"Stage Notes" Gets Physical

"Stage Notes" Gets Physical

Sat, 05/25/2013 - 12:00pm - 1:00pm

Darren Stevenson joins host Robert Hammond for a discussion of PUSH Physical Theatre, which inspires awe and ignites emotion with physical illusions and gravity-defying, dance-infused, acrobatic high-jinx. Stevenson will talk about their upcoming performances, Arc of Ages.





PUSH Physical Theatre

Founded in Rochester, NY in 2000 by husband-and-wife team, Darren and Heather Stevenson, PUSH represents the couple’s desire to “push” the boundaries of conventional theatre.  In 2009, they received both the Anton Germano Dance Award and the Performing Artist of the Year Award from the Arts & Cultural Council of Greater Rochester.  The current company* also features veteran PUSH member Jonathan Lowery, former Cirque du Soleil performer Avi Pryntz-Nadworny, and Rochester Parkour member Andrew Salmon.

PUSH's repeated sold-out performances at Geva Theatre Center have helped to establish them as masters of physical storytelling. In addition to a busy touring schedule that has taken them all over the U.S., England and Malta, the company is very involved in arts-in-education programs, including anti-bullying residencies for the Rochester City and Newark Central School Districts. PUSH has been profiled on PBS and NPR, and is regularly awarded grants to create new work.  The company offers its own educational programs:  the Teen Mentorship program, PUSH Pins Summer Camp for Kids, and a Summer Intensive for adults that attracts students from all over the world. Since August of 2012, PUSH has been represented by Robin Klinger Entertainment, and will conduct a two-week residency at CSU this summer with Pilobolus and Acro Yoga.  


 Arc of Ages on stage at CenterStage May 30 through June 9

“Arc of Ages is a collection of epic tales dating from that cradle of western civilization – the Bible,” explains PUSH co-founder and artistic director, Darren Stevenson. “Legendary figures such as Samson, Delilah, David and Bathsheba come to life in an action-movie kind of way, allowing modern audiences to easily connect – not only with the drama that unfolds – but also with the human situations that are still very relevant today.”

PUSH’s husband-and-wife founders Darren and Heather Stevenson first set choreography for Samson’s story on students 12 years ago. Since then, they’ve used other biblical narratives as inspiration, which prompted JCC CenterStage Artistic Director Ralph Meranto to invite the company back to present a new, full-length piece especially for his theatre’s 2012-2013 season.

“PUSH's provocative physical storytelling reinterprets and beautifully transcends its source material,” says Meranto. “Darren, Heather and I have been working towards this collaboration for several years, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to present the world premiere of Arc of Ages at JCC CenterStage.”

Despite its years in the making, Arc of Ages includes a majority of brand new work – and a cast that’s almost five times the size of PUSH’s current company of five*. Auditions held in February resulted in 18 additional performers from all over the greater Rochester area:  Claire Burtner, Jessica Corwin, Rachel Kodweis, Elizabeth Krzyzanowski, Katherine Marino, Danielle Ohl, Elyssia Primus, Janette Shaffner, Amber Smith, Lani Toyama, Emily Upham, Dontaee Williamson and Kira Zebroski.  The cast will also include former PUSH members Tom Ohl, Ben Christensen and Christine Christensen, as well as former Dracula cast member and co-writer, Danny Hoskins. 

The production also incorporates 3D projections, something that PUSH began experimenting with in its recent collaboration with RIT’s 3D Digital Design Professor Marla Schweppe and NTID students.  That project, PUSHinterPLAY of Art, Culture and Technology, was a result of a grant from the the Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation.

Kings and slaves, lovers and liars, epic tales of life and death from the cradle of civilization. An original performance by PUSH.

Arc of Ages is PUSH’s most ambitious project so far, and we are very excited to share it with Rochester first,” says Stevenson.