Created & Devised by Kickwheel Ensemble Theater
Directed by Sara Katzoff
All Photos: Marc j. Wrzesinski, 2016
Michael Brahce, Amy Brentano, Emma Dweck, Jacquelyn Gianetti, Julian Claire Mia Kang, Marcus Neverson, Timothy Ryan Olson and Chris Tucci
Sound Design by Peter Wise
Ligthing Design by Tim Cryan
Set Design by Juliana Haubrich
Costume Design by Stella Giulietta
Assistant Director/Dramaturg: Max Ehrman-Shapiro
Merging original text, music, researched accounts and fantastical imagery, PASSAGE weaves together two parallel storylines of survival: the tale of Sir John Franklin's doomed 19th expedition to conquer the famed Northwest Passage and the story of a modern day couple on a luxury wellness cruise through the now melting arctic.
A dark comedy exploring themes of a changing climate, love and loss, PASSAGE integrates sea otters on razor scooters, a guru of ultimate enlightenment, dead sailors, marketing executives and questions of hubris and faith to reveal the cyclical nature of human history.
Kickwheel Ensemble, composed of 12 performers, designers and theater makers from the Berkshires, Pioneer Valley, Boston, New York and Ohio have spent the last year collaboratively writing, researching and generating new material.
PASSAGE is a unique process in new play development because it did not start with a script but rather with a series of questions. Kickwheel and director Sara Katzoff then took those questions (some surrounding climate change and disputed territory, some surrounding survival) and explored them through the wide angle lens of research, writing prompts, character explorations and manipulation of props to create a landscape where these two stories can unfold.
Everything that exists in PASSAGE—text, images, movement—was collectively generated by the company requiring a tremendous amount of trust and flexibility from all collaborators involved as well as from the audiences coming to experience the work.
The company has been working on material for the piece since 2014, including an intensive artist residency at the Millbrook School where research ideas and inspirations congealed into a first draft. This experience helped the group learn that audiences were surprised to find humor in a piece they assumed would herald the end of the world.
“Laughter always creates an opportunity for people to come together. Theater creates opportunities to ask huge questions that impact our lives, our work, and our communities. These conversations are vital.”
This project is supported by the Martha Boshen Porter Fund and
The Tadd Gero Fund for Emerging Artists