Because we work over long periods of time, we produce very infrequently. However, each piece is performed as work-in-process many times in different locations throughout the community. We have participated in Getty Villa Theatre Lab, Network of Ensemble Theatre’s Micro-Fest, USC’s Visions and Voices Series at Bovard Auditorium, Mark Taper Forum’s First Step/Next Step series, Edgefest /L.A. History Project @ the Autry Museum, ASK Common Ground Festival, The Getty Center performance series, as well as Lankershim Arts Center, Children of the Night (refuge), among other venues and events throughout Southern California.
APOLLO [Parts 1, 2, 3]
Written, directed, scenic design by Nancy Keystone (2002-2009)
Premiere of entire trilogy at Portland Center Stage (Oregon), 2009.
Premiere of Parts 1&2 at Center Theatre Group's Kirk Douglas Theatre (LA) 2005
A collage of image, text, music and movement, APOLLO is an epic narrative of America, exploring the U.S. space program, its relationship with Nazi rocket scientists, and the surprising intersection with the Civil Rights Movement. It focuses on America’s century of progress, and the legacy of slavery, examining the moral cost of human aspiration.
Received Backstage West Garland Award for Playwriting, and Critics’ Picks for Best Production, Directing, Ensemble, Scenic Design, Video Design; Pick of the Week from LA Weekly, named one of “Top Ten Plays of 2005,” LA Alternative Press. In Portland a “Drammy” award for Outstanding Scenic Design. Beyond the life of the production, APOLLO is prominently featured in the new edition of THE CREATIVE SPIRIT: AN INTRODUCTION TO THEATRE by Stephanie Arnold (McGraw Hill, 2011); the designs were recently exhibited in the U.S. Pavilion at the 2011 Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space; and the play was included in the Fall 2010 curriculum of a “Science and Theater” course at University of North Carolina at Wilmington (Prof. Charles Grimes). Supported by grants and commissions: NEA Access to Excellence grant, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Commission, APAP/Doris Duke Foundation Ensemble Theatres Collaborations grant, Flintridge Foundation, Durfee Foundation, Culver City Cultural Affairs Commission, A.S.K. Theatre Projects.
Performed as a work-in-progress: Bovard Auditorium, USC Visions and Voices series (2008), Bootleg Theatre (2008), Diavolo Dance Space (2007), Bootleg Theatre (2007), La Finestra Art Center (2006), Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), Portland (2005) Body Vox, Portland (2005), Mark Taper Forum’s 1st Step/Next Step Series (2004), Powerhouse Theatre (2003), L.A. History Project/Edge of the World Theatre Festival at the Autry Museum (2002), A.S.K. Theater Projects’ Common Ground Festival (2002)
"…unapologetically innovative, mesmerizing, affecting…excellent writing and some of the finest moments of stagecraft I've ever witnessed…essential viewing." - Ben Waterhouse, WILLAMETTE WEEK, 2009
“...resonant, allusive imagery, fascinating historical detail, a rich tableau of vivid characters and a broad sweep of ideas… it presents a level of conceptual ambition and technical execution that sets it apart…” - Marty Hughley, THE OREGONIAN, 2009
“[Apollo] represents the very best of its country and culture; fiercely intelligent, morally attuned, unflinchingly questioning and motivated by a quiet rage at its identity having been hijacked for so long…it fizzed with big ideas and grand historical narratives…witty, moving, mind-expanding and heartbreaking. I haven't seen such an exciting, satisfying piece of theatre in a long, long time.” -from the UK blog of FIN KENNEDY, 2009
"...evocative montage of dance, spoken-word, documentary film and old-fashioned interrogation scenes ...echoes with the moral indignation of Arthur Miller...In her sparkling, poetical production, Keystone is like a lonely, outraged Jesuit, questioning the cost to the soul of blood-stained accomplishments, however lofty."
- Steven Leigh Morris (from short review), L.A. WEEKLY--PICK OF THE WEEK!
“…ebullient, visually oriented and choreographically inventive…Keystone has a gift for tapping into new ways of illuminating events…” - Joel Hirschhorn, DAILY VARIETY
BREAD: An Exploration of the Staff of Life
Created by Nancy Keystone (2011)
Commission from Cornerstone Theater Company for their Creative Seeds Festival, performed at Temple Beth Israel of Highland Park and Eagle Rock, Los Angeles.
An interactive performance with readings, music, dialogue, inspirations, kneading, fresh bread.
POSE: A Happening
By Allen Kaprow/reinvented by CMPG (2008)
Collaboration with LA’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) as part of “Allen Kaprow—Art as Life.”
Over a period of 10 hours on a single day, a chair is carried through the city of Los Angeles along the length of Sunset Blvd to the Pacific Ocean (22 miles). Here and there a sitter sits down and is photographed. The photos are left on the spot as the chair moves on.
365 Days/365 Plays Week 47
By Suzan-Lori Parks, directed by Nancy Keystone (2007)
Performed in a disused military barracks and grounds, overlooking the Pacific Ocean at Angels Gate Cultural Center, San Pedro, CA.
ANTIGONE: a new adaptation
Written, directed, scenic design by Nancy Keystone (2000-2001)
World premiere at Portland Center Stage, 2001.
Performed as a work-in-progress at the Actors' Gang Theatre, El Centro Space, 2000.
Drawing upon several dramatic versions of the myth, as well as literature, philosophy and popular culture, our piece addressed the central themes of the Antigone story in the context of contemporary culture: free will vs. fate, humans’ relationship to the divine, the moral order of the community, being and consciousness.
“Keystone’s new adaptation filters the ‘Antigone’ myth through centuries of experience and gives it a swift modern kick in the pants…the result is always interesting and sometimes arresting…it’s boldly and imaginatively done.” - Bob Hicks, THE OREGONIAN
THE AKHMATOVA PROJECT
Created, directed, scenic design by Nancy Keystone (1997-2000)
World premiere at the Actors' Gang Theatre, 2000.
Performed as a work-in-progress at ASK Theater Projects’ Common Ground Festival (1998), The Getty Center (1998), Lankershim Arts Center (1999), Children of the Night refuge organization (1999).
A movement-based performance piece inspired by the life and writing of Russian poet, Anna Akhmatova. Part dream, part memory, THE AKHMATOVA PROJECT tells the story of the soul's survival against the vulgar oppression of a totalitarian regime, through the dangerous miracle of poetry. Text is constructed from poems, government documents, diaries, and other found materials.
Named one of the "10 Best" Productions for 2000, by Los Angeles Times, nominated for 4 LA Weekly awards (Best Production, Director, Ensemble, Choreography), winning the choreography award.
"...dazzling epic movement piece...a riveting narrative...stunning choreography and visual tableaux...intoxicating milieu..." - Miriam Jacobson, LA WEEKLY, 2000
"...lyrical...intense...elegant and spare..." - Jana J. Monji, LA TIMES, 2000
THE ROVER by Aphra Behn
Directed and designed by Nancy Keystone (1989-1990)
Originally commissioned by The Fund For Santa Barbara, and performed in a private home, the piece was later remounted in an abandoned locker room at the Hollywood Recreation Center in Los Angeles.
MEASURE FOR MEASURE by William Shakespeare
Directed by Nancy Keystone (1990-1991)
Toured Santa Barbara, Ojai, and Los Angeles, performing in non-traditional spaces. Named one of the “10 Best” Productions by the LA Reader.
SUN SONG (1991) and STORIES OF THE SUN (1990)
Created and directed by Nancy Keystone
Trans-cultural, multi-media outdoor festival events, developed and produced in collaboration with members of the Santa Barbara community as part of the Santa Barbara Summer Solstice Festival.
Utilizing 3 stages in the SB Courthouse gardens, with 100 performers (actors, musicians, dancers, puppetteers) spoken & sung in English, Spanish, and Nahuatl with ASL interpretation.
DR. FAUSTUS by Christopher Marlowe
Adapted and directed by Nancy Keystone (1987)
Performed at Joseppi’s Bar in Santa Barbara, with a live jazz combo, the site-specific work made use of all the nooks and crannies of that venue, and initiated a new audience in the theatre experience.
“In its too-short run…this Dr. Faustus served as a reminder that good theater can, and should, erupt anywhere…highly imaginative and well-executed rendering.” - Josef Woodard, Santa Barbara Independent
BAAL by Bertolt Brecht
Directed and designed by Nancy Keystone (1985)
Developed and produced as an independent student project at UCLA, and performed in a basement room. The production and the ensemble were the genesis of Critical Mass Performance Group.