Thursday, October 20, 2016

IDA - Orange Theatre & Scottsdale Community College - October 27, 28 & 29


Inspired by Modernist Novel, Downtown Phoenix Performance Group Creates New Work in Innovative Student-Professional Collaboration

Orange Theatre will present “Ida”–a new play with live music based on Gertrude Stein’s book of the same name–at the historic Synagogue Beth Hebrew in downtown Phoenix on October 27, 28, and 29 at 8pm.

Like the cubist novel that inspired it, “Ida” centers on a woman who is well known for being well known. Director Matthew Watkins explains, “Ida is never her own person. That’s how she survives. Both as a woman and as a celebrity she constantly has to sell herself. To really sell herself she has to be whatever those around her wish her to be. Throughout her life she is kept one step away from knowing who she really is. My guess is this will ring true to many in the audience.”

This new work is the result of a unique collaboration between Orange Theatre and Scottsdale Community College’s nationally recognized School of Film + Theatre. This is the first time SCC has invited professional guest artists to stage an original co-production with students in their Theatre Arts program. The goal of the project was to give students the experience of creating high-quality, technologically-sophisticated, contemporary work from scratch.

For two months, Orange’s team has been working with students, teaching skills and leading them through a process to transform Stein’s words into a piece of their own. Together, the ensemble has developed an exciting play that draws upon Stein’s book and their own personal experiences with its themes.

Six student actors will take the stage alongside two professional performers. They will be joined by a live band led by Mario Yniguez of the band Harrison Fjord. This highly choreographic piece features movement co-created by Watkins and Molly W. Schenck and sound and video design by Stephen Christensen. The scenic designer is Sabrina Reed, and David Barker contributes fight choreography.

Downtown Phoenix audiences who have been eagerly awaiting Orange Theatre’s latest offering will be able to see the show in their own backyard come the end of the month. After an initial run at SCC, “Ida” will transfer to Synagogue Beth Hebrew, a beautiful historic venue located at 333 Portland St. in Phoenix. Performances will take place on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (October 27-29) at 8pm.

Tickets for the downtown shows are pay-what-you-can at the door (cash and cards accepted) or $20 for advanced reservations at The show will run approximately 70 minutes. Street parking is available near the venue, and the nearest light rail stop (Central and Roosevelt) is within a short walking distance.

In recognition of the extraordinary educational potential of this partnership, Scottsdale Community College recently won a Lifelong Learning Arts Engagement Grant of $2500 to help fund the project from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, which receives support from the State of Arizona and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Orange Theatre has also launched a fundraising campaign to support some of the additional costs associated with offering this unique educational opportunity at a community college. Donors who give at least $50 can receive a reserved front-row seat at the show.

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