play takes audiences inside the stroke victim's brain as its protagonist searches for understanding and identity, while grappling with the basic struggle to exist.
STRUCK also includes the work of a multi-disciplinary roster of artists and engineers including: costume designer Karen Flood, New York City lighting designer Stephen Arnold, digital artist Brian Caiazza, Canadian lighting engineer and inventor Jim Ruxton, filmmaker Tina Spangler, technical director Zoot (of Woodstock Stage and Screen), technicians Joe Murray and Ray Cornelison, and designers Pam Mayer and Hall Smyth.
NACL (North American Cultural Laboratory) is based in Highland Lake, NY, a rural community in the Upper Delaware Valley and southern Catskills. Since 1997, the company has created original theatre performances that tour nationally. The ensemble also operates a theatre venue, cultural center, and an active artists' residence. The company's mission is to build a culture of creativity through the creation and presentation of innovative performing arts, socially relevant cultural events, and educational programs. The company is the recipient of a recent NEA Our Town grant, for its next project-a massive community arts and science project about weather and climate change entitled The Weather Project.
STRUCK will be performed at HERE Thursday, December 5 - Saturday, December 21, 2013. The performance schedule is Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8:30 pm and Sundays at 4:00 pm.