Our Dreamscape at FIGMENT NYC!

Polybe + Seats was happy to be a part of this year's FIGMENT NYC, an annual arts festival on Governors Island in New York Harbor.  Company member Sarah Sakaan led an ensemble (consisting of Juan Carlos Matsuda, Liz Rosen, Sarah Sakaan, Eve Udesky, and Ari Vigoda) in creating a movement and storytelling piece inspired by their dreams and memories of dreaming.  Avi Glickstein's photos of the June 11th performance are here!  Thank you, FIGMENT, for an arts-filled weekend!



Open Rehearsal, Melodramatic Photo Shoot

On Saturday, March 26, at the Old Stone House, we presented an open rehearsal of selected "Alice" scenes (plus added material by our writers!) for a small audience of our friends and mentors. This was a great opportunity for us to see how an audience would respond to the work we've been doing over the last few months. In rehearsals, we've experimented with applying melodramatic acting techniques to Pixérécourt's play, using "The Thespian Preceptor," an acting manual from 1810, as well as paintings from the period and other research. We chose three action-packed scenes from "Alice" to work on--one from each act, so we could begin to envision the arc of the piece--and also rehearsed original scenes by Libby Emmons, Avi Glickstein, and Sarah Sakaan.  

After the open rehearsal, we held an informal discussion with the audience, and they reflected on the story, the acting techniques, and melodrama more broadly. We're grateful to them for their encouragement and insightful comments!

We're also very grateful to Howard Wallach, who took beautiful photos of our actors rehearsing "Alice," and we wanted to share a few snapshots of our adventures in melodrama.  Click here for the photos!


--Miriam Felton-Dansky



Jessica Brater and I went to the Brooklyn Arts Council 2011 Community Arts Regrant Program Awards Ceremony last night at Brooklyn Borough Hall to receive Polybe + Seats' regrant in support of Alice, or the Scottish Gravediggers.  We are so grateful to BAC and the panelists for their support and their recognition of organizations like ours around Brooklyn! - Catherine Wallach



Welcome to our new website!

Welcome to our new website! We've remodeled it from the ground up to be able to show you lots of new information - photos, reviews, and more - in what we think is a more easily-navigable format. 

Thank you so much to everyone who worked on this redesign with me, especially Natalie Robin and Stacey McMath.  Please browse around and tell us what you think! 

-Catherine Wallach, Producing Director


Starting our new project: Alice, or the Scottish Gravediggers

We are off to a great start with development for our upcoming project!  Early this fall, dramaturg Miriam Felton-Dansky and the rest of the company began research into French melodrama and the history of medical experimentation for our adaptation of Alice, or The Scottish Gravediggers, to premiere in October 2011, just in time for Halloween.  In addition plowing through a vast amount of reading, we visited the Cushing Center at Yale’s medical school library to look at the hundreds of slices of preserved brains Dr. Cushing collected in his research.  Our research into melodrama yielded a fabulous document called “The Thespian Preceptor,” which provides recipes for actors in portraying nearly every emotion under the sun.  With the help of translator Daniel Gerould, we discovered that the play has never before been performed in English. 

Our October 2010 reading of the original play was followed by a lively post-reading discussion with Daniel Gerould, who answered questions about everything from melodrama’s position as a popular form to its relationship to opera.  Since the reading, we have continued regular meetings to discuss issues surrounding the play and to share research and images.  The acting company has been meeting for a series of movement workshops, led by Lindsay Torrey, to explore melodramatic physicality.  Over Thanksgiving, our set designer, Danielle Baskin, visited the International Museum of Surgical Science in Chicago and returned with wonderful research on medical instruments and anatomical painting. 

We are also thrilled to have been offered a residency and partnership with the Old Stone House in Park Slope, where we will begin working in January 2011 and produce an August 2011 workshop and the full production.  We should be all set to begin practicing medical quackery in earnest by the time the new year rolls around.

- Jessica Brater, Artistic Director

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