(ANNANDALE-on-HUDSON, N.Y.) – The Bard SummerScape Festival returns this week with the first of two world premieres. “Fantasque,” a major new commission for dance and puppetry that marks the first collaboration between two significant creative artists, opens the festival on Friday, July 1. Bard’s new ballet, geared to audiences of all ages, pairs original choreography from Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award-winner John Heginbotham, with puppetry and design by longstanding doyenne of the puppet theater world Amy Trompetter, set to the music of Respighi and Rossini (July 1–3).
“Demolishing Everything with Amazing Speed” (1917), four puppet plays by leading Italian Futurist Fortunato Depero, as newly rediscovered, translated, designed, and directed by Obie and Bessie Award-winning artist Dan Hurlin, begins its run on Thursday, July 7, with the first performance almost a full century after its creation. Hurlin’s production combines traditional bunraku puppetry techniques with state-of-the-art technology – from 3-D printing to sound sampling – and a live score by Tony Award-nominated composer/sound designer Dan Moses Schreier (July 7–17).
The opening week also brings cabaret from Isaac Mizrahi (July 1) and Mx. Justin Vivian Bond (July 2), plus live jazz from The Jazzmeia Horn Ensemble (July 7), in Bard’s Belgian Spiegeltent, where dining is available throughout SummerScape 2016.
Dance: world premiere of Fantasque (2016)
Choreographer John Heginbotham – the founder and Artistic Director of Dance Heginbotham – previously appeared at SummerScape as a member of the Mark Morris Dance Group, and it was he who choreographed last year’s hit production of Oklahoma! As the New York Times affirms, he has “a true theater artist’s instinct for commanding his audience.” Together with a cast of dancers and puppeteers, his new ballet features larger-than life, custom-designed puppets by Amy Trompetter, who won acclaim with Bread and Puppet Theater before founding Hudson Valley’s own Redwing Blackbird Theater. This year’s Bard Music Festival celebrates “Giacomo Puccini and His World,” and the score for Fantasque is drawn from the works of two major Italian composers: orchestral excerpts from Ottorino Respighi’s La Boutique fantasque intermingle with the piano pieces by Gioachino Rossini that inspired them.
Click here to see video trailers for Fantasque.
Theater: world premiere of Demolishing Everything with Amazing Speed (1917)
One of Italian Futurism’s key figures was Fortunato Depero (1892-1960), author of the manifesto “Futurist Reconstruction of the Universe” and designer of the iconic Campari Soda bottle. In a groundbreaking discovery during his recent fellowship at the American Academy in Rome, Hudson Valley-based puppet artist Dan Hurlin – the recipient of Obie and Bessie Awards, the Rome Prize, and a Guggenheim fellowship – unearthed Depero’s four puppet plays, which date from the height of World War I. Gathered together as Demolishing Everything with Amazing Speed, these short, wordless dramas are packed with surreal imagery and represent a masterful marriage of playful whimsy with violence and menace. For Bard’s world premiere presentation, Hurlin reunites with his longtime creative producer MAPP International Productions and creative partners Dan Moses Schreier (composer) and Tom Lee (media designer), all of whom collaborated with him on such previous projects as 2009’s Disfarmer, which Variety calls “moving, poignant and hilarious, … a wonder.”