Fellow theatre-football-dance enthusiasts — Exciting one-night-only opportunity: This Monday, December 14th @ 7:30 at UMD, WAPAVA inaugurates a new “movie night” series with a FREE showing of its recording of Olney Theater’s 2014 blockbuster premiere of COLOSSAL, plus discussion with some of the artists. If you saw the show, you know how extraordinary it was. If you missed it, here’s your chance to discover what everyone else was raving about.
Structured like a football game – performed in four quarters with a pre-show training session, half-time show, and real-time scoreboard clock – COLOSSAL garnered The Kennedy Center’s Jean Kennedy Smith Playwriting Award, the Edgerton Foundation New American Plays award, and won 4 of its 6 Helen Hayes nominations. Olney brought in world renowned ballet dancer / choreographer Christopher D’Amboise and Synetic Theater’s Ben Cunis to co-choreograph the football plays.
“… Football? With dancing? That’s the unlikely combo as director Will Davis drills a new play hinging on a catastrophic football injury. The strapping all-male cast of 12 wears football pants and tank tops. The room fills with the driving percussion of a drumline, and a half dozen actors begin to move with sharp athleticism. The team dance shifts and evolves, and the choreography — including a pas de deux between a college athlete and his dancer father — tests endurance and sends bodies flying with the rough recklessness of a football game.” – Nelson Pressley.
In his review on DCMetroTheaterArts, Rick Westerkamp said this: “*****Hinderaker’s play, a National New Play Network rolling world premiere, is visually stimulating, as well as emotionally and physically exhausting in the most cathartic way. Colossal brought up a number of questions for me, including but not limited to: What is the cost of love of football, or dance, or of another man? Why is it so hard for us to cause the impetus for physical or societal change, when it feels so good once that change has been set into motion?
If you are looking for an exciting new work to engage with for an evening, with a handful of powerful messages to latch onto, and a number of awe-inspiring choreographed sequences, then look no further than Colossal at Olney Theatre Center.”
Excerpts from Peter Marks review: “…Andrew Hinderaker’s exhilarating new football play. … The actors portraying grunting college linemen and cornerbacks become, in the 75-minute work’s all-too-brief intermezzo, a dance squad, executing staccato moves as explosively as a receiver completing a down-and-out pattern. This is not ‘Gridiron, the Musical.’ It is, rather, a play finding through the laws of physics a thrilling way to tell a story of exquisite pain. [It] wastes not a second in its efforts to dramatize that pain, the suffering of a young football star left paralyzed after a bad block. We’re kept apprised of just how precious every moment is — in life, as in a play — by an overhead scoreboard that ticks down the production’s game-simulating four quarters.
“Davis, D’Amboise and Cunis find in football and dance commensurate intensities that give full expression to the spectrum of Mike’s drives and anguishes. He’s a young man betwixt and between, constantly being jostled and upended by people and feelings. His love of football is a frustrating puzzle to his father (a superb Steve Ochoa), who wants him to stay in the dance company he runs; his love for another player becomes a torment to them both. And the mishap that has immobilized him leaves Mike psychologically fragmented, unable to reconcile himself to the loss of a former identity or begin to assemble a new one.
“D’Amboise, a former principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, brings to a breathless fusion in the halftime segment the worlds that younger Mike has traversed, first through a unison dance by the players and then, in a splendid pas de deux between Carlson and Ochoa. The interlude will be affectingly mirrored at the end of the play, in a beautiful reiteration signaling the older Mike’s halting attempt, in a real sense, to move on. … an aesthetic power that informs the entire evening.”
Here is More information about the production.
PANEL: The post-film discussion will be moderated by UMD’s Dr. Faedra Chatard Carpenter, featuring actors Joseph Carlson and James Whalen, scenic designer Misha Kachman, and videographer T.J. O’Toole.
LOCATION: “WAPAVA Presents: COLOSSAL” will take place at University of MD College Park, in the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, which is directly off University Boulevard. Park free in outdoor lot 1b behind the Center. Inside the Center’s main entrance, turn left, and the Piano Room will be on your right past the box office.
Here are directions.
If you miss this special showing, you can view the recording at UMD or MLK [see below].
Washington Area Performing Arts Video Archive is one of only two such Actors’ Equity-approved performance archives in the U.S. It has been recording and collecting recorded productions of Metro Washington’s live performances since 1993.
Housed at both the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library at the University of Maryland, College Park and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library in downtown DC, the ever-increasing collection of 750 video recordings available for public viewing and serves as a resource for theater professionals, scholars and students.
WAPAVA’s Advisory Committee and Board select productions representative of the wide array of Washington theaters to record and archive, accept recordings by others of local productions, and will record productions selected and funded by others. WAPAVA is funded by a combination of private and federal grants and individual donors.