(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) – “Club Diamond,” a multimedia theater piece, will have a work-in-progress showing in Club B-10 at MASS MoCA on Friday, December 9, at 8pm, as part of the annual Sundance Institute Theatre Lab at the venue. “Club Diamond,” created and written by Saori Tsukada and Nikki Appino, paints the story of a young woman traveling alone from Tokyo to New York City in search of fame, rendering a single narrative through silent film, illustration, and live animation, paired to Tim Fain’s delicate violin composition.
The hour-long piece, performed in English and Japanese, is scheduled to premiere at the Public Theatre in New York City in January, 2017.
Drawing from Tsukada’s background in Japanese storytelling and Appino’s experience with American film, “Club Diamond” unfolds with a cross-cultural blend of mediums and storytelling techniques. In 1937 Tokyo, an American silent film about a Japanese immigrant is live-narrated by a celebrated Benshi whose existence is being threatened by the impending arrival of the talkies. Ten years later, he will survive under US occupation as a street performer, desperately attempting to finish this story. “Club Diamond” is a modern take on the immigration tale.
Saori Tsukada, a Japanese theater artist, was raised in Tokyo, where she studied classical ballet and gymnastics. She moved to New York City at the turn of the century, where she has since worked with artists Aya Ogawa, YoshikoChumna, Vintage DJ, and Katja Loher. Most recently, Tsukada collaborated extensively with celebrated composer John Moran. She has been described by the New York Times as a “startlingly precise dancer” and by Backstage as a “charismatic mover.”
Nikki Appino is an award-winning American media and theater artist. Fascinated by writing, directing, and producing, she established her directing career at many West Coast theaters, including ACT in Seattle, Portland Repertory Theater, Berkeley Rep, and Northwest New Works Festival. She moved to New York City in 1991 after receiving the National Endowment for the Arts/TCG directing fellowship. Upon completion, she returned to her home city of Seattle, where she founded House of Dames, a company that for over two decades has developed and produced original theater and film works, including several critically acclaimed documentaries.
Tim Fain, “Club Diamond”’s musical director, is an American violinist and composer. The recipient of the Avery Fisher Career Grant, Fain has performed with renowned musicians, such as Philip Glass and Richard Bishop, and in large-budget productions, performing on the soundtrack of Black Swan and 12 Years A Slave. He continues to tour worldwide with Philip Glass.
Sundance Institute’s renowned Theatre Program has developed Broadway and Off Broadway hits by the bushel, and its annual Lab at MASS MoCA gathers top-tier dramatic artists for writing workshops and a work-in-progress performance.
Lickety Split, MASS MoCA’s café, serves up crisp salads, hearty soups, and lip-smacking pub fare. A full bar serves Bright Ideas Brewing beers and Berkshire Mountain Distillery spirits. Tickets are $8 for students, $10 advance, $15 day of, and $21 preferred. Tickets for all events are available through the MASS MoCA box office located on Marshall Street in North Adams, open 11am to 5pm every day except Tuesdays. Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111 during box office hours or purchased online at MASS MoCA.
About the Sundance Institute Theatre Program
The Theatre Program has been a core component of Sundance Institute since Robert Redford founded the Institute in 1981. The Theatre Program identifies and assists emerging theater artists, contributes to the creative growth of established artists, and encourages and supports the development of new work for the stage. Under the guidance of Artistic Director Philip Himberg and Producing Director Christopher Hibma, the Theatre Program is one of the leading play development programs in the United States. Titles such as Appropriate, Fun Home, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Circle Mirror Transformation, An Iliad, The Lily’s Revenge, The Good Negro, The Light in the Piazza, Passing Strange, Stuck Elevator, Spring Awakening, The Laramie Project, and I Am My Own Wife have gone from Theatre Program Labs to production from coast to coast and internationally, garnering multiple Pulitzers, Tonys, OBIEs, and other recognition. The Theatre Program’s International Initiative currently offers labs, cross-cultural exchange, mentorship, and exposure to artists primarily from the Middle East and North Africa, and continuing support for artists in six East African countries. The Theatre Program’s newest initiatives are the Theatre Directors Retreat in Arles, France, and the Writers Playwrights Studio at Flying Point. Sundance Institute Theatre Lab
About Sundance Institute
Founded in 1981 by Robert Redford, Sundance Institute is a nonprofit organization that provides and preserves the space for artists in film, theater, and new media to create and thrive. The Institute’s signature Labs, granting, and mentorship programs, dedicated to developing new work, take place throughout the year in the U.S. and internationally. The Sundance Film Festival and other public programs connect audiences to artists in igniting new ideas, discovering original voices, and building a community dedicated to independent storytelling. Sundance Institute has supported such projects as Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, Sin Nombre, The Invisible War, The Square, Dirty Wars, Spring Awakening, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, and Fun Home.