A creative collaboration among three performing arts companies has produced the next installment in “ The Rite of Spring at 100” series — a world premiere starting tonight.
Universes Theater Company, a musical theater ensemble, was commissioned jointly by PlayMakers Repertory Company and Carolina Performing Arts to write and perform “Spring Training,” a new and edgy interpretation of Igor Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring.”
SEE THE SHOW
Time: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday until Sunday, 2 p.m. Sunday
Location: Kenan Theatre
Joseph Haj, producing artistic director for PlayMakers, said he is excited the group is a part of “The Rite of Spring at 100” series.
“PlayMakers and Carolina Performing Arts have been working together over the years, and we’re always looking for new ways to partner,” he said.
Haj said he was glad PlayMakers is working again with the ensemble, who first performed at UNC in 2007.
“We have a long relationship with Universes,” he said. “We believe in them as artists. They had free rein to make something contemporary out of “The Rite of Spring.’”
Jeffrey Meanza, associate artistic director for PlayMakers, said he and his colleagues believed that the group would create something innovative.
“We were very interested in Universes as a theatrical ensemble,” he said. “They are very contemporary. They are not traditional theater.”
Meanza said PlayMakers has kept its expectations open, and the finished piece honors Stravinsky’s legacy but proves to be its own work.
“There will be a combination of lots of styles, including hip-hop, beat boxing, singing, rapping and reciting poetry.
“The audience will get an exciting and unique experience,” he said.
Steven Sapp, a performer in Universes, said “The Rite of Spring” was the inspiration for a more modern piece.
“It will be a completely different interpretation of the original ballet,” Sapp said.
“Even if Stravinsky is not obviously in there, he is in there. The show is about looking at four characters with their own rites of spring.”
Meanza said the group is using “The Rite of Spring” as a springboard for contemporary ideas and personal narrative.
“(Universes) shows the idea of modernity, looking at it from an American perspective about diversity,” Meanza said. “They’re providing an urban vernacular and perspective.”
Sapp said group members enjoyed having freedom to write and perform the piece, allowing them to see what was and was not working.
“We are not afraid to keep pushing it and developing it. Each performance will be different,” he said.
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