Mountainfilm: “Marcellus Shale"

Mountainfilm, The Talking Band (from New York) and Telluride Theatre present “Marcellus Shale.” The production takes place during Mountainfilm on Sunday, May 28, 4:15 p.m. at The Off-Width (aka Black Box Theatre at the Palm). After the Fest, enjoy “Marcellus Shale” Tuesday, May 30, 7 p.m. (Free and open to the public. Reserved seating for Telluride Theatre members & sponsors.)

“Marcellus Shale” was written by Paul Zimet with music by Ellen Maddow. It was directed by Telluride Theatre’s Sasha Sullivan with videoscape by Alexai Kaleina; lighting by Tom Wince; and movement by Cat Lee Covert.

Featuring Ashley Boling, Sam Burgess, Suzanne Cheavens, Caroline Grace Moore, Shaun Greager, David Macmillan, Nikolas Pantovich-Gonzalez, Pamela Sante, Colin Sullivan, and Amy Van Der Bosch.

Note: rated R, not appropriate for children.

“Marcellus Shale” is a play about a rural community confronting the effects of fracking as it transforms the landscape and divides friends and families. This music-theater work is inspired by interviews with people living on the Marcellus Shale and Dostoevsky’s “The Demons.”

“Marcellus Shale” is the name of a sedimentary rock formation rich in natural gas, and, in this work, its sedimentary layers are a metaphor for the complex, richly-layered histories and lives of the people who inhabit it.

Telluride Theatre was invited to participate in a National Endowment for the Arts & Theatre Communication Group-funded project that involves select theatres, educational institutions, and communities to engage with the Marcellus Shale script to develop “civically-engaged theatre.

The public performance of Marcellus Shale is in collaboration with Telluride Mountainfilm at the 2017 festival. Other communities involved in the project include University of Virginia, Antioch College, and ArtSpot Productions in New Orleans, Lousiana.

“This is a huge honor to be a part of this project and to work so closely with Paul & Ellen to bring their show to life in Telluride.” says Sasha Sullivan, director and artistic director of Telluride Theatre “We are so excited to welcome The Talking Band to town during Mountainfilm and to present ‘Marcellus Shale.’ We live close to communities that are directly affected by this issue and it is something very special to use theatre to engage in a very important conversation. The show goes deeper than just the issue of fracking; it delves into: dreams vs. reality, money and morals, generational divides, nature vs. destruction. There are so many beautiful layers to the story.”

“Marcellus Shale” is written by famed NYC Theatre Company, The Talking Band, specifically by members Paul Zimet and Ellen Maddow. The play was inspired by firsthand experience Zimet and Maddow had with the impact of fracking on their upstate New York community in 2013.

“I think at its core this show is really about the decisions that people in small town America make about the way they want their lives to be,” states Colin Sullivan, Telluride Theatre’s executive director and a performer in the show. “‘Marcellus Shale’ is a lot about how people create their own worlds – that is, the world in which they want to live and not necessarily the world as it actually is.”

Critic and activist Andy Horowitz writes of “Marcellus Shale”:

“The play offers a nuanced and thoughtful exploration of this divisive and contentious issue. The opposing views of a spectrum of characters – a veteran with PTSD, local farmers who sold their rights, and those who refused, women ‘Prayer Warriors’ from the local church, spectral ‘Men In Suits’, Occupy Wall Street-style radicals – all are given equal weight and complexity. The story is told in such a way that each character has respect and dignity; they struggle to maintain their human connections even as they hold ideologically irreconcilable positions.”

 

About The Talking Band:

Since its founding in 1974 by Paul ZimetEllen Maddow, and Tina Shepard—all former members of Joseph Chaikin’s seminal Open Theater—The Talking Band has remained a cornerstone of New York City’s avant-garde theater community. Ben Brantley of The New York Times recently described them as “one of the boldest and most venerable politically minded companies in New York experimental theater.” American Theater magazine has deemed The Talking Band “one of the most exceptional theater companies in the country.” Collectively, the company and founders have earned 15 OBIE awards and numerous other honors.

About Telluride Theatre:

Sasha & Colin Sullivan of Telluride Theatre.

Telluride Theatre is dedicated to creating a thriving theatrical presence in the Telluride region by producing original company-driven professional work, culturally relevant community theater, and year-round education programs. The company creates theater that lives in moments of truthful human connection, promotes joyful celebration, and opens a dialogue accessible to all audiences.

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Susan Viebrock

Susan Viebrock

Susan is Telluride Inside… and Out’s founder and editor-in-chief, the visionary on the team, in charge of content, concept and development. For 19+ years, Susan has covered Telluride’s cultural economy, which includes non-profits and special events. Much of her writing features high-profile individuals in the arts, entertainment, business, and politics. She is a former Citibank executive specializing in strategic planning and new business development, and a certified Viniyoga instructor.

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