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Gate Premieres Press, Internationalist & ...Sisters

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In addition to the Headlong co-production of Chris Goode’s ...Sisters, winner of Headlong and the Gate’s inaugural New Directions competition (See News, 29 Jan 2008), the Gate Theatre’s new season – the second under new joint artistic directors Natalie Abrahami and Carrie Cracknell – includes a world premiere and a UK premiere.

The new schedule opens next week with the world premiere of Pierre Rigal’s new solo performance piece, Press, which runs for 17 performances only from 19 February to 8 March 2008 (previews from 15 February). Rigal, who has just been appointed international associate at the Gate, is a former French athlete and choreographer and this latest show is his first commission for a UK venue.

In Press, Rigal explores how our personal space is confined by the pressures of modern life through a “Houdini-esque” choreographic challenge. Working with him is lighting designer Frederic Stoll and sound designer Nihil Bordures, who will both perform live and in response to him each performance.

Rigal came to dance after beginning his career as a 400-metre runner and hurdler. He then studied maths and economics before training as a contemporary dancer. His other shows include a solo exploration of Darwinian evolution in Erection, and Arrets de Jeu in which he staged the childhood memory of his nine-year-old self: a seminal football match in 1982 between France and Germany. Both productions have toured with his company, Compagnie Derniere Minute, all over the world with Erection being performed at the ICA in January 2005 for the London International Mime Festival.

Press will be followed, from 8 April to 3 May 2008 (previews from 3 April), by the UK premiere of Anne Washburn’s The Internationalist, an American satire which “puts business trips and global travel under the microscope”. It will be directed by Gate artistic director Natalie Abrahami and designed by Tom Scutt, with lighting by Ben Pacey.

The Gate’s spring concludes with ...Sisters, a deconstruction of Chekhov’s Three Sisters, adapted and directed by Chris Goode, which runs from 11 June to 5 July 2008 (previews from 5 June). Described as an investigation of “what the liveness of theatre can mean for both performer and audience”, the events and concerns of the original are “re-wired into constantly shifting relationships”, resulting in a different performance every night.

Goode’s company Signal to Noise previously had a hit with The Tempest, which was first seen at the 2000 Edinburgh Fringe and launched a UK-wide tour of people’s living rooms. ...Sisters is the winner from more than 300 entries in the inaugural New Directions competition, launched by the Gate and Headlong in order to find a new approach to classic international plays.

- by Tom Atkins & Terri Paddock


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