The Private Theatre works with up-and-coming independent producers to develop projects that we consider innovative.
Current projects include The Peer Gynt Project. The following is an artists’ statement by the project’s creative team:
THE PEER GYNT PROJECT is a U.S./U.K./Norway multi-media theater collaboration conceived by Caroline von Kuhn and co-created by Jennifer Gibbs, John Gould Rubin and Ms. von Kuhn, Produced by Robyn Hussa and starring Neil Hancock – a wheelchair-using actor who has Cerebral Palsy. We are re-telling the epic story of Ibsen’s Peer Gynt by injecting accounts of own contemporary struggles into the narrative. Our new original text is a sequencing of Peer’s story using scenarios both from Ibsen’s work and from our own personal lives and imaginations. We are embracing Peer Gynt as a classic vessel for our most modern dilemmas: loved ones deployed to the war in Afghanistan, the nature of physical disability, overcoming obstacles, the question of whether theater can be as transformative in our world as it was in Ibsen’s. In partnership with our lead actor, we are re-discovering Peer today: a flawed soul wrestling with dreams and demons in pursuit of his fullest life. THE PEER GYNT PROJECT integrates our original text with new folk songs played live, recorded compositions, interactive video and athletic choreography. We are designing a custom sports wheelchair compatible with tracks, frames, outriggers and pulleys, to empower our wheelchair-using lead actor with an extraordinary mobility. Additionally, we are documenting our process on video for possible use in the story.
We aim to be truly accessible, to connect directly to a diverse and international audience, while shattering expectations of what is possible. We strive to surpass individual limitations, to surprise ourselves, to find joy in making work that is bigger than we are. We seek to startle our audiences into realizing that the inconceivable can become real; that we are all Peer Gynt.
This project has been devised in London through Old Vic/New Voices, in New York through The Private Theatre and in Oslo through the National Theatre of Norway, which will co-produce our next public workshop in August-September, 2012, at the International Ibsen Festival. We are generating and developing our work in all three countries through workshops and weekly Skype videoconference rehearsals. THE PEER GYNT PROJECT is designed to be truly international: artistically, institutionally, and in every aspect of production. Our goal is to partner with arts institutions in all three countries for a full production in 2014, playing in Norway, the U.K. and the U.S..