Ellen Augarten photo
“I am on a journey to push the envelope,” says Sheryl Stoodley, founder and director of Serious Play! Theatre Ensemble. The envelope, for her, is the American stage, and the latest stop on the journey is Blind Dreamers, a piece of devised theater compounded of movement, music and text. A revision and extension of last year’s Meta/Pina Project, based on the creation process of the German choreographer Pina Bausch, the piece pairs a nuclear family—dad, mom, three kids—with their inner selves, revealing what lurks beneath “the veneer of polite civility.” The pairings, like the 10-member ensemble, are interracial and multigenerational.
The fractured domestic narrative was created from the actors’ movement improvisations, shaped by choreographer Lisa Enzer, and is underscored with original music performed live by guitar genius John Sheldon. “The body is the source,” Stoodley explains, but that doesn’t exclude the voice or diminish the text—“how we taste words and interpret words.” It’s the integration of both, she feels, “that is going to engage live audiences to come back to the dramatic moment.” This weekend’s Valley performances are warm-ups for a run at the Irondale Center in Brooklyn next week.
Aug. 9-10, Studio Theater, Kendall Sports & Dance Complex, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, $15. (413) 320-3147, www.seriousplay.org.