Saturday, November 9, 2013

STC Welcomes Mikhail Baryshnikov, Man in a Case

From our friends at the Shakespeare Theatre Company...

Shakespeare Theatre Company Presents Man in a Case, Starring Mikhail Baryshnikov

The Shakespeare Theatre Company is proud to welcome Man in a Case to Washington, D.C. Interweaving video, music and dance, this production is adapted from two short stories of Anton Chekhov’s and features celebrated performer Mikhail Baryshnikov and veteran members of Big Dance Theater Jess Barbagallo, Tymberly Canale, Chris Giarmo and Aaron Mattocks. Adapted and directed by the Obie Award-winning team Annie-B Parson and Paul Lazar/Big Dance Theater, Man in a Case runs from December 5—22, 2013 in the Lansburgh Theatre (450 7th Street, NW.)

The production is based on Chekhov’s brilliant tales of humor and despair, “About Love” and “Man in a Case.” The stories are told through a late night chat between a pair of hunters. They first introduce Belikov, a professor of Greek and an unsociable man whose mannerisms display him as “encased,” and his connection with an extroverted woman named Barbara. The play then seamlessly shifts to the contrasting “About Love” in which the protagonist gives up his love for a married woman. Creating a bridge between our time and that of these 19th-century alternative love stories, Man in a Case draws from surveillance footage and haunting dance pieces projected from stage to screen.

Man in a Case, commissioned and premiered by Hartford Stage in Connecticut earlier this year, is a collaboration between Big Dance Theater and Baryshnikov Productions in association with ArKtype / Thomas O. Kriegsmann. Critics hailed the production as “an intriguing, ultimately irresistible evening of live performance and mixed media” (The Examiner.)

Annie-B Parson and Paul Lazar of Big Dance Theater bring their distinctive aesthetic to Man in a Case, combining dance, theatre, video and fourth-wall-breaking storytelling. Said The Hartford Courant “Those willing to let go of convention will be entranced in a quiet spell that honors Chekhov’s simple and small tales of sweet/not-so-sweet absurdities of life, love and existence.” Parson, as the choreographer, holds nothing back by magnifying every moment with the idiosyncratic movement for which Big Dance Theater is known.    

This STC presentation marks Mikhail Baryshnikov’s first appearance on the STC stage. Known world-wide for his virtuosic dancing since coming to the West, Baryshnikov broke the mold in classical ballet and forayed into American modern dance. From dance to film to stage, Baryshnikov is an ever consummate performer as exemplified in this multi-experimental work with Big Dance Theater.

“Man in a Case is a terrific example of what is happening in theatre all around the world right now, integrating performance, spoken word and mixed media,” stated STC Artistic Director Michael Kahn. “I am a great admirer of Mikhail Baryshnikov and honored to have him grace the Lansburgh stage.”

Man in a Case is part of the STC Presentation Series which brings the finest international productions to theatregoers in D.C. Next in the series will be the Kneehigh’s U.K. production of Brief Encounter in March and April 2014.

Man in a Case is generously sponsored by Dr. Paul and Mrs. Rose Carter and WAMU 88.5 American University Radio.

To purchase tickets or to learn more, patrons can call the box office at 202.547.1122 or visit

Annie-B Parson co-founded the Obie and “Bessie” Award-winning Big Dance Theater in 1991, and has created over 20 works that have toured internationally. Big Dance has received commissions from such esteemed venues as The Walker Art Center, Théâtre national du Chaillot in Paris, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Japan Society and Les Subsistances in Lyon, France. Next up for Big Dance will be Alan Smithee Directed this Play  which will premiere at Les Subsistances in March 2014. Outside her work with BDT, Parson most recently choreographed David Byrne's Here Lies Love at the Public Theater. She also choreographed two of Mr. Byrne's world tours (2008 and 2012) and will work with St. Vincent on her upcoming tour. Parson has created dance for opera (Nico Muhly), theater (Broken Heart, Orlando, Futurity), string quartets (Ethel) and MTV (Salt ‘n Pepa).  Her independent work also includes curation: Dancer Crush  (2011 New York Live Arts), memorial for Merce Cunningham (2010 Winter Garden), Sourcing Stravinsky  (2006 Dance Theater Workshop). Parson has been featured in Bomb Magazine, both as subject and as interviewer. She has published work in Contact Quarterly, Ballet Review and The Brooklyn Rail. Parson has been performing her lecture/video The Virtuosity of Structure  since 2008 with Chris Giarmo. She received a Guggenheim Fellowship (2007), New York Dance and Performance (Bessie) Awards (2002 and 2010), the first Jacob’s Pillow Award and two Lucille Lortel Award nominations (2011, 2012). Since 1993 she has been an instructor of choreography at New York University’s Experimental Theater Wing.

Paul Lazar is a founding member and co-Artistic Director of Big Dance Theater with Annie-B Parson. His work with Big Dance includes conceiving, directing and/or performing in such works as Supernatural Wife (BAM, 2011), Comme Toujour Here I Stand (The Kitchen, 2010), Plan B (Japan Society, 2009) and Mac Wellman’s Antigone (Classic Stage Company, 2004). He also directed Young Jean Lee's We're Gonna Die. He and Annie-B Parson are currently creating a new piece, Alan Smithee Directed This Play, which will open in Lyon, France in Spring 2014.  He has performed in The Wooster Group’s North Atlantic, Brace Up, Emperor Jones and The Hairy Ape. Other stage credits include The Three Sisters at Classic Stage Company, Young Jean Lee’s Lear, Marie Irene Fornes’ Mud and Richard Maxwell’s Cowboys and Indians.  Film roles include Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia, The Host and soon to be released Snow Piercer, as well as A Meaning Full Life with Wallace Shawn and Kate Valk. He teaches at NYU/Tisch School of the Arts.

Alongside directing and adapting Man in a Case, Annie-B Parson is the choreographer. She is joined by Set Designer Peter Ksander, Lighting Designer Jennifer Tipton, Sound Designer Tei Blow, Costume Designer Oana Botez, Video Designer Jeff Larson and Music Director Chris Giarmo.

Mikail Baryshnikov, who plays Belikov in Man in a Case, appeared on Broadway in Metamorphosis (Tony Award nomination and a Drama Critics Award). Off-Broadway credits include In Paris (Director Dmitry Krymov, World Tour 2011-2012), Beckett Shorts (New York Theatre Workshop) and Forbidden Christmas or The Doctor and the Patient (Lincoln Center Festival).  He has appeared in the films White Nights, The Cabinet of Dr. Ramirez, Company Business and The Turning Point (Oscar nomination, Best Supporting Actor). He has appeared in several television shows, including three Emmy Award-winning specials. Awards include: Kennedy Center Honors, the Vilcek Prize for the Arts, the National Medal of Honor, the Commonwealth Award, the Chubb Fellowship, the Jerome Robbins Award. In 2010, he was named an Officer of the French Legion of Honor. He is the Artistic Director of the Baryshnikov Arts Center.

The ensemble cast also includes Big Dance Theater frequent collaborators Jess Barbagallo as Burkin, Chris Giarmo as Ivan, Tymberly Canale as Barbara and Aaron Mattocks as Kovelenko.

Recipient of the 2012 Regional Theatre Tony Award®, the Shakespeare Theatre Company (STC) has become one of the nation’s leading theatre companies. Today, STC is synonymous with artistic excellence and making classical theatre more accessible.

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Michael Kahn and Managing Director Chris Jennings, STC’s innovative approach to Shakespeare and other classic playwrights has earned it the reputation as the nation’s premier classical theatre company. By focusing on works with profound themes, complex characters and poetic language written by Shakespeare, his contemporaries and the playwrights he influenced, the Company’s artistic mission is unique among theatre companies: to present theatre of scope and size in an imaginative, skillful and accessible American style that honors the playwrights’ language and intentions while viewing their work through a 21st-century lens.

A leader in arts education, STC has a stable of initiatives that teach and excite learners of all ages, from school programs and acting classes to discussion series as well as accessible programs like the annual Free For All, one of STC’s most beloved annual traditions, allowing audiences to experience Shakespeare at no charge.

Located in our nation’s capital, STC performs in two theatres, the Lansburgh Theatre and Sidney Harman Hall in downtown Washington, D.C., creating a dynamic, cultural hub of activity that showcases STC as well as outstanding local performing arts groups and nationally renowned organizations. STC moved into the 451-seat Lansburgh Theatre in March 1992, after six years in residency in the Folger Library’s Elizabethan theatre. At that time the Penn Quarter neighborhood was not considered desirable by many; since then, STC has helped drive its revitalization. The 774-seat Sidney Harman Hall opened in October 2007.

Baryshnikov Productions is designed to bring the distinctive voices of innovative directors, choreographers and artists to the world’s most well-respected stages. Under this umbrella, the company has produced and toured the White Oak Dance Project (1990-2002), Forbidden Christmas or The Doctor and the Patient (2004-2006), Beckett Shorts (2007) and In Paris (2010-2012). Current project: The Old Woman.