Elijah in the Wadi – What’s Next?

 

 

Elijah in the Wadi

Elijah in the Wadi
Digital Illustration by Candy Kuehn (c) 2016

 

My multimedia dramatic work Elijah in the Wadi was produced at Illusion Theatre from April 8-10, 2016, as part of The Right Here Showcase, an annual juried commissioning and production forum that supports Minnesota-based, mid-career contemporary performing artists, introducing new audiences to their work.  I was thrilled with the response from our audiences at the premiere performances, and I am now seeking additional venues to present the work to new communities around the country.

 

The prophet Elijah at Mt. Carmel, from "Elijah in the Wadi" by Craig Harris. Photo by Candy Kuehn (c) 2016

The prophet Elijah at Mt. Carmel, from “Elijah in the Wadi” by Craig Harris. Photo by Candy Kuehn (c) 2016

 

The original commission from the Southwest Center for Jewish Culture to create “Elijah in the Wadi” flows from an initiative to create a collection of theatrical works based on the Jewish Prophets to present in various formats, venues and situations: theaters, synagogues, Jewish Community Centers, other religious venues and community settings. These works would be used to provide a context for discussion and community engagement within and across communities.

 

Elijah's whirlwind by Candy Kuehn

Elijah’s whirlwind from “Elijah in the Wadi by Craig Harris
Digital Illustration by Candy Kuehn (c)2016

 

I am excited and extremely grateful to report that I have been awarded grants from the Howard B. & Ruth F. Brin Jewish Arts Endowment, and from Rimon: MN Jewish Arts Council to support the initiative to tour this work to diverse communities, and I am encouraged by their support. The plan is to produce four or five performances and community engagement events beginning in the spring of 2017 throughout the rest of the year. Discussions are taking place now with prospective venues, and I will announce the schedule as soon as information is available.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I created Elijah in the Wadi with a view towards taking the show into different communities, and different sizes and types of spaces. My goal is to travel with the show, customizing the production to the specific circumstances and resources that suits the host community. While I will certainly be thrilled to produce the show in large, well-equipped theaters, I feel that there is deep value in presenting the show to small groups in intimate settings, providing opportunities for people to explore the topics revealed in the show in more depth.

The premiere production was accomplished by a complement of approximately 12 people, including a complex rigging system for the hanging projection scrims, four video projectors, a quadraphonic sound system, and a running crew of five people, in addition to the live actor and cellist. The set and staging for the show was created for a large venue with high ceilings and full lighting grid and extensive production resources. I am currently creating a flexible touring model and a portable set design for the show that could easily travel with as few as three people – the actor, me, and one production associate.

In addition, I am creating a platform for community engagement to facilitate group exploration of the issues raised in the show, intersecting with the issues of concern within the host community.  Elijah in the Wadi will travel to many different communities, and will seek to bring diverse communities together. The implementation plan is based on developing relationships with synagogues and/or Jewish Community Centers, Christian, Muslim and other faith communities, and with organizations serving the general public. Panel/discussion programming is developed in collaboration with representatives from each community who are knowledgeable about Elijah’s significance in their religious and/or spiritual realms, or who have interest in exploring the concept and role of prophets in the world. Performances and discussions will be held within each community, in addition to bringing different organizations and communities together to explore common themes and meaning in today’s world.

 

Here are some samples of the sounds and sights of Elijah in the Wadi:

 

 

 

Elijah in the Wadi Collaborators

I’m fortunate to have had a tremendous artistic team working with me, and I want to recognize the substantial impact that these exceptional collaborative artists had in the development of this work. Their vast cumulative experience, insights, generosity and willingness to explore new terrain with unbounding excitement boosted my spirit and brought so much more to the show. They held me accountable; they saw different things that clarified the vision; and they are all creative, solution-oriented explorers:

Written and Composed by Craig Harris

Pearce Bunting Elijah & Story to Stage Collaboration

Randall Davidson: Cello & Story to Stage Collaboration

Jim Peitzman: Video Design & Story to Stage Collaboration

Candy Kuehn: Costumes, Digital Illustration & Story to Stage Collaboration

Tim Donahue: Live Sound Mix Performance

Mike Grogan: Lighting Design

Raven Said to Elijah Photo: Candy Kuehn (c) 2016

Raven Said to Elijah
Photo: Candy Kuehn (c) 2016

 

 

What’s next?

Elijah in his Power Coat

Elijah in his Power Coat
Photo by Candy Kuehn (2016)

The original commission from the Southwest Center for Jewish Culture to create “Elijah in the Wadi” flows from an initiative to create a collection of theatrical works based on the Jewish Prophets to present in various formats, venues and situations: theaters, synagogues, Jewish Community Centers, other religious venues and community settings. These works would be used to provide a context for discussion and community engagement within and across communities.

I was thrilled with the response from our audiences at the premiere performances of Elijah in the Wadi, and I am seeking additional venues to present the work to new communities around the country. I created Elijah in the Wadi with a view towards taking the show into different communities, and different sizes and types of spaces. My goal is to travel with the show, customizing the production to the specific circumstances and resources that suits the host community. While I would certainly be thrilled to produce the show in large, well-equipped theaters, I feel that there is deep value to presenting the show to small groups in intimate settings, providing opportunities for people to explore the topics revealed in the show in more depth.

The premiere production was accomplished by a complement of approximately 12 people, including a complex rigging system for the hanging projection scrims, four video projectors, a quadraphonic sound system, and a running crew of five people, in addition to the live actor and cellist. The set and staging for the show was created for a large venue with high ceilings and full lighting grid and extensive production resources. I am currently creating a flexible touring model and a portable set design for the show that could easily travel with an actor, me, and a production associate.

Elijah's Confrontation with King Azahiah Photo: Candy Kuehn (c) 2016

Elijah’s Confrontation with King Azahiah
Photo: Candy Kuehn     (c) 2016

In addition, I am creating a platform for community engagement to facilitate group exploration of the issues raised in the show, intersecting with the issues of concern within the host community.  Elijah in the Wadi will travel to many different communities, and will seek to bring diverse communities together. The implementation plan is based on developing relationships with synagogues and/or Jewish Community Centers, Christian, Muslim and other faith communities, and with organizations serving the general public. Panel/discussion programming is developed in collaboration with representatives from each community who are knowledgeable about Elijah’s significance in their religious and/or spiritual realms, or who have interest in exploring the concept and role of prophets in the world. Performances and discussions will be held within each community, in addition to bringing different organizations and communities together to explore common themes and meaning in today’s world.

I am grateful to have received grants from the Howard B. & Ruth F. Brin Jewish Arts Endowment, and from Rimon: MN Jewish Arts Council to support this initiative, and I am encouraged by their support. The plan is to produce four or five performances and community engagement events beginning in the spring of 2017 throughout the rest of the year. Discussions are taking place now with prospective venues, and I will announce the schedule as soon as information is available.

Please visit this link to follow the “Elijah in the Wadi” project.

 

 

 

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