PRESS RELEASE December 20, 2004 CONTACTS: John Michael Kennedy Rita McAteer Director of Public Relations Director of Marketing 617-273-1537 617-273-1524 TALES OF BOSTON NEIGHBORHOODS, TOLD THROUGH DRAMA, MUSIC, DANCE, AND VISUAL ART Huntington’s Story Telling for the Ages (STAGES) Program Debuts New Play WHAT: The Huntington Theatre Company Education Department presents Hinges Keep a City: Neighborhood Stories WHEN: January 14-23, 2005 Fri., Jan 14 @ 8 p.m. Thu., Jan 20 @ 8 p.m. Sat., Jan 15 @ 3 and 8 p.m. Fri., Jan 21 @ 11 a.m.*† and 8 p.m. Sun., Jan 16 @ 3▼ and 8 p.m. Sat. Jan 22 @ 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.*▼ Sun., Jan 23 @ 3 p.m. * Audio-described performance for the blind † Student matinee performance ▼ Post-show discussion WHERE: Nancy and Edward Roberts Studio Theatre, Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street MBTA: Orange Line to Back Bay, #46 bus from Park Street, #9 bus from South Boston TICKETS: Free, but tickets required for admission. Tickets available by phone at 617-266- 0800, online at www.HuntingtonTheatre.org or www.BostonTheatreScene.com or in person at Calderwood Pavilion Box Office (527 Tremont St.) and Boston University Theatre Box Office (264 Huntington Ave.) INFORMATION (BOSTON) -- A new play detailing the history, people and stories of four historic Boston neighborhoods runs January 14-23, 2005 at the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts. Titled Hinges Keep a City: Neighborhood Stories, the play is produced by the Huntington Theatre Company Education and Outreach Department’s Storytelling for the Ages (STAGES) program, in association with the Boston Center for the Arts. STAGES, page 2 of 4 “STAGES is an innovative community arts initiative that combines oral history with the performing and visual arts,” says Huntington Education and Outreach Director Donna Glick. “Through this process we gather the stories of young people and elders from Boston neighborhoods and with the help of professional artists, transform those stories into new works of art,” Glick says. Glick says the goal of STAGES is to forge connections between divergent Boston communities, and to promote understanding between generations across a spectrum of neighborhoods where the Huntington does its work. Also, she hopes that by working with professional artists, residents will find a unique perspective on their lives and those of their neighbors. The 2005 production is the third iteration of the STAGES program. This edition of the program was designed as part of the Huntington’s inaugural year celebration for the new Calderwood Pavilion facility. THE PLAY Hinges weaves together a quilt-like narrative of stories based on real people who lived in Boston during the 20th century. The central character, Lynnette, a modern-day young woman, interacts with a wide range of characters who, through monologues and short scenes, recount their experiences in living, working, and raising families in the community. Characters with varied ethnic backgrounds relive what life was like in Boston neighborhoods during the past century. “Memories, transitions, and legacies are explored throughout the play,” Glick says, “and the characters portrayed are drawn from real people who lived their lives here.” The play centers on social issues facing these neighborhoods too, from racial integration and racial tension to socioeconomic disparity and gentrification. Original music and choreography based on ethnic dances and sounds punctuate the show, whose sets are based on paintings inspired by the neighborhoods. THE ARTISTIC PROCESS During the development process of Hinges, Huntington educators conducted and transcribed nearly 300 pages of oral history interviews with residents from the South End, Fenway, Mission Hill, and Lower Roxbury. These transcripts were turned over to a team of professional artists who teased out common themes, focused in on the most compelling stories and fleshed out a narrative storyline. The artistic team include playwright Kirsten Greenidge, theatre director Judy Braha, visual artist Chandra Dieppa Ortiz, composer Hugh Hinton, and the Bennett Dance Company led by dancer/ choreographer Christine Bennett. Early drafts of the play and each of its artistic components (visual art, dance, music) were presented in community forums that provided feedback, which was incorporated into the final work. A staged reading of the play was held for community members in October 2004. Playwright Greenidge found the collaborative process to be exhilarating and creatively challenging. “The task for me, and all the artists, was to be true to the 15 people whose stories we were using, and to present their lives and conflicts in a dramatic way,” she says. Greenidge says her biggest challenge was to limit the number of characters in the play and find ways for these very different people to interact and talk to each another. “I combined several storytellers together to create composite characters, and in one instance, gave one man’s stories to several different characters,” she says. THE CAST AND PRODUCTION STAFF Members of the Hinges cast and production staff are all Boston-based, and include a mix of professional artists, high school and college students, and community members. The production design team includes several Boston University graduate and undergraduate students: STAGES, page 3 of 4 Jonalis Carrasquillo – Lynnette Chuck Galle – Pat Keith Mascoll – Xavier Rubio Qian – Jenna Fred Robbins – Arthur Frank Shefton – Orlando Sylvia Ann Soares – Amalia/Ida Forrest Walker -- John Tijana Bjelajac – Set Design (BU Student) Christine Alger – Costume Design (professional designer) Steven McIntosh – Lighting Designer (BU Student) Ben Emerson – Sound Design (Huntington staff) Jillian Oliver – Stage Manager (BU Student) TICKETS Performances of Hinges Keep a City: Neighborhood Stories are free and open to the general public. Patrons must have physical tickets to be assured admission. Tickets can be acquired in person at the Calderwood Pavilion Box Office, 527 Tremont Street, or the BU Theatre Box Office, 264 Huntington Avenue. The Box Offices open daily at 12 noon. All 617-266-0800 for the weekly schedule. SPONSORS The Presenting Sponsor of Hinges Keep a City: Neighborhood Stories is The Boston Globe Foundation, which has provided major funding for the project. The National Endowment for the Arts provided additional support. # # # Huntington Education Director Donna Glick and artists participating in Hinges are available for interviews about the show. Contact John Michael Kennedy or Rita McAteer for more information. Working and technical rehearsals may be available to TV cameras and still photographs; please call for an updated schedule. Please note that these performances are not being made available for review, but members of the media are invited to attend. STAGES, page 4 of 4 PROFESSIONAL ARTIST BIOGRAPHIES Judy Braha, Director Braha has been a director, teacher, actor, and arts advocate for over two decades. She is a founding member of the South End’s New Ehrlich Theater, where she has directed many award- winning productions. She is currently head of the M.F.A. Directing Program at Boston University’s School of Theater Arts. Braha also was a member of the Board of StageSource for its first six years and received a citation from the New England Theatre Conference in 1992 for contributions to the theatre. Christine Bennett, Bennett Dance Company Bennett Dance Company (BDC), led by choreographer and Artistic Director Christine Bennett, is a not-for-profit organization committed to dance as a positive, empowering, and collaborative art form. The group focuses on collaborations with artists working in other media, and its performances blend modern dance with sculpture, photography, martial arts, and original music. YouthWorks, a BDC outreach program, offers young people an opportunity to work closely with a company of professional dancers, which helps participants build confidence while learning new physical skills. Hugh Hinton, The Core Ensemble Hinton is Artistic Advisor for The Core Ensemble, a nationally acclaimed trio of cello, piano, and percussion that develops and performs cultural works to use as a tool for educating and informing. Works include The Silken Phoenix, a celebration of the life, times, and works of three of Asia’s greatest women poets; Tres Vidas, based on the lives of three legendary Latin American women; and Of Ebony Embers, an exploration of the life and times of African Americans who shaped the Harlem Renaissance. Hinton is a pianist with the ensemble and active in the group’s programs at public schools, after-school sites, and community centers. He is also a piano teacher at Longy School of Music. Kirsten Greenidge, Playwright A native of Arlington, Massachusetts, Greenidge’s most recent play, Sans-Culottes in the Promised Land was produced at the 2004 Humana Festival of New Plays in Louisville, along with a commissioned piece entitled Fast and Loose: An Ethical Collaboration. In early 2004 she served on the National Selection Team for the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival, and more recently served as Featured Guest Playwright at the Vermont Young Playwrights Festival. She’s been commissioned by South Coast Repertory (in 2002 and 2003), and her work has been presented at the Boston Theatre Marathon, Playwrights Horizons, New Dramatists, Sundance Theatre Retreat at Ucross, Mark Taper Forum, Boston’s Women On Top, the O’Neill Theatre Center and many more. She is currently playwright-in-residence with P.73 Productions, and is developing Yes, Please, and Thank You. She attended Wesleyan University and the University of Iowa where she was a Barry Kemp Fellow. Chandra Dieppa Ortiz, Visual Artist Ortiz is an interdisciplinary artist/educator whose work combines paintings, mixed media collage, and other works on paper that weave together issues of race, class, gender, and culture to create a dialogue between communities and generations, and further the arts for teaching and learning. A few of her recent exhibitions include Watergate Show (Washington DC, 2003); Black Arts Movement Conference (Cambridge, MA, 2001), ARTcetra (Boston Center for the Arts, 2000); NEWOCA 99: Sister and Brothers (Harriet Tubman Gallery, Boston, 1999); New Members Show (Copley Society of Boston, 1999); Common Ground (Pan-African Historical Museum, Springfield, MA, 1999); MOCAA (Clifford Smith Gallery, Boston, 1998) and more. She has developed numerous projects including Studio Kids!, an arts program for homeless youth.
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