Paramount Theatre to present two works in from acclaimed NYC Theatre Company BEDLAM
RUTLAND — The Paramount Theatre recently announced that BEDLAM, an Off-Broadway NYC theatre in its third season, will make its second annual appearance at the Paramount Theatre Thursday and Friday evenings, Aug. 13 and 14. Following up on it’s single performance last season of a modern adaptation of Chekov’s “The Seagull,” Bedlam will offer “An Investigation of ‘Pygmalion’” by George Bernard Shaw on Thursday, Aug. 13 at 8 p.m. and a workshop presentation of a new play by Steven Sater (lyricist, “Spring’s Awakening,” and “New York Animals” Friday, Aug. 14 at 8 p.m.
“New York Animals” will open in New York City this fall for their upcoming season.
From it’s artistic statement: “Committed to the immediacy of the relationship between the actor and the audience BEDLAM creates theatre in a flexible, raw space and is interested in contemporary reappraisals of the classics, new writing and small-scale musical theatre.
“The theatre we make always includes the audience. Storytelling is paramount to us. We believe that innovative use of space can collapse aesthetic distance and bring the audience into direct contact with the dangers and delicacies of life––inciting laughter and chaos, exciting thinking and recreating the thrill of lived experience.”
BEDLAM will have been in rehearsal in Vermont for 3 ½ weeks prior to its presentations at The Paramount. After spending 15 days in Killington, thanks to generous donation of housing and rehearsal space from the Killington Ski Resort, they will move to Middletown Springs and rehearse for an additional 10 days. Paramount Executive Director Bruce Bouchard said, “After learning that 15 days was the Killington limit it occurred to me to bring them to my community. They will be rehearsing in the Burnham Hollow Orchard apple barn… the very spot where my daughter held her wedding dinner nearly three years ago…a particularly sweet full circle.
“It is a great, great treat to have 25 days with BEDLAM in Vermont,” Bouchard continued. “They are some of the most creative and generous-hearted people it has been my pleasure to have known. It is my hope that Vermont will become their second artistic home for years to come.”
Their celebrated first season in New York was a theatrical couplet, “Hamlet” and “St. Joan,” both performed by the same four actors. The marketing was “50+ roles, 4 Actors, 2 Plays, BEDLAM.” Their first repertory endeavor earned them universal praise. Ben Brantley, chief theatre critic for the New York Times, said “The troupe calls itself BEDLAM, which gives you some idea of its ferocious energy, but none at all of its clarity, precision and blissful good sense.”
Bouchard explained how the troupe began it’s connections with Vermont, saying, “After this enormous success and universal acclaim, we set myself about to get them to Rutland and to begin to think of Vermont and The Paramount as their second artistic home, which after many attempts was successful and resulted in their one-day residency last season. After the performance we invited them to come up this summer, they agreed and here we are.”
Their second season was (again) two plays in repertory: A new adaptation of Chekov’s “The Seagull” and Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility” adapted by company member Kate Hamill. They were again played by the same company, this time of 10 actors and the response was the same….universal praise. Their third greatly admired season concluded this spring with two distinct takes on Shakespeare: “12th Night” (a re-construction) and “What you will” (a further re-construction of their own production of the play).
Shaw’s “Pygmalion” (yes, Henry Higgins and Eliza) will be what some describe as an “investigation” on Aug 13. BEDLAM has been invited to bring a production of it to the McCarter Theater in Princeton, N.J., sometime in 2016/17 and this will be the company’s first developmental work on the play. “New York Animals” will be given a workshop presentation on Friday Aug. 14.
Bedlam Artistic Director Eric Tucker commented, “The residency at the Paramount is invaluable to BEDLAM and our operation as it provides rehearsal space and housing for our actors and a place to workshop our material. We make it our goal to look at material with a fresh perspective and there’s no better setting for that than leaving the bustle of New York City and coming to the beautiful mountains of Vermont to clear our heads and dive into the work.”
Tucker was named Director of the Year in 2014 by Wall Street Journal critic Terry Teachout, who after reviewing Mr. Tucker’s recent production of “Midsummer Night’s Dream” at the Mid-Hudson Valley Shakespeare said of Tucker “Bedlam’s artistic director, Eric Tucker is the outstanding American classical stage director of his generation.”
“This extended residency of BEDLAM is a huge honor for the Paramount and for this community and we hope of great benefit to BEDLAM,” Bouchard concluded. “We are honored to call these amazing artists friends and colleagues. It is my hope that the Rutland audience will come out in droves in support of this activity… as this is a rare opportunity indeed.”
The Paramount Theatre is now in its 14th season of presenting world class, live entertainment in downtown Rutland. All tickets are $15 and open seating is on the stage. For more information visit www.paramountlive.org.