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UP CLOSE 2019-2020 

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Spellbound Theatre presents a historical dig into the soil of the urban sanctuary that is St. Luke’s in the Fields’ community garden. The audience nests together to follow the journey of a little sparrow who makes her home in this hidden garden on Hudson Street. Through puppetry, song-making and our senses, the audience and performers will fly through 450 years of history, landing in three particular moments in the life of the garden – 1609, 1842 & 1987. This project is led by Spellbound’s longtime company member Lauren Sharpe and is co-created with Asha John, Robert Thaxton-Stevenson and Ben Weber.





Inspired by the forgotten conflict that arose in 1995 when Imad Khachchan opened Chess Forum directly across the street from his former employer, George Frohlinde, whose Village Chess Shop at 230 Thompson Street ruled the block for 30 years. The New York Times reported: “Not since Bobby Fischer declared his last checkmate in 1972 has the downtown chess world been so torn asunder.” In the piece, audiences traverse an epic 1990s-themed chessboard where the pieces come to life and rely on their community to sort out the rules.

TEAM: Experimental artists Marisa Blankier and Christopher-Rashee Stevenson, who met as instructors at The Wooster Group Summer Institute, join forces with Perfect City members Tyler Diaz, Jahmorei Snipes, and Tiffany Zorrilla. 

Project advisors: Oye Group's Modesto "Flako" Jimenez and Perfect City's Aaron Landsman.


Listen closely as The Society of Historic Sonic Happenings (SHSH)

– an imagined experimental wing of the famous Bell Laboratories – reveals a secret sonic history of our surroundings.

In 1920, as Bell Labs microphones ushered in the Golden Age of Radio, SHSH discovered that sound never dies and that the world is filled with the sounds of the past. But with the right device, at the right time, in the right place – and with some help – we can tap into these eternal frequencies and engage with the invisible layers of history around us.


We will work directly with SHSH scientists (Rachel Confrancisco, Brit Gossett, Alec Kirazian, LaToya Lewis and Akash Seeramreddi) to preserve these rare and forgotten sounds – from the crunch of dried tobacco leaves in Sapokanikan, the earliest known name for the area now called Greenwich Village (September 23, 1447) to the squeak of a pigeon squab on the window ledge of the 10th floor of the Archive Building (April 14th, 2017) - and work to preserve them in special sonic time capsules.

TEAM: Adrienne Kapstein (lead artist - writer & director, Bhurin Sead (sound design), Hillary Verni (visual design) and researcher Paul Parkhill (co-founder of public art non-profit Place in History).


Marisol Rosa-Shapiro, who delighted 2018 UP CLOSE audiences as the Beat Poet-obsessed Pizza Rat, reprises her beloved character as our local expert host and will be joined by a team of Archive Apprentices – NYC teenagers recruited from local public high schools and Trusty Sidekick Theatre Company’s Young Devisers initiative. This new team will perform as uniquely engaging stewards of the Archive building basement on Christopher Street, developing their characters under the guidance of Trusty Sidekick’s Brit Gossett and Esteban Rodriguez-Alviero. Together, they will invite the audience to discover the artifacts and lore of the UP CLOSE festival’s three featured

West Village stories.

Dec 27 2019 - Jan 4 2020
new ohio theatre
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