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Blessed Unrest Presents A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Dec 21, 2016 @ 7:30 pm
Adapted by Matt Opatrny
Directed and Choreographed by Jessica Burr
December 21–31, 2016
ELEVEN PERFORMANCES ONLY!
Wednesday-Friday, December 21-23 at 7:30pm
Friday, December 23, at 3:00pm
Saturday, December 24, at 2:00pm
Monday-Friday, December 26-30 at 7:30pm
Saturday, December 31st at 3:00pm
Running time: 95 minutes, no intermission
Back by popular demand after a sold-out 2013 run, Blessed Unrest’s A CHRISTMAS CAROL brings a modern twist to the Dickensian classic. The show will be playing a limited engagement from December 21–31 at New Ohio Theatre (154 Christopher Street, between Greenwich and Washington Streets). Called “inspired and inventive” by The New York Times, this production has been adapted by Matt Opatrny and is choreographed and directed by Jessica Burr. The cast features the downtown favorite J.Stephen Brantley as Ebenezer Scrooge. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at OvationTix at https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/966571 or by calling 866-811-4111.
In Blessed Unrest’s A CHRISTMAS CAROL, the beloved holiday classic meets innovative, socially conscious devised theatre as a tale of a misanthrope’s redemption turns into a critique of an unjust socioeconomic system. Matt Opatrny’s adaptation returns to the little-known origins of the work: A Christmas Carol was created in lieu of a political pamphlet “An Appeal to the People of England on behalf of the Poor Man’s Child,” which Dickens wrote in 1843 but never published. The story focuses on Ebenezer Scrooge’s lonely existence and his life-changing decision to enact positive change in the troubled world around him.
“I love this story, but it’s usually made too easy,” explains playwright Matt Opatrny. “It’s very political and timely, and it highlights the individual responsibility and power to affect change. It’s the story of a person grappling with who they are, how they got there and how to forge a new path. It’s the story of genuinely seeing the people around you, seeing yourself, and choosing to make things better,” he further explains.
Under Jessica Burr’s direction, A CHRISTMAS CAROL becomes a raw, physical, and darkly comic story, while still remaining a family-friendly holiday show. Six performers play thirty-seven characters who speak fluent Dickens, wear quirky costumes… and dance to Lady Gaga.
The cast includes J.Stephen Brantley (best known as the writer and star of the 2008 off-Broadway hit The Jamb), longtime Blessed Unrest’s collaborators Tatyana Kot, Nathan Richard Wagner, and Joshua Wynter (all three recently seen in the critically acclaimed 2016 show Body: Anatomies of Being), Claire Fort, and Becca Schneider.
Blessed Unrest is a Theatre for the Adventurous – a non-profit, ensemble-based, experimental company, generating original works in NYC and touring internationally since 1999. They create safe environments where dangerous things can happen, producing dynamic, disciplined, and exuberant new works for the stage with their diverse ensemble. They teach their approach to physical and devised theatre at universities across the country. Blessed Unrest has received numerous awards, including four NY Innovative Theatre Awards (including the Cino Fellowship for Sustained Excellence) and the LPTW Lucille Lortel Award. The company’s work has been praised for “magnetism and electricity” (TimeOut NY) and “physical ingenuity and visual artistry” (NYTheatre.com). blessedunrest.org
Jessica Burr (Director/Choreographer) is the founding Artistic Director of Blessed Unrest. She was honored with the 2011 Lucille Lortel Award from the League of Professional Theatre Women, in recognition of her work as a director and the body of work that Blessed Unrest has created under her leadership. She received the 2013 New York Innovative Theatre Award for Outstanding Choreography/Movement and was a nominee for the same in 2015. She has directed and choreographed numerous productions and workshops for Blessed Unrest including Body: Anatomies of Being (with the New Ohio Theatre), Lying (2015 IT Award nominee), A Christmas Carol, Eurydice’s Dream (2013 IT Award winner), The Sworn Virgin (with Florent Mehmeti of Teatri Oda, Kosova), The Storm, ArtCamp SexyTime FootBall, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Measure for Measure, the 365Days/365Plays Festival and Doruntine (with Florent Mehmeti). Burr has taught workshops in physical and devised theatre at Centenary College (NJ), Prishtina University (Kosovo), Texas Tech University, and at the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival. She has a degree in theatre and dance from Bard College.
Matt Opatrny (Playwright) is the Founding Managing Director of Blessed Unrest. With Blessed Unrest, Opatrny authored scripts for Body: Anatomies of Being, Hold (2008 NY Innovative Theatre Award for Outstanding Production), Burn, and Crave, and co-wrote The Sworn Virgin and Doruntine (with Teatri Oda). He also co-wrote Eurydice’s Dream, ArtCamp SexyTime FootBall, and co-adapted Lying and Certain Things Which I Will Call Sacred (The Lovers’ Project). Opatrny has taught devised theatre at Texas Tech’s WildWind Performance Lab, and movement and stage combat at Centenary College, The School for Film and TV, Greenwich Academy and Columbia Preparatory. He has trained with the SITI Company and at Clemson University.
J.Stephen Brantley (Scrooge) is an actor, playwright, and the Producing Artistic Director of Hard Sparks. His recent off-Broadway acting credits include the leading role in the 2008 indie hit The Jamb at The Kraine, which he also wrote; The Directors Co. production of Murder In The First at 59E59; and Theatre 167’s Pirira at West End Theater. Brantley has also worked with Big Dance, CapsLock, Cucaracha, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Jewish Plays Project, and many others, and performed at such venues as HERE, LaMaMa, Metropolitan Playhouse, P.S.122, and Soho Rep. He is a graduate of NYU’s Experimental Theatre Wing, an eight-time New York Innovative Theatre Award nominee, and an inductee of the Indie Theatre Hall Of Fame. His other accolades include the Micheál MacLiammóir Award for Best Actor at the 2013 Dublin International Gay Theatre Festival. www.jstephenbrantley.com