NPR’S Ira Glass and Monica Bill Barnes meld radio storytelling with contemporary dance to create something new:
Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host
WHEN: Saturday, November 21st at 8p.m.
WHERE: the Matthews Stage, McCarter Theatre, 91 University Pl., Princeton
ADMISSION: Tickets range from $40 - $70.00 and are available by phone at 609-258-2787 or online at www.mccarter.org
Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host combines Ira’s distinctive vocal style and knack for storytelling together with modern dance to create something different.
Working with Monica Bill Barnes & Company Productions, Three Acts combine two art forms that—as Ira puts it—“have no business being together—dance and radio.” The result is a funny, lively and heartfelt evening of dance and stories that has brought down the house wherever it’s been performed, starting with its first test run at Carnegie Hall in 2013.
Ira Glass and This American Life is heard on more than 500 public radio stations in the U.S., and also on public radio in Canada and Australia. Under Glass’s editorial direction, This American Life has won the highest honors for broadcasting and journalistic excellence. A television adaptation of the program ran on the Showtime network for two years, winning three Emmys. The radio show has put out its own comic book, greatest hits compilations, live stage shows, two feature films, a “radio decoder” toy, temporary tattoos and a paint-by-numbers set. A spin-off program called Serial ran for twelve weeks in 2014 and quickly became a pop culture phenomenon, the most listened-to podcast ever created. This is Glass’s professional dance show debut.
The show includes radio interviews restaged as dance pieces, plus stories from the lives of each of the three performers, Ira Glass, Monica Bill Barnes, and Anna Bass. “What makes it work is a shared sensibility,” Glass says. “As dancers, Monica and Anna are these amazingly relatable and funny storytellers without words.” Bass notes, “I think it’s still blowing Ira’s mind to see some of the radio pieces remade this way, with props and costume changes and lighting cues.” Barnes adds, “combining these art forms has led to a show that’s unlike anything I’ve ever choreographed before.”
As the title indicates, the show is in three acts: Act one is about the job of being a performer. Act two: falling in love and what it means to stay in love. Act three: nothing lasts forever. “People who like This American Life will probably like this,” says Glass “because it’s just like the radio show, um, if you picture dancing during all the stories.”