A note from the President of the ADA Alumni Association:
Happy Holidays to all of our wonderful ADA Alumni! In addition to our Alumni Spotlights on the Adalife Blog, we are delighted to begin circulating our Alumni Newsletter. In this edition of the Alumni Newsletter we catch up with Molly Sides, Louise Mellor and the members of Tut’Zanni Theatre Company. We also have a quick look at several other alumni that have running or upcoming projects in our “What are they up to now?” section.
We are happy to announce that we are planning two alumni reunions in January hosted by Bob Shryock and several alumni in the Chicago and NYC areas. Keep checking in to the Alumni Portion of our new ADA website for more information: http://www.dellarte.it/alumni/
Finally, the Accademia is offering Alumni a discount who want to participate in another ADA program! For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you to all of our alumni for your continued contribution to the ADA community.
Dory Rebekah Sibley
Founding President of the ADA Alumni Association
Thunderpussy Rocks Iceland and the UK
When I say our Alumni are tearing up the scene, I mean they are setting the world on fire! Molly Sides is a Spring 2009 Dance Program Alumna turned lead singer for the Seattle based all women rock band Thunderpussy. Molly is known for her sultry voice and stunning choreography. Thunderpussy is known for their face melting rock. They just headlined in the Iceland Airwaves Festival and finished their first UK tour. Molly took the time to tell us what it was like seeing their article in The Guardian and what is in store for Thunderpussy in 2017:
“I was sitting in our hotel room reading The Guardian when I realized there was ‘Thunderpussy’ in a headline. Definitely did a double take! I was absolutely ecstatic! It’s a great review of an incredible evening. And my-oh-my what a way to kick off our first ever UK tour!
I believe 2017 is going to be an exciting year – especially with the unleashing of the beautiful beast that is our first album! We had the most magical time recording with the sonic genius, Sylvia Massy. We’re scheming away, dreaming big, and going for it! Keep up to date with all the good stuff at www.thunderpussyusa.com”
Alumni Spotlights: Tut’Zanni Edition
Tut’Zanni Theatre Company is an all ADA Alumni Commedia company based out of New York City. Tut’Zanni has been performing and teaching workshops in all parts of the world for the last five years. In 2012, they performed a fundraising show in Little Rock, Arkansas for the Accademia with the help of the Amici dell’Arte. After their southern tour they went on to perform in several Fringe Festivals with rave reviews. Tut’Zanni is in the process of building their 5th show and took the time to tell us what it is like for a group of dreamers that met in 2006 at the Villa Godiola as they grow. Click on the pictures to read their spotlights below:
ALi Landvatter, Founder
Astoria, New York
Dory Rebekah Sibley, Co-Founder
Patrick Berger, Founding Member
Astoria, New York
Liam Mulshine, Founding Member
Molly Tomhave, Founding Member
Allegra Libonati, Founding Member
Louise Mellor was a part of the first MFA in Physical Theatre Cohort at the Accademia dell’Arte. She is now an artist and activist based out of Manchester, England. Louise starting touring Children’s Theatre shows almost immediately after her graduation in 2011. This past summer she was in China starring in “The Jungle Book”:
LOUISE: For a collaboration between the UK based Chapterhouse Theatre Company and Chinese based Milky Way Productions, myself and five other lovely actors were invited to perform the Jungle Book in China. We started in Beijing, worked our way down to Shanghai, Wuhan and Nanjing, and finished all the way South in Shenzhen and Guangzhou. Before we got there, even during rehearsals, we knew very little about what to expect of the tour: what the set would look like; would we have a translator; how would we travel within China; would the audience understand the show?
Communication was, as to be expected and perhaps more so, incredibly difficult. Luckily the Chinese producer spoke English and was with us to translate while at the theatres and traveling between cities. But in our free time we were left to our own devices, where we discovered that many things get miscommunicated and lost translation. As hard as we tried to muster a few essential sentences together with the help of duolingo and a phrase book, a lot of the time we were met with blank, confused stares or fits of giggles. This forces you to fine tune your communication skills, speak clearly, and get creative with gestures. Though you do need to be careful with the gestures, as they often have a totally different meaning to what you may expect. Communicating in Italy during the first few months was difficult, but at least there are some shared linguistic roots. China took feeling like an alien to a whole new league. And I think that the experience of being a misunderstood outsider and the minority is invaluable, particularly for an actor!
What are they up to now?
One of my favorite times of year is when I get to catch up with Alumni and find out what they are doing around the world. Here are just a few:
Peter Pan, Beijing
Allegra Libonati, Resident Director at A.R.T in Boston, is currently in Beijing, China directing an immersive theatre production of Peter Pan. It boasts aerial acts, sword fights, shadow puppetry and larger than life characters. Every audience member chooses their own journey through the different parts of Neverland and becomes the main character in the show. ADA Alumna Julia Miller is the Co-Artistic director of Manual Cinema, which is responsible for the shadow puppetry, musical score, sound design and animation, making this a meeting of ADA worlds!
Starkid, Elsie Fest, Hedwig and The Angry Inch
There are not many places you can go anymore and not hear about Darren Criss. The Spring 2008 Alumnus has certainly made himself a household name. Besides just finishing his starring role in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” he also closed the second year of “Elsie Fest”, a music festival he co-founded and produced. On top of it all, he continues to dream up new adventures with his theater company, “Starkid”. We were delighted to see Darren and catch up with him last summer at the Villa Godiola. Keep shining Starkid!
Keep up with Darren on his website: http://www.darrencriss.com/#live
Anna Gothard and Kate Foster
This past summer, two members of the Anna/Kate Band, Anna Gothard (Fall ’09) and Kate Foster (Spring ’09) flew to Europe to perform in Arezzo, Paris, London and Berlin. A highlight was performing on Berlin’s Christopher Street’s Day- a very gay day for a very gay city. “As ADA Alumni, we were thrilled to return to Arezzo, performing original song-cycles, teaching workshops and giving an impromptu concert at the CrisisArt Festival 2016. We look forward to coming back someday!”
Bämsemble presents The Marvelous Puppet Show, Arezzo
Jon Kellam, Soo Jung Hwang, Melanie Neu
The Marvelous Puppet show is a devised physical theatre performance based on an interlude by Cervantes, by the same name. It is multi-disciplined performance integrating original masks and mask work, live music, circus, acrobatics, a contemporary interpretation of commedia dell’arte we call Superdrama, and of course, puppets.
Alienation, racism, displacement, and the refugee crisis comprise the theme of the story and the international ensemble is composed of performers from Italy, Mexico, Romania, Nepal, Korea, USA, and Great Britain.
Accademia dell’Arte alumnus, Jon Kellam, will direct along with performers, ADA alumni, faculty and associates, Andrea Cavara, Soo Jung Hwang, Magda Pohl, and Melanie Neu.
The premiere production date is targeted for May or June 2017 and will be marketed to tour in the summer of 2017. A training workshop will be offered in conjunction with the performance to professionals and students alike.
The performance will be produced by Zorba Creative Workshops (Milano), in association with the Associazione di Cultura, ReActo Arts (Arezzo) and is now under construction and in residency at Accademia dell’Arte.
Dacha Theatre, Seattle
Dacha just closed an original translation of the Russian play “The Snow Queen” by Evgeny Schwartz. It was translated by Mike Lion and Ethan Wilcox and co-produced by Dacha Theatre and the Lesser-Known Players. Mike directed the show as an immersive piece, very much influenced by Commedia dell’Arte and devised theatre. Dacha Theatre is a new Seattle-based troupe. “We specialize in immersive spectacles, original work, and site-specific productions. We just closed “The Snow Queen” and are moving onto our third production: a version of ‘Twelfth Night’ in which eight actors will learn every role and every night the audience will randomly select which part each actor plays. We hope that this will result in exciting, dynamic discoveries being made in the moment and shared with the audience.” Kate Drummond will direct and Mike will be one of the 8 actors.
TheatreTruck, Western Massachusetts
Brianna is Cofounder of TheatreTruck, a collaboratively run company based in Western MA. TheatreTruck produces mobile and site-specific performance, sustainably and playfully. In the two years since the company launched, we have explored the character of Emily Dickinson in her own home, brought a gender-bending suitcase Commedia show to local festivals, and submerged audiences in an immersive play about the flooding of the Quabbin Resevoir (Boston’s main drinking water source) set to live music. We are currently developing a new work that explores women and women’s bodies in labor and industrialization, ‘The Mill Project’, premiering in Leeds, MA this June. TheatreTruck is woman-owned and led by mothers. TheatreTruck (so far) makes original plays rooted in history.
Learn more about TheatreTruck:
Panda Head Theatre,
Jessica Bryant and Peter Seifarth
In November, Panda Head Theatre attended Charm City Fringe Festival with their original show ‘The Great Invention’ and won the Best of Fringe Award. “We had an awesome time in Baltimore learning about the arts scene in the area, and some of the tricks and trades of fringing. This was our first Fringe experience ever, so we had no idea what to expect. In the end, our number one take-away was that as a Fringe artist you have to really hustle to get good show attendance. It’s super important to talk to as many people as possible about your show–nothing gets people in seats like word of mouth does. In the end, we met a lot of people, successfully premiered our show in the U.S. We hope to have further success touring the show in the future.
The Juniper Fairy
2008 Summer Arts Program Alumna Gina Carli started traveling the country this year performing at Renaissance Festivals as Juniper the Fairy, Twig the Fairy’s little sister. You can find her at Ren Fests in Arizona, Georgia, Colorado, Pittsburgh, and North Carolina. “Like” and “Share” Juniper the Fairy on Facebook to keep up with her adventures!