NACL Theatre to Premiere Immersive COURAGE on Governors Island

By: Sep. 06, 2017

NACL Theatre (North American Cultural Laboratory) premieres COURAGE, based on Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage and her Children, a site specific, immersive theatrical journey on Governors Island, September 22-24, 2pm. Film actress Debra Winger joins the 25-member cast in a cameo role.

COURAGE is an immersive walking journey set inside an imagined refugee camp occupied by a military on stilts and populated by a host of characters that the audience encounters along the way. COURAGE is based on Bertolt Brecht's 1939 anti-war classic "Mother Courage and Her Children," written in response to the devastating rise of fascism in Europe. NACL's musical and spectacular version tells the story of a mother searching for her missing son and advocates for empathy and compassion in an era of fear, displacement, and crisis.

Conceived and directed by NACL artistic director, Tannis Kowalchuk (also in the title role), with music composed by Rima Fand (Luminescent Orchestrii), text by Mark Dunau (Glass, The Weather Project), Melissa Bell (Devil And The Deep), dramaturgy by Mimi McGurl, COURAGE is a Moving Theatre experience created and performed by a cast of 25 performers with actress/activist Debra Winger in the role of BB.

When asked about her participation in COURAGE, she offers: "COURAGE couldn't be a more timely theatre project. I am joining the production because Tannis Kowalchuk and the work she is doing with NACL is exactly what communities come to the theater for: to understand more about the 'real' world through timeless theater. The message of COURAGE is urgent and powerful. NACL is on the front lines of the fight to keep the arts as one of the foremost ways to lift people up out of a sea of despair to look around them and understand what we must do." Ms. Winger portrays BB, a character that appears throughout the performance, invoking the spirit and words of playwright Bertolt Brecht.

The cast also includes actors Jessica Lopez-Barkl, Jessica Beverage, Bradley Diuguid, Brett Hughes, Oliver King, Tannis Kowalchuk, Simon Kowalchuk-Swartz, Daniel Lendzian, Nick Lopez, Keith McHenry, John Roth, and Yurika Sase. The Stilt Corps includes Gregg Erickson, Corinna Grunn, Adrianne Picciano, Jon Jon Thomas and Tyler Young, Michael Chojnicki. Chorus of Women Refugees include Melissa Bell, Tracy Broyles, Rebekah Creshkoff, Rocky Davis, RaeAnn Handshy, Annie Hat, and Nancy Peterman. Featuring musicians Rima Fand, Zoe Christiansen and Doug Rogers. Costumes are by Karen Flood. Props by Sue Currier. Production Manager is Brad Krumholz (NACL co-artistic director). Stage Management by Aubrey Ellis. Technical Direction by Zoot, and Brett Keyser on Tech/web.

NACL Theatre, now its 20th year, is an ensemble based in the southwestern Catskills region of NY. The company has created over 20 original works (STRUCK, The Little Farm Show, The Weather Project) and is a recipient of an NEA Our Town award. COURAGE, in development for two years, recently concluded sold out performances at Apple Pond Farm in Callicoon Center, NY. Next year, NACL will produce The New York City premiere of Shakespeare's Will by Vern Thiessen at HERE with performer Tannis Kowalchuk and musician Rima Fand.

NACL is supported by public funds from New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and The New York State Legislature, Sullivan County Arts and Heritage; private and foundation support from NACL Salt of the Earth Donors Circle; Bronze Sponsors: Apple Pond Farm, Rent-Equip, The River Reporter, Veria Lifestyle, The Western Supper Club and Inn, WJFF Radio, Yonderbarn; Iron Sponsors: Barryville Farmers Market, Catskill Brewery, Catskill Distillery, Foster Supply Hospitality, Homestead School, Norcross Wildlife Foundation; and many individual donors.