The festival begins with an Alaskan premiere. From the writer of "Godspell" and "Pippin" comes a sizzling re-imagination of the story of Genesis, giving a modern voice to a timeless story with "Children of Eden."
For the second show, puppets, masks and Alaska Native stories collide in this Haida/English language play. Students are building their own original masks and puppets as they explore the story of "The Woman Carried Away by the Killer Whales," a tale of a young man who goes on an incredible undersea journey to rescue his wife. This play has been commissioned in partnership with Sealaska Heritage Institute.
Courtesy photo From left: Taylor Vidic, Miciana Hutcherson, Laurel Araki and De'Andre King of STAR rehearse the snake scene in "Children of Eden."
STAR is Perseverance Theatre's five-week acting program providing intensive theatrical training to youth who are excited about theatre. Class sizes are small for personalized instruction with each group comprised of students within their age group. Acceptance into the program is by audition, interview and/or recommendation. The program culminates in a festival of theatre performed by youth.
Karin Abromaitis, STAR's resident movement instructor, is a performer, director, choreographer, teacher, playwright, and potter. Her classes in physical performance skills for the actor are presented regularly throughout the Washington, DC metro area. She is in the company of Membrane Ensemble Theatre, and an Artistic Associate of Horizons Theatre. She is on the faculties of George Washington University, Georgetown University and the Theatre Lab, and has traveled around the country leading teacher development workshops for the Kennedy Center since 1999. Abromaitis has done fight choreography, and movement consulting and coaching for many DC theatres, including ACTCo, Theatre J, Horizons Theatre, YPT, Woolly Mammoth, Quest, Imagination Stage and Tsunami, as well as George Washington and Georgetown Universities. Some of her favorite fights include "Gris Gris," "Porcelain," "Heaven," "Big Love," "Shakespeare's Dog," "Summertime," "The Illusion," "Twelfth Night" and "The Wild Party." Abromaitis will be teaching stage combat, movement, mime, mask and maybe even a little juggling.
Courtesy photo Students participate in acting exercise for Shakespeare's "Merry Wives of Windsor" in the STAR program.
When not performing Remington designs lighting, sound, sets and props for small theaters and cabarets. He spent three years as the Resident Designer for the Algonquin's "Oak Room."
He left the Oak room to become part of the original company of "The Lion King" on Broadway.
He has built puppets for "Little Shop of Horrors," "Avenue Q," and "Crank Yankers." While at "Lion King" he co-created "The Pride Rock Project" for Disney and American express. "The Project," documented by the "BRAVO" channel, taught inner city kids African song, rhythm, dance and story telling. Each classroom created their own original folktale.
The experience culminated with all 3,400 children attending performances of "The Lion King."
Since then Remington has been touring the Nation with "Puppet Camp" an abridged version of the same educational/creative experience. With "Lion King" cast member Thuli Dumakude, Remington helped found "Naledy YA!" a company that supports South African women and families touched by the AIDS epidemic.
Abby Gerdts, the director for "Merry Wives of Windsor," is a New York City based actress, director and teacher of the arts. Directing and acting credits in New York and Los Angeles include "Loves Labors Lost," "Translations," "Ugly," "Midsummer Night's Dream," "Cherry Orchard," "Julius Caesar," "The Crucible" and "Twelfth Night."
She has also worked all over the country and abroad in South Africa, The Dominican Republic, and Haiti as an arts educator, bringing arts programming to underserved communities.
She is a graduate of the Juilliard School's Drama Division and is the founder and program manager of Artists Striving to End Poverty, a non-profit organization dedicated to eradicate poverty through the power of the arts. www.createsomethinggood.org.
Roger Benington was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. He holds an MFA in Theatre Directing from the University of Utah and was awarded The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation's Young Artist Fellowship to study directing at The Juilliard School with JoAnne Akalaitis, Michael Kahn, and Garland Wright.