First Ever WHIDBY REPERTORY FESTIVAL Opens March 16 For Two Weekends

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By: Feb. 28, 2023
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First Ever WHIDBY REPERTORY FESTIVAL Opens March 16 For Two Weekends

Island Shakespeare Festival (ISF) and Whidbey Island Center for the Arts (WICA) present the first ever Whidbey Repertory Festival (WRP) which will take place over the course of two weekends in March (March 16-26) and will feature three solo shows by theatre artists from around the world. Below you will find the schedule of rotation for each of the shows, which is different each weekend.

According to festival organizers, the Whidbey Repertory Festival is a collaboration that offers a time and place for both these local theater companies to delve deeper into the human experience and to figure out what it means to create theatre in these fraught times. It also offers both organizations a chance to collaborate outside its own boundaries and thus to create a stronger community of artists who can learn from and inspire one another.

Opening night, Thursday, March 16, will be a special event with a community conversation moderated by former WICA Executive Director and longtime theater artist and Langley resident Vito Zingarelli, speaking with Executive Artistic Directors, Deana Duncan (WICA) and Olena Hodges (ISF), before launching into the first performance of the festival: a screening of the filmed theater performance of "The Book of Sirens" by artists from Kyiv, Ukraine.

"The Book of Sirens" was created by the Art Shelter/ProEnglish Theatre company who transformed their theater space into a bomb shelter in March 2022 when Russian forces began the attack on Ukraine one year ago. The piece became an international symbol of cultural resistance and promotes culture as a main weapon in the fight for basic human values. The story is partly based on "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak and "Forgotten We Shall Be" by Héctor Abad Faciolince. It is directed by Alex Borovenskiy, the company's founder, with Anabell Ramires as Lisel. The show also aims to memorialize the experience of the company's life in a bomb shelter through that ominous month of March and share it with the world to create a better understanding of each other. "The Book of Sirens" premiered in Kyiv on April 9, 2022, with 15 people watching it in the shelter and thousands watching it online. The show is currently touring in Germany in order to continue its mission of raising awareness about the war in Ukraine started by the terrorist state of Russia.

Tickets for this evening can be found here: https://tickets.wicaonline.org/TheatreManager/1/login?event=1983

Next on the bill is "I Am Playing Me" by Hannah Fontes. This cabaret showcases musical theater songs and stories from Fontes' life as a young woman in 2023: including love, loss, boyfriends, best friends, mammas, tears, and laughter. Hannah is an actor, singer, aerialist, and arts administrator based in Flagstaff, Arizona. She has lived and worked all over the country as an actor and specializes in Shakespeare, musical theater and movement. The set list includes songs from popular golden era musicals such as "South Pacific," as well as more modern musical theater shows and song cycles. Fontes hopes you'll leave the performance reminded that life is messy, but beautiful.

Get tickets for "I Am Playing Me" here: https://tickets.wicaonline.org/TheatreManager/1/login?event=1982

The third offering of the WRF is "Thoreau at Home" written by poet and novelist David Wagoner, directed by Richard E.T. White and performed by Todd Jefferson Moore. Working from Thoreau's journals, Wagoner has crafted a vivid portrait of encounters with birds, animals, plants and weather among the remarkably varied landscapes around Concord, Massachusetts, Thoreau's beloved home and home to the famous Walden Pond, which inspired one of the author's most famous works, "Walden." Thoreau believed that cities were saved, not by the good men in them, but by the forests and swamps around them. He recognized the dangers of an exclusively commercial America and tried to show in all his words and actions, in the whole flavor of his life, a richer alternative.

Get tickets for "Thoreau at Home" here: https://tickets.wicaonline.org/TheatreManager/1/login?event=1984

The two-weekend repertory schedule is as follows:

· 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 16: The festival will kick-off with a community conversation with the organizers followed by a screening of "The Book of Sirens."

· 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 17: "I Am Playing Me"

· 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 18: "Thoreau at Home"

· 2:00 p.m. Sunday, March 19: "I Am Playing Me"

· 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 23: "The Book of Sirens"

· 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 24: "Thoreau at Home"

· 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 25: "I Am Playing Me"

· 2:00 p.m. Sunday, March 26: "Thoreau at Home"

Single weekend passes are available for each weekend. For more info, visit the WICA website at www.wicaonline.org/wrf. For more info on Island Shakespeare Festival, visit https://www.islandshakespearefest.org/.




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