“Deeply personal and deeply felt… A whirl of colour and surreal humour.” — The Guardian
Join us in December for the digital tour of Daniel Jamieson’s The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk.
Perhaps you’ve seen them floating over a Russian village? Or perhaps you’ve seen her toppling forward, arms full of wild flowers, as he arches above her head and steals an airborne kiss. Partners in life and on canvas, Marc and Bella Chagall are immortalized as the picture of romance. But whilst on canvas they flew, in life they walked through some of the most devastating times in history.
Inspired by the work of Marc Chagall, the play is set against the backdrop of the Russian revolution and chronicles Chagall’s relationship with his wife, Bella. Emma Rice’s production is drawn in a theatrical language as fluid as Chagall’s paintings, and woven throughout with music and dance inspired by Russian Jewish tradition. It captures the vibrancy of Jewish culture in the vanishing world of early 20th century Europe.
Written by Daniel Jamieson
Directed by Emma Rice
Music by Ian Ross
Produced by Kneehigh/Wise Children/Bristol Old Vic and The Carol Tambor Theatrical Foundation
Broadcast from UK’s Bristol Old Vic Theatre
Featuring performances by Marc Antolin (Marc Chagall), Audrey Brisson (Bella Chagall), and a live band including James Gow and Ian Ross. Set and costume design is by Sophia Clist, lighting design is by Malcolm Rippeth, with choreography by Etta Murfitt and sound design by Simon Baker.
Co-produced by Kneehigh and Bristol Old Vic for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2017, The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk won the 2017 Carol Tambor Best of Edinburgh Award. It was the last show Emma Rice made as Artistic Director of Kneehigh before setting up her own company, Wise Children, and went on to enjoy UK and international tours. These companies are now reuniting to collaborate and remount the award-winning show for both screen and stage, performed live from where it opened four years ago at the Bristol Old Vic, then streamed on demand to audiences around the globe. The actors and creative team will form a social bubble in Bristol ahead of their run, allowing them to mount the piece without social distancing.
Photos (c) Steve Tanner.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Daniel Jamieson (playwright) has worked for Exeter-based Theatre Alibi as an actor, joint artistic director (1995-2000) and writer. His writing credits for the company include Falling, Hammer and Tongs, Goucher’s War, Cobbo, Caught, One in a Million, The Freeze, Shelf Life, Little White Lies, The Swell, Sea of Faces and Birthday, as well as adapting novels by Charles Dickens, Graham Greene, Michael Morpurgo and Dick King-Smith for the stage. Other theatre credits include A Box of Photographs, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt (Polka Theatre), Where’s the Bear, Wish Wash, Knitwits and Flathampton (Royal & Derngate).
Emma Rice (director) is the proud and excited Artistic Director of her new company, Wise Children. She adapted and directed Angela Carter’s Wise Children (The Old Vic/UK tour), Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers (Bristol Passenger Shed/UK tour) and Romantics Anonymous (Bristol Old Vic/Digital tour). For the ENO she directed Orpheus in the Underworld. As Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe (2016/18), she directed Romantics Anonymous, Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Little Matchgirl (and Other Happier Tales). For the previous 20 years, she worked for Kneehigh as an actor, director and Artistic Director. Her productions included The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk, Tristan & Yseult, 946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips, The Wild Bride and The Red Shoes. She was awarded the Outstanding Contribution to British Theatre at the 2019 UK Theatre Awards.