From the Vault Dept.: Advances aren’t nearly as interesting as reviews, but this piece looks at a theater piece with dance that presented a fascinating meditation on the Shaker heritage, which is part of the Albany area’s history. I saw the performance that the piece below tried to persuade you to attend, and I recall a small house with an embarrassingly inattentive audience – but there’s no review in my files. We shall content ourselves with this.
SHAKER LEADER ANN LEE, who emigrated from England in 1774 with eight followers, was known to her flock as “Mother Ann,” an ironic designation when you consider that she never cared for sexual activity and had children only as the result of a forced marriage – four stillbirths and four kids who lived to be no older than six.
|Production photo by Rob Strong|
“Alfred approached me about the project in 2005,” says Clarke, speaking by telephone from her home in Connecticut. “He said he’d become obsessed by the Shakers. I looked at him as if he were somewhat cracked. But I have so much admiration for his work that I agreed to do it.” The piece had its first workshop at Lincoln Center not long afterward, “but it was in a very different form, more of a traditional play then. Now there’s much more dance, and I think of it as a tone poem on the Shakers.”