STAGE TUBE: Sneak Peek - Four Clowns' SUBLIMITY at United Solo Festival
Take the sordid life of one of England's best-known Romantic authors. Mix in some brazen audience interaction and a taste of classic clowning. Add a dash of opium and one of the best-known poems in the English language, and what do you get? Answer: Sublimity, the extraordinary creation of writer/co-director and performer David Bridel, coming to the United Solo Festival in New York on Theatre Row (42nd Street), October 5th, 2013 at 2pm. Click below for a sneak peek at the production!
Bridel plays Samuel Taylor Coleridge - addict, fool, and genius - whose bizarre efforts to complete his masterpiece, Kubla Khan form the heart of this love-letter to creativity and the toll it takes on our emotional lives. "Coleridge was indisputably brilliant, a writer of astonishing vision and by all accounts a magnetic character," says Bridel from his home in Los Angeles, CA, where he runs The Clown School and is an Associate Dean in the School of Dramatic Arts at the University of Southern California. "But he could barely survive his own follies. I've always been fascinated by the relationship between inspiration and self-destruction - and Coleridge is the perfect case-study. I just couldn't resist the chance to explore the role."
Playing the wayWard Coleridge is a striking new venture for Bridel, whose body of work has taken him to all corners of the world, but always on the other side of the footlights. As a writer and director, of his own work and the classics, he has garnered acclaim from his native UK to Israel to both coasts of the USA; the LA Times describes him as "the real thing, one of the most ambitious, scholarly, and vastly challenging voices on the current theatrical scene." His choreography credits range from operas such as Salome in Munich and Ariadne Auf Naxos in LA, both directed by Academy-Award winner William Friedkin, to the recent international smash-hit Il Postino, starring Placido Domingo, which has enjoyed sold-out runs in LA, Paris, Vienna, Mexico City, Santiago, and Madrid. Meanwhile Bridel has traveled extensively in the US, China, Australia, and Brazil, spreading the gospel of clowning and connecting The Clown School with many heavyweights in the field, including David Shiner, Philippe Gaulier, and LUME Teatro. His productions have twice been nominated for the LA Weekly Theatre Awards; he is the winner of an Entertainment Weekly Special Events Award for his commedia dell'arte direction in The School of Night at the Mark Taper Forum, and an Anna Sosenko Award for Musical Theatre; and he was recently awarded a prestigious Zumberge Grant to fund the first stages of his ambitious project Clowns Across Continents. He is a published playwright and has even contributed a lengthy article to American Theatre Magazine. And yet, despite his fever of theatrical activity, Sublimity marks the first time he has trodden the boards as a professional actor. The new venture seems to be working out well; at the First International Drama Festival in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where Sublimity received its international premiere last year, Festival Director Tiara Aronovich described the performance as "a tour de force - a unique and magical experience."
Helping Bridel to negotiate the shift from off-stage to on is frequent collaborator and partner-in-clowning Jeremy Aluma, the Artistic Director of the wildly successful, multi-award-winning LA-based theatre troupe Four Clowns - many of whose members have studied at Bridel's The Clown School. "Our two organizations are linked in a lot of ways," Aluma notes during a break in rehearsal, where he and Bridel are co-directing Sublimity together. "We're both committed to exploring a very free style of clowning, with a lot of creative license and a desire to follow our instincts." Sublimity is a Four Clowns production, and Bridel was recently named Associate Director of the company. "We both feel there's a lot of potential in our collaboration," says Aluma. "And Sublimity has given us the confidence to keep exploring the idea of clowning from many different perspectives."
Their production promises just that; a wholly original and unique investigation into the life and art of a poet with the tragic heart of a clown - performed by 'first-time veteran' Bridel in this notable debut.
Sublimity plays at the United Solo Festival at Theatre Row in New York on October 5th at 2pm, 410 W 42nd Street, NY NY 10036. Tickets available through Telecharge or www.fourclowns.org.