Anyone who has been to an Attack Theatre production knows that the artistic directors, Michele de la Reza and Peter Kope, are capable of putting on a grand performance. In a recent show, the two transformed a seemingly bleak, but huge empty space. They then introduced the show in roller-skates and had their dancers swinging from the rafters by a telephone cord. And it all made complete sense.
For their 20th anniversary show, they decided to go a bit smaller instead. Don’t let that fool you, though. Between is filled with artistic challenges of a large scale. But the piece itself will feel more intimate.
De la Reza says the work stays consistent with what has been the driving force of the company since its inception. That is, “looking at each performance as a new artistic challenge.”
To do a repertory show of old work felt like a less organic choice to make. “It’s not me trying to dance like I did 20 years ago,” de la Reza says. “I’m trying to physically and emotionally understand who I am and how to express that today.” She will be performing alongside her husband, Peter Kope, as well as Kaitlin Dann and Dane Toney.
Dave Eggar and Chuck Palmer will not only provide the sound, but will interact with the dancers on stage as they have in the past. The music for this show will be originals by Eggar and Palmer, inspired by the life of Chopin who created intimate scores in a time of grandiose composing.
Like many of Attack’s other shows, the creative difficulty came in the set design. Rather than building something out of nothing – their usual – Attack decided to use a set that the Pittsburgh Opera had already built for their own show. The two companies share space.
To make matters more challenging, as de la Reza and Kope normally do, they decided to use two different parts of the theater. In essence, audience members will be seeing one show from two contrasting places in the building.
Company member, Kaitlin Dann, refers to the piece as a “mind puzzle” and says the preparation has required her to think more from the audience’s perspective.
De la Reza explains that the two stage areas reflect the “theater” persona of the performers vs. the “real” persona. Ultimately, she doesn’t believe the two are much different. Those sections will be tied together at the end with an epilogue.
It has been a few years since Kope and de la Reza have performed in one of their main-stage creations. Dane Toney, a long-time dancer for the company, says, “To move with them is fantastic. They are both phenomenal performers who bring an excitement to the show.”
De la Reza admits to feeling excited, but also nervous. “It’s comforting to know that it’s with my beloved, and people I’ve worked with for a long time.”
While Between is about celebrating the milestone of the company’s twenty years, the piece honors living and creating work successfully between the major landmarks. During the choreographic process, the group asked themselves, “Is it okay to be fulfilled and actively seeking those between moments?” The answer was, and still is, an emphatic yes.
When: February 26th at 7:00 p.m.
February 28th at 2:30 p.m. & 7:00 p.m.
March 1st at 7:00 p.m.
Where: The George R. White Studio, Pittsburgh Opera, 2425 Liberty Avenue in the Strip District
Cost: February 26th: $70/Opening Night Performance and Party
February 28th and March 1st: $35/Advance, $40/At the Door, $20/Students, Seniors, Teachers, Artists
Click HERE for ticket purchase and more information.