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Theater For The New City Now Presents 'Charlotte's Song'

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"Charlotte's Song" by Nancy Ferragallo is a performance-based experimental work that explores a daughter's reality of growing up with her schizophrenic mother and how that impacted her life and healing process. It is a poetic collective of monologues, dialogue scenes and movement theater in the style of the Tanz Theater of Pina Bausch. The work is co-directed by Andreas Robertz and Mario Golden and co-choreographed by Nancy Ferragallo and Celeste Hastings.

Charlottes Song
"Charlotte's Song" by Nancy Ferragallo is a performance-based work that explores a daughter's reality of growing up with her schizophrenic mother and how that impacted her life and launched her into a healing process. Picture shows Celeste Hastings (rear) and Yvette Quintero (front) in workshop performance on December 7, 2012, at the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center's Lab 101. Photo by Rick Mowat.

A Cocteauvian story is told through the lens of fragmented narratives and movement sequences. A mother (Carol Beaugard) and her daughter (Yvette Quintero) are so alienated from one another that they communicate primarily by letters. A dancer (Celeste Hastings) dances the mother's inner life. As the play progresses, the daughter explores issues of betrayal and abandonment and comes to an ultimate understanding of her mother's behavior. All is played out in the presence of a doll, designed by Maria Hupfield, who bears witness to the daily life of both women.

In shifting auditory landscapes, we hear the language of disconnect that announces the underlying fragility of the mother: both her physical and mental collapse. Rendered in movement sequences, a clothing ritual speaks for her recurrent psychotic episodes. The play was born out of Nancy Ferragallo's experiences with her own mother, who died when Nancy was 37. Ferragallo reports that the idea for this play "tugged at her and waited decades to be born."

The production contains both spoken text and Tanz Theater reminiscent of the style of Pina Bausch. Ferragallo's background is primarily in the field of dance. She believes that by transferring rituals drawn from the mother's psychotic episodes to the dancer rather than through the text, she conveys a fuller expression of the mother's life. In the production, Celeste Hastings dances the mother's inner life, in movement sequences which include undressing and redressing herself in various sets of clothing set to the repetitive and dissident scores of Steve Reich, Philip Glass and most notably, Luciano Berio ("Sequenza 111 per voce solo").

"Charlotte's Song" was first presented on December 7, 2012, at the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center's Lab 101, as part of their residency program. The audience's overwhelmingly positive response was the impetus for the author and directors Andreas Robertz and Mario Golden to move forward with the play, which was accepted for production by Crystal Field, director of the Theater for the New City.

Nancy Ferragallo is a dancer/choreographer, conceptual artist and writer. She began her professional career in dance with the San Francisco Contemporary Dancers. Over the course of her extensive career she studied, performed, choreographed and taught in the U.S., Germany and Israel. She spent several years in India and Nepal in collaboration with indigenous theater artists and dance companies. In addition, her work as a movement therapist at a psychiatric hospital in Illinois provided her with a rich resource for her conceptual work that followed. Most recently, she collaborated with OneHeart Productions, the first as Luna, in the non-speaking role in "Lunas Armband" in Berlin (2010), while presenting her own conceptual dance theater work, "A Symbolic Improvisation" with members of the New York and Berlin casts. She conceived and wrote "Charlotte's Song" for the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center's Little Theater (2012) and was resident choreographer for the New York based production of "Breaking the Silence" at the Edinburgh Festival (2013). She writes, "I am deeply grateful to Crystal Field for her support in producing my play at TNC. It has been a long journey for me to get my story to the stage. It goes without saying that this is extremely meaningful to me, and it would have been impossible without Crystal's help and the TNC's uncompromised commitment to artists like myself."

CharlottesSong
"Charlotte's Song" by Nancy Ferragallo is a performance-based work that explores a daughter's reality of growing up with her schizophrenic mother and how that impacted her life and launched her into a healing process. Photo by Rick Mowat.

Andreas Robertz (Director) is Artistic Director of OneHeart Productions and a freelance director and producer working in both Germany and NYC. His last TNC production was "Deceit" by Richard Ploetz in January, 2013. Other TNC productions include "Love of Brothers," "The Boxer's Son," and "Confessions of a Sex Addict," all by Mario Golden. He has directed for the Immigrants' Theatre Project, The Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre, Around the Block and the Martin E. Segal Theatre. He has received numerous directing awards and nominations in Germany, including the 2006 Cologne City Award for "The Pillowman." He co-directs the Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre's Playwrights' Unit and is a member of Lincoln Center Directors Lab network.

Mario Golden (Director) is a writer, actor, director, teacher and co-director of Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre's Professional Playwrights' Unit. His plays include "The Boxer's Son," "Love of Brothers," "Confessions of a Sex Addict" and "Luna's Bracelet." The first two premiered at TNC and the last two premiered in Germany. Most recently he co-directed (with Andreas Robertz) "Birmingham Reunion" at La Guardia Performing Arts Center. He is founding co-director of One Heart Productions. He holds a BA and MA from Stanford.

Carol Beaugard (Mother) was born in Spanish Harlem and raised in NJ. She studied acting at HB Studio with Bill Hickey and improv with Upright Citizens Brigade. She has appeared in Summer Stock and Regional Theater. Recently she received the Best Actress Award at Strawberry Theater Festival for her powerful portrayal of a schizophrenic in "The Plastic Couch." She made her TNC debut in "White Noise," portraying an oversexed massage therapist, and has appeared at 13th Street Reperory as The Queen in "Rumple Who." She has starred in several episodic TV shows on Discovery, Discovery ID and Animal Planet channels and has appeared in several short films. She hosts a radio show, "Lonesome Pine RFD," heard on WFDU-FM and syndicated worldwide on WAMU's "Bluegrass Country." She also fronts her own bluegrass country band, Carol Beaugard & Blue Express. She lives in the Hudson Valley.

Yvette Quintero (Daughter) studied at Stella Adler Conservatory, The Actor's Center and with Catherine Gaffigan and Bernice Loren. She has just been nominated for Best Actress for her work in Dario Fo's outrageous farce "The Virtuous Burglar" by the ATI Awards. This past fall she finished a second run in Lorca's "Blood Wedding" in which she was also nominated for Best Supporting Actress. Her other theater credits include "Cybersex," "Los Amantes Del Alto Manhattan," "Angel of the Poor," "The Boxer's Son," "La Callas and Medea," "My Night With Frida," "The Ides of March," "Twice Gloria," "La Esposa y El Maniqui," "Cheer Up Jackie," "Her Train of Thought," "Chastity of Hearts," "Divino Castigo," "The Involvement of Neighbors" and "Rosa's Century." She recently finished shooting the film "Heysoos" and will soon begin shooting the short film "Hopeless Romantic." Her other film credits include "Welome Home," "Alejo Bachata,""Conciliation," "Eva and Bruce," "El Puente del Destino," "Una Calle Sin Salida," "Adrift In Manhattan" and "Bomber Jackets," which was nominated for Best Film at the Golden Door International Film Festival. She was also in the workshop of "Charlotte's Song" at La Guardia Performing Arts Center.

Celeste Hastings (The Other, Co-Choreographer) was born in Venezuela is now a NYC based independent choreographer, performer and costume designer who also experiments with video. Her work, both solo and group, fuses dance, theater, Japanese Butoh and visual arts with concepts of universal archetype. She has presented in the NY Butoh Festival, White Wave, CRS, Dixon Place, Galapagos, Frying Pan and in France, Germany and Venezuela. She is director/choreographer of the satirical group The Butoh Rockettes. A lead dancer for 12 years with Poppo and the Gogo Boys, she has recently performed with Akira Kasai, Yukio Waguri, Masaki Iwana and Tetsuro Fukahara. This is her first collaboration with Nancy Ferragallo.

Theater For The New City, 155 First Ave, will present "Charlotte's Song" April 24 - May 11, 2014. Shows are Thursdays through Saturdays at 8:00 PM and Sundays at 3:00 PM. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased at www.theaterforthenewcity.net or call 212-254-1109 to reserve.

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