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Thoughts on the New Production of FUNDING THE ARTS

We just finished our LPAC LAB 201 residency at LaGuardia Performing Arts Center, and presented a performance on March 22nd that included our latest work on FUNDING THE ARTS, en route to an entirely new production.

This time the action was streamlined by having Boris (Mark Peters) take on the role of "narrator," with his pre-recorded narration occurring between scenes, which helped clarify the action. (It also allowed Mark a little extra time to change costumes, as he now plays "Edgar" as well as "Boris.")  

Live dance was added throughout!  For instance, instead of having Debra Zalkind ("Natasha"), speak to her toy skunk, Kristin Licata was cast as a live one.  Robby & Lu (Christian Serrano & Sakie Hachiya) got several new balletic duets -- one, introducing their characters at the beginning, and the second, a love duet, just before Lu's marriage to the Oil Tycoon.  The computer robots (Taylor Gordon & Elise Giannotti), were mined for their comedic value, becoming the true "scene stealers" they should be.  I kept asking myself the question, "When the humans are out, or not paying attention, what would the robots do?" and then choreographed accordingly. "Kevin" (Jeremy Stanfield) went from an acting role to a dancing one, providing a delicious opportunity to make a parody out of the main theme from "Swan Lake" as Edgar's bombs fell!  

I found myself looking at the stage quite differently this time around -- trying to make this a dance work that just happens to have dialogue, rather than a play, where actors stand and speak.  (Interestingly, I found my questions about communicating through movement and dance in Funding The Arts spilling over into our other new work, 2BZ4U, which was also premiered at LPAC.)  All this to say -- my goal to turn Funding The Arts into a dance work is now taking shape.  -- Felice Lesser


Sakie Hachiya (Lu) and Christian Serrano (Robby)


Jeremy Stanfield as "Kevin" 


 (l-r) Sakie Hachiya (Lu), Mark Peters (Boris), Christian Serrano (Robby), Taylor Gordon (Maya, a Robot), Elise Giannotti (Margot, a Robot)


Debra Zalkind (Natasha), Kristin Licata (Skunk)


Photos by Rodney Zagury



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