Preview: Star Ash
Oct. 5-6, 11-13 8:00 p.m., Oct. 7 2:00p.m.
Directed by Sara Batista-Pereira ‘13
Produced by Cassandra Rasmussen ‘13 and Sasha G. Miranov ’13
“Star Ash” is the tale of a tale, an exploration of the boundaries between reality and legend. It centers on the discoveries made by a young woman named Jenny about her family history and a story passed down by her female ancestors. Playwright Cassandra L. Rasmussen ’13 was inspired to delve into these themes by her own love of fairy tales: “I wanted to write a story about a story that changes over generations,” she says.
“We want to take the audience into this family,” says Kathleen S. O’Beirne ’15, who plays Eva—one of Jenny’s ancestors—in the production. Indeed, the audience may well experience a diverse array of storytelling techniques as the actors use variety of media to communicate the themes of the productions. Shadow plays—recalling early cinema—will be used to illustrate the shifts between physical and ethereal worlds as Jenny’s ancestors enter, yet remain separate from, concrete reality.
However, “Star Ash” does not just use visual techniques to explore these themes. The show works to emphasize the performative nature of traditional story telling. Weaving a tale is an important aspect of this production, with actors learning the techniques involved with storytelling, from cadence to movement.
The boundary between fairytale and reality is fluid within the play. Choreographer Xi Yu, ’13, a Crimson editor, sees herself as more of a “movement director” than as someone who strictly focuses on dance. “What it is is, how do these actors naturally move, and how do we make it more specific and coach them how to tell the story and enhance the meaning of the lines,” she says. These dances appear in the fairytale scenes, as the actors communicate the story to the audience. “Dance is a big part of a lot of aural traditions,” says director Sara Batista-Pereira ’13. “That came into play almost immediately.”
“The collaboration has really brought it to life,” says Rasmussen of the development of her work through the creative process form writing to production. Indeed, the nature of theatre as a collaborative form of storytelling, is a definitive part of the play, which is so concerned with the connective power of a story. Batista-Pereira advises viewers to keep an open mind: “I want them to be surprised.”