Storrs: Connecticut Repertory Theatre (CRT), in conjunction with Split Knuckle Theatre, will present The Band of the Black Hand in the Studio Theatre March 26th through April 4th. Explore the world of Capital City with Private Dick Jack Stone, a city rife with trouble at the hand of the Black Hand. Join CRT for this fun theatrical journey in an evening filled with shadow and jazz in The Band of the Black Hand. For tickets and information, call 860-486-2113 and visit www.crt.uconn.edu.
Guided by Greg Webster, Bart. P. Roccoberton, and Margarita Blush, The Band of the Black Hand tells the story of Private Dick Jack Stone, who is hired to solve the savage murder of an investigative reporter Charlie Hunt. There’s a brutal gang war on in Capital City and the Band of the Black Hand is taking over from the Streets to the Mayor’s office. As Stone journeys into the depths of Capital City, he begins to feel the clutch of the Black Hand. This joint production exploring the sensual, dark, and mysterious world of Film Noir incorporates modern Indonesian shadow puppetry, striking physical theatre, and jazz music.
Split Knuckle Theatre, the critically acclaimed New Haven-based theatre troupe behind Endurance creates dynamic, physical, visually striking theatre in a style known as devised theatre. This approach develops the play from an idea through improvisation and an open, collaborative rehearsal process. Last year, Webster worked with the third-year MFA acting class as well as Nick Ryan, Split Knuckle’s playwright, on the initial development of the piece. A spine of a story and script were created.
“In devised theater we start with a blank stage and an idea. In the case of Black Hand it was President Eisenhower’s farewell speech warning us about the birth of the military-industrial complex in the United States” said Split Knuckle Artistic Director and UConn Associate Professor Greg Webster. “Then designers, actors, musicians and puppeteers improvise and exchange ideas, concepts and creative visions. You paint with broad strokes and the form and narrative makes itself clear to the ensemble through vicious trial and error. In the case of Black Hand, this is the second stage of a three-part creation process.”
The puppetry used in the show, along with the incorporation of jazz music adds to the storytelling. “The style of puppetry we’re using in Band of the Black Hand is shadow theatre. It is an Asian form of theatre. Here in the US, we’ve added multiple light sources, which makes it like living cinema. Adding shadow theatre to Band of the Black Hand is extremely appropriate. Shadows by definition are a lack of light, which tend to be black and of course the word “noir” means black. There is a mystery about it. We are adding an element of theatre known as the Grande Guignol, which is essentially “horror theatre”. There is a lot of violence in this show, but it is all done through silhouette,” said Bart. P Roccoberton, Director of UConn’s Puppet Arts program and one of the collaborative directors on Band of the Black Hand.
Join CRT and Split Knuckle Theatre as they give life to the shadows of Capital City. The Band of the Black Hand runs March 26 – April 4, 2015 in the Studio Theatre on the UConn-Storrs Campus. Tickets and information are available at 860-486-2113 or crt.uconn.edu.
THE CREATIVE TEAM
Greg Webster serves as the Artistic Director of Split Knuckle Theater Company and is also one of the company’s founding members. Greg has worked as a performer, teacher, and choreographer from Broadway to the West End and has worked extensively in regional theaters throughout the United States as well as internationally. He is an Assistant Professor of Movement Theater at the professional actor training program at University of Connecticut and is responsible for teaching the pedagogy of the French theater master Jacques Lecoq. He is also the resident movement coach and fight Choreographer for the Connecticut Repertory Theater. Previously to his appointment at UCONN he was an instructor at the London International School of Performing Arts, of which he was also a graduate. He holds a B.A. in theater from Columbia College of Chicago and an M.F.A. in acting from the University of Missouri Kansas City. Greg is also an accomplished Martial artist, Authentic Pilates instructor, Gyrotonic ® teacher and Personal trainer. He holds a black belt in Aikido and is a former Golden Gloves boxer.
Bart. P. Roccoberton Jr (Director of the Puppet Arts Program and Associate Professor of Dramatic Arts in Puppetry; Collaborative Director) has worked as professional Puppet Artist since 1972; for more than 15 years he has toured popular puppet performances to schools, libraries, colleges, theatres and museums from Washington, DC, to Montreal, both with his own troupe, THE PANDEMONIUM PUPPET COMPANY, and with students from the University of Connecticut and THE INSTITUTE OF PROFESSIONAL PUPPETRY ARTS. He is recognized worldwide as a leading advocate for the Puppet Arts in the United States and abroad. He serves as a counselor for the Professional Training Commission of the Union Internationale de la Marionenette which has its center in Charleville-Mezieres, France. Recently, he was elected to the Board of Trustees of UNIMA-USA. His education includes a BA from Monclair State College in Speech/Technical Theatre and an MFA from University of Connecticut in Puppet Arts.
The Creative Team also includes: Margarita Blush (Collaborative Director), Krista Weltner (Puppet Creator), Kevin Rahrig (Scenic Design), Jelena Antanasijevic (Costume Design), Joshua Winiarski (Lighting Design), Abby Golec (Sound Design), Lindsay Cummings (Dramaturg), Paul Spirito (Art Director), Marie Percy (Choreographer), Nick Ryan (Writer) and Shanyn Strub (Stage Manager).
Actors Equity member and UConn MFA Acting alum James Jelkin stars as Jack Stone. The full cast includes MFA candidates Darren Brown and Meredith Saran; and BFA candidates Saul Alvarez, Julia Estrada, Kalob Martinez, Ryan Shea, and puppeteer Mark Blashford.
Please call 860-486-2113 for tickets or for more information. Please call or visit the box office for specific show dates and times because performance schedules vary and are subject to change. Tickets available online at www.crt.uconn.edu.
Box Office Location – Please note that the CRT box office is housed in the Nafe Katter Theatre, located at 820 Bolton Road. There is short term parking on Bolton Road, in the loading zone directly in front of the theatre. CRT tickets can no longer be purchased at the Jorgensen box office. CRT’s box office is open Monday-Friday, n oon – 5 p.m., and will also be open one hour prior to show time at the theatre where the performance is taking place.
Weeknight evening performances start at 7:30 p.m. Weekend evening performances start at 8 p.m. Matinee performances start at 2 p.m.
Ticket prices range from $7 – $30.
For more information or press tickets contact Matthew J. Pugliese at 860-486-4799.
CRT is the professional producing arm of the Department of Dramatic Arts at the University of Connecticut, Storrs. CRT productions are directed, designed by, and cast with visiting professional artists, including Equity actors, faculty members, and the department’s most advanced student artists. The synergy between professional and advanced student artists creates extraordinary theatre and a unique learning environment.