Tectonic Theater Project's TALLEST TREE IN THE FOREST to Open at La Jolla Tonight
Tectonic Theater Project launches THE TALLEST TREE IN THE FOREST world premiere production co-produced by Kansas City Rep and La Jolla. The world premiere opened on September 6th at KC Rep, and will open tonight, October 13 in La Jolla Playhouse. The run will continue in early 2014 at Washington DC's Arena Stage and the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles.
Written and performed by Obie-winner Daniel Beaty (Emergency, Through the Night, Mr. Joy) and directed by Tony-nominee Moisés Kaufman (The Laramie Project, Broadway's The Heiress, 33 Variations, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo), Tallest Tree is a play with music about the life of one of the most dynamic figures in American history- Paul Robeson.
Tectonic Theater Project, Beaty and Kaufman have been developing the piece since 2011. During that period the play has received multiple workshops, and was selected by the Guggenheim for its 'Works & Process' Series. Employing multi-character transformation, monologues, narrative scenes, heightened poetry, and video footage of the era, this theatrical work explores the evolution of Robeson as an artist/activist, his humanity, his courage, his contradictions, and why many call him the "Tallest Tree in the Forest." Robeson was a scholar, an athlete, an activist, a vocalist, and an actor on stage and screen. Born the son of a slave, he was celebrated by the elite and rose to the heights of fame as the voice of the everyman around the world. Then, he saw it all put into question during the McCarthy era, as questions of his Communist leanings plagued his reputation and career.
The Tallest Tree in the Forest marks Tectonic's first collaboration with Beaty. "Working with Moisés on this work has been an extraordinary process of experimenting with form, asking challenging questions, and being relentless in our efforts to create a theatrical experience that endeavors to mirror the complexity and richness of its subject. Moisés and the entire Tectonic family have been amazing collaborators," said Beaty.
Kaufman said, "Daniel is one of the most brilliant artists working today in American Theater and I was thrilled when he approached me about The Tallest Tree. As a writer and performer he gets to the heart of his characters through fearless exploration. Collaborating with Daniel for over two years has allowed us to envelop ourselves into Robeson's immense world."
Tectonic Theater Project's Executive Director Erika S. Floreska said, "The Tallest Tree in the Forest was developed by two world-class artists. We feel privileged to be collaborating with theatrical institutions like Kansas City Repertory, La Jolla Playhouse, Arena Stage and the Mark Taper Forum to bring The Tallest Tree to the American Stage. I think audiences are going to be inspired by the scope and power within this work."
The Tallest Tree in the Forest World Premiere Presentation: