December 20 – December 23, 2018 – La MaMa Ellen Stewart Theatre – 66 East 4th Street, NYC
From December 20 to 23, La MaMa Experimental Theater in association the GOH Productions will present the fourth annual production of East Village Dance Project’s The Shell-Shocked Nut, an alternative Nutcracker set in the East Village, featuring an intergenerational cast of dancers and musicians. The piece is recommended for family audiences.
In this unconventional take on the seasonal staple, a wandering child and a war veteran suffering from PTSD take a magical voyage through the East Village. The pair of characters visit Tompkins Square Park, Economy Candy Store, Saint Mark’s Place, and other iconic East Village landmarks while exploring themes of loss and recovery.
The New York Times said of the Shell-Shocked Nut, “The East Village has a “Nutcracker” of its own and, fittingly, it’s on the gritty side.” Time Out NY chose the production as a “Critics’ Pick”.
The Shell-Shocked Nut is conceived and directed by Martha Tornay and co-directed by Victoria Roberts-Wierzbowski. The pair also spearhead East Village Dance Project (EVDP), a dance development program that has offered after-school classes in ballet, modern and choreography in lower Manhattan since 1997.
The show first emerged as a studio showing in the weeks after Superstorm Sandy created as a means of brightening spirits after a challenging time for the community. “I started thinking about the cathartic process of working through a stressful situation,” Tornay said.
The sister and daughter of war veterans, Tornay was inspired to use the structure of the Nutcracker to tell a more personal story of the effects of trauma, while maintaining the accessible, family-friendly nature of the traditional ballet.
In the years following its inception, the piece has grown to a full-scale production, featuring young students from the dance program alongside an array of professional performers, artists and guest choreographers from NYC and beyond. The 2018 Guest Artists include the New Mexico-based Aerial group, Project in Motion; Detroit-based dance artists Shaina and Bryan Baira; and New York City performers Delaney McDonough, Indah Walsh, Chloe London, Xiao Quan, Lauren Kravitz, Ellen Maynard and OBIE-winning scenic designer Donald Eastman.
Local composer Clare Farris created original pieces for the show, based off the Tchaikovsky score. The show also includes sections of Tchaikovsky in its unadulterated state, Massachusetts-based musician/composer Peter Jones, and contemporary tracks by Duke Ellington, David Lowery, Lynn Anderson, Aretha Franklin and more.
The Shell-Shocked Nut will run from Dec. 20-23, Thurs to Sat at 7PM; Sunday at 3PM. Tickets are $20 and $15 seniors, students and children 12 and under, and can be purchased online at lamama.org or at the Box Office: (212) 352-3101