Photo Flash: ALICE, OR THE SCOTTISH GRAVEDIGGERS at BrooklynÂ's Old Stone
Theater company Polybe + Seats is proud to announce the premiere of the first-ever English translation of Rene Charles Guilbert de Pixérécourt's Alice, or the Scottish Gravediggers. This sinister 1829 French melodrama, translated by Daniel Gerould and directed by Artistic Director Jessica Brater, with additional scenes by Libby Emmons, Avi Glickstein, and Katya Schapiro, will have a limited engagement of 16 performances only beginning Thursday, October 20th as part of the company's year-long residency at the Old Stone House in Park Slope, Brooklyn.
The production runs October 20th-November 13th with performances Thursday-Saturday evenings at 8pm and Sunday afternoons at 3pm.
Alice, or the Scottish Gravediggers centers on Alice, a young serving girl in her aunt's London inn, who becomes infatuated with one of the inn's lodgers, a dashing medical student named Edward. Unfortunately, Edward has competition in the form of another lodger, the wealthy and mysterious Sir Jack Spleen. This love triangle takes a dark turn and, soon, it is not simply Alice's future that is at stake, but her very life. Moving between London and the Scottish Highlands, this highly unconventional melodrama - alternately bizarre, hilarious, and heartbreaking - explores the meaning of "sacrifice." It asks its audience, "What are you willing to give to get what you want?"
Arriving just in time for the Halloween season, Alice, or the Scottish Gravediggers is Pixérécourt's take on one of the most gruesome and notorious scandals of his day - the Burke & Hare murders, in which the victims' corpses were sold for use in medical dissections. Now in turn, while presenting the play in English for the first time anywhere, Polybe + Seats uses Pixérécourt's dark tale of love and betrayal as a jumping-off point to further investigate the play's backdrop- a moment in medical history when doctors and anatomists routinely paid top dollar for the freshest corpses available. Woven into the play will be new material inspired by the practices of body snatching, grave robbing, and even murder, without which many major discoveries in medical science would never have happened. Also, in the tradition of past Polybe + Seats productions, the company will treat the play's venue as an additional character. The Old Stone House's Colonial-era grounds and interior will serve as a canvas on which the production designers will create for the audience an intimate, nontraditional performance space in which to experience this bizarre tale.
The production features Elaine O'Brien, Avi Glickstein, Kate Reilly, Sarah Sakaan, Lindsay Torrey, and Ari Vigoda, has set and prop design by Danielle Baskin, lighting design by Natalie Robin, costume design by Karen Boyer and Bevan Dunbar, sound design and composition by Kate Marvin, choreography by Lindsay Torrey, dramaturgy by Miriam Felton-Dansky, and stage management/assistant direction by Alyson Fortner.
In addition to support provided by the Old Stone House residency, Polybe + Seats's production of Alice, or the Scottish Gravediggers is sponsored, in part, by: the Greater New York Arts Development Fund of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, administered by the Brooklyn Arts Council, Inc. (BAC); the Mental Insight Foundation; and The Nancy Quinn Fund, a project of the Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York (A.R.T./New York). This production will operate under the Actors Equity Showcase Code.
About Polybe + Seats Polybe + Seats, founded in 2001, creates plays and projects that experiment with language, structure, visual imagery, and storytelling. Alice, or the Scottish Gravediggers follows Polybe + Seats' successful run of A Thousand Thousand Slimy Things, presented in residence at the Waterfront Museum and Showboat Barge in Red Hook, Brooklyn. The production was featured on Gothamist, the Huffington Post, and the Brooklyn Rail. NYTheatre.com called it "fascinatingly dramatic" and it was selected as a Voice Choice by the The Village Voice. This followed their 2009 production of Granada - an original commission written by Avi Glickstein for the company - at the Access Theater in Tribeca. The company was selected to premiere a week of plays as part of Suzan Lori- Parks' 365 Days/365 Plays and has produced new works by writers including Sylvan Oswald and Jordan Harrison. 2006's The Charlotte Salomon Project: Life? Or Theater? was a Foundation for Jewish Culture Commission developed in residency at Mabou Mines/Suite. It was produced at Brooklyn Fire Proof in Williamsburg and presented by the University of Michigan at the Walgreen Drama Center in Ann Arbor.
For more information, please visit www.polybeandseats.org.
Photos by Stacey McMath.
Elaine O'Brien and Ari Vigoda
Kate Reilly and Sarah Sakaan
Elaine O'Brien and Ari Vigoda
Ari Vigoda, Kate Reilly, and Lindsay Torrey
Avi Glickstein and Sarah Sakaan