Wednesday, September 20, 2017

At Olana This Weekend

This Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, the Ancram Opera House, in collaboration with the Olana Partnership, presents Performing Olana, an original play staged throughout the Olana landscape.

Performing Olana was conceived and created by playwright and TV writer Darrah Cloud, with Paul Ricciardi and Jeff Mousseau of the Ancram Opera House. The play was written by Cloud and is co-directed by Ricciardi and Mousseau. The three have been working for months to design an immersive, promenade style theater production to be presented in the landscape at Olana, in which the audience follows the story through the historic site. The play takes the interpretation of Olana to another level--both in terms of costumed 'interpretation' and in the untold and imagined stories between the lines of letters and journals in the Church archive.

"The piece draws inspiration from Frederic Church's painting, letters, family life, and the celebrated landscape and is presented as an immersive experience in which performer and audience journey together into Church's art. This production falls between the categories of creative nonfiction and historic fiction. . . . Performing Olana brings the 19th century alive in a way that only theater can; audiences will move from place to place in the landscae as the narrative unfolds. Actors deliver scenes in historically accurate venues and subjects including Church's homes, the orchard, meadows, the barns, carriage roads, the lake, and the forest."

Photo: B. Docktor
The performance takes place at 6 p.m. on Friday, September 22, at 2, 4, and 6 p.m. on Saturday, September 23, and on Sunday, September 24. Participants are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance by clicking here. Performances begin at the Wagon House Education Center and will occur rain or shine, but they will be delayed if there is extreme weather, so in case of foul weather, ticket holders are asked to check the website for updates. Participants should wear comfortable walking shoes and should be prepared to walk about three quarters of a mile.

On Monday, Ricciardi, Cloud, and Amy Hufnagel, director of education for the Olana Partnership, spoke with Joe Donahue about Performing Olana on WAMC's The Roundtable. That conversation can be heard by clicking here.

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