Dear theatre friends,
With Thanksgiving arriving next week, we’ll officially be entering the holiday season– albeit a very, very different one from years past! Keeping that in mind, I’d like to ensure you have at least one extraordinary pleasure in store— Emma Rice’s “The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk” will be streaming from December 11th through the 18th. You must not miss this delightful, transporting show!
Written by Daniel Jamieson, with music by Ian Ross, this love story has been brought to the stage with magic and movement by the supremely talented director, Emma Rice. It tells the story of painter, Marc Chagall and his first wife, Bella. The lovers are immortalized as the essence of romance on canvas and now onstage. Despite the turbulent times of the Russian Revolution, Marc and Bella’s path is filled with great love and admiration– seen here with music and dance inspired by Russian Jewish tradition and of course, Chagall’s paintings.
Three years ago, at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, I saw my usual 60 or 70 shows. People often ask how I remember all I’ve watched. My response often is: “I remember the very good ones– and the very bad ones– most fall somewhere in between. And then, there are the one’s which raise the hair on the back of your neck as you sit mesmerized, filled with wonder!”
August of 2017, I saw that one show which entranced me like none other– “The Flying Lovers…” It was very early in the festival. Always on the lookout, I asked everyone I saw or sat near, “What have you seen that’s terrific?” Countless times, I heard the same response; “The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk.” Without any difficulty, I joyously gave this show my 2017 Award.
Since then, I’ve been trying to get “Flying Lovers” to New York. I spoke to many artistic directors at many theatres– they were booked for years ahead or the stages’ dimensions weren’t quite right. Among the several spaces I thought possible, was NYU’s Skirball. Jay Wegman, the Artistic Director, and I talked quite seriously about how and when the run might occur– but the scheduling for both theatre and the cast’s availability made it impossible.
In the interim, Kneehigh, the company which produced “Flying Lovers,” had gone onto many new projects—ah, well!
I was losing hope when I attended a play at the tiny King’s Head theatre in London, two years ago. It was directed by a friend and former winner of my Award, Jessica Lazar. I chatted with the man seated next to me– which was only polite considering we were crammed rather closely together. During the interval, Jessica asked if I knew Mike Shepard, the Artistic Director of Kneehigh. I said no, I hadn’t met him. “But, he’s sitting next to you and I saw you talking to him.” I raced over to Mike, my new friend, and told him I had given Kneehigh and “Flying Lovers” my Award but couldn’t get the show to New York– although it had gone to the Wallis in Los Angeles and the Spoleto Festival in South Carolina. He promised he would make it happen– and finally, under these strange circumstances, not only is the play coming to New York, but it can be seen everywhere!
The Bristol Old Vic will perform the show, live, the first week of December. Since the cast and creative team will be in a social bubble, the production will not need distancing— you will see it as it was meant to be seen, if not in person– as intimately as possible!
Now, through the hard work and generosity of Kneehigh, Wise Children (Emma Rice’s new company), Bristol Old Vic and NYU’s Skirball– you, my faithful readers, have the opportunity to buy tickets first– and at a 50% discount! Please go to NYU Skirball and use the code “flovfriends.” You can then choose AD(audio described) or CC (closed captioning), as well. Be sure to use “+1” when entering your telephone number.
I can guarantee– this will be a sparkling precursor to Christmas! I’m thrilled to be able to share “The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk” with you!
That’s all for now!
Aren’t we fortunate to be living during this plague and not Sophocles’? Or, are you overwhelmed by choice?
Again, if you discover other theatre-related news– please get in touch: Carol@BestofEdinburgh.org.
And, need I reiterate? I’d like to continue to write because so many have expressed their enjoyment of reading– but I must have content!
Please send other theatre related information, or do try to recall a story you’d like me to post.
Carol Tambor publishes a monthly newsletter, which announces worthy shows coming to New York, along with occasional information about London theatre and, of course, the Edinburgh Fringe.