The 2016–2017 Season
Doruntine wins first prize in Switzerland
We brought Doruntine, our acclaimed bilingual collaboration with Teatri ODA from Prishtina, Kosova, to the Secondo Theaterfestival in Zurich, Switzerland. The festival jury awarded Doruntine first prize.
Inspired by the Albanian legend, Doruntine is a mythical tale of family loyalty, forbidden love, and the power of a promise that can never be broken. Doruntine has been loved by packed houses in four different countries, and we were thrilled to bring it to Western Europe for the first time.
Photos by Alan Roche
A Christmas Carol
December 21–31, 2016
New Ohio Theatre
154 Christopher Street, New York City
154 Christopher Street, New York City
Ebenezer Scrooge is about to get a wakeup call.
Blessed Unrest’s hit retelling of Dickens’s classic is back by popular demand. Six actors play thirty-seven characters in this raw, physical and darkly comic story of a man grappling with his life of isolation, and choosing to enact positive change in the troubled world around him.
In 1843, in lieu of publishing a political pamphlet entitled An Appeal to the People of England on behalf of the Poor Man’s Child, Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol. This adaptation returns to the story’s original intent as an examination of an unjust socioeconomic system that benefits a few at the top while the masses struggle to meet their basic needs. It shows the capacity of an individual to overcome fear, expand their perspective, and take action for others.
- Adapted by Matt Opatrny
from the story by Charles Dickens
- Directed and Choreographed by Jessica Burr
J. Stephen Brantley, Claire Fort, Tatyana Kot, Becca Schneider, Nathan Richard Wagner, Joshua Wynter
- Production Stage Manager
- Costume Design by
Summer Lee Jack
& Rebecca Welles
- Lighting Design by
- Sound Design by
& Beth Lake
- Set/Props Design by
Matt Opatrny and Neal Wilkinson
“A humanizing warmth flickers through this stripped-down, six-actor A Christmas Carol, at the New Ohio Theater, where J. Stephen Brantley is a delightfully sour, unreformed Scrooge, a man who bares his teeth in place of a smile. On Christmas Day, after the ghosts have persuaded him to change his ways, he is endearingly tentative in his efforts to transform.”
“Incorporating a small, double- and triple-cast ensemble and minimally flexible skeletal set pieces, the imaginative aptitude of the ensemble, under Jessica Burr’s direction, knows very few boundaries. There is tongue-in-cheek, fourth wall smashing shtick as well as impossible physicality played off as everyday. The effect is powerful; haunting at some moments and palpably joyous at others.”
“This poignant show is both familiar and, thanks to Jessica Burr’s direction and choreography, a step beyond…. Blessed Unrest work their magic to show us how Scrooge came to be the kind of person who runs away from his pain by working, sleeping, and over again…the deft ensemble does an outstanding job of using contemporary speech to get the audience to connect to isolated Ebenezer…a joy to watch.”
“It is truly a beautiful story, and Blessed Unrest’s production brings forth the plot’s heartwarming nature with such fervor, incorporating into it a bit of laughter and spirit that, although expressed in ways Dickens might not have foretold, brings this story to new life…. A superbly talented ensemble.”
“Playwright Matt Opatrny has very skillfully pared down the 1843 novella into a swiftly effective, taut retelling. The characters, familiar dialogue and plot are all there with artful flourishes…. Director and choreographer Jessica Burr has created a number of dazzling moments with her precise unison of expressive staging, movement and dance…. Presented by Blessed Unrest, this production of A Christmas Carol is a delightfully aesthetic opportunity to once again savor the profound joy of this enduring story.”
“Smart and funny staging abounds…. Written by Matt Opatrny and rousingly acted by a lively cast under Jessica Burr’s visionary direction, it refocuses on Dickens’s call for a humanitarian society motivated by compassion for the poor.
“The players handle multiple roles with dexterity, humor, and heart—avuncular and authoritative, youthful and boyish, romantic and tragic.
“Throughout, director Burr deftly manages a mélange of social commentary, supernatural visitations, flashbacks, comic business, metatheatrical kidding around, and sentiment, all in the service of a classic story we seem to need to keep retelling…a bright, family-friendly entertainment that’s also an essential Christmastime reminder that the spirit of compassion and fellowship that survived the grimmest era of the Industrial Revolution can also survive any coming times of darkness.”
Photos by Maria Baranova
The Snow Queen in New Victory LabWorks
New Victory Labworks
Blessed Unrest joined the New Victory LabWorks program to develop our adaptation of The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen. As part of New Victory LabWorks we were given rehearsal space in the beautiful New 42nd Street Studios, a stipend for development expenses, professional development opportunities with New Victory visiting companies from around the world, and access to the feedback and support of the New Victory Artistic Programming staff.
The New Victory Theater, one of the nation’s leading presenters of theatre for family audiences, established New Victory LabWorks to lead to a body of work that will expand and enrich the quality of performing arts made in the USA for kids and their families. We’re proud to have been welcomed into this incredible program, bringing our physical theatre aesthetic to the peculiar lands and wild creatures encountered by the courageous heroine at the heart of The Snow Queen.
Blessed Unrest is honored to have performed in the first-ever Theatre Development Fund (TDF) PERFORMETERIA, an immersive theatre festival featuring works by “the most innovative Off-Off Broadway theatre and dance companies in New York City”. Audience members traveled through multiple levels of theatres, nooks and hidden venues within Baruch Performing Arts Center (BPAC) discovering unique, site-specific works from Off-Off Broadway’s best and boldest.
For more info, visit TDF.org.
Photo by Alan Roche