A.C.T.'s The Overcoat, an Integration of Theatre and Music
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The last date listed for The Overcoat was Sunday October 2, 2005 / 7:00pm.
Currently at A.C.T.
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Reviews & Ratings
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Outstanding & unusual performance. Without words or dialogue, the actors (or were they dancer?) communicated a world of emotion, drama, laughter & pain.
Our seats were great despite being in the 2nd balcony. We still saw the facial expressions...continued
Quotes & Highlights
“A piece of bravura theater-making.” —Time Magazine
“It is, in a word, spectacular.” —Globe & Mail (Toronto)
Created by Morris Panych and Wendy Gorling
Adapted from “The Overcoat” by Nikolai Gogol
Music by Dmitri Shostakovich
Dazzling and brawling, funny and sexy and sad, the international hit The Overcoat is a seamless integration of theater, music, and design. Based on Gogol’s wildly imaginative short stories and set to the music of Shostakovich, The Overcoat uses aesthetic inspiration from such revolutionary artists as Charlie Chaplin and Fritz Lang—as well as a cast of 22 actors and a set two stories high—to create an entirely fresh experience of music theater.
A deceptively simple story told on a near operatic scale, The Overcoat centers on a lowly office drone—relentlessly bullied by his fellow draftsmen, scorned by his secretaries, and doggedly pursued by an amorous and repellent landlady—whose life takes on a brilliant glow when he receives a fashionable new coat. But his desire to be accepted leads to the darkest of consequences and the furthest reaches of madness. A thrilling blend of Shostakovich’s lush music and Gogol’s compelling story, The Overcoat is performed without a single spoken word.
“The Overcoat is about a little man up against the bureaucracy of the world, a world that in Panych’s incredible theatrical imagination looks like Chaplin’s Modern Times,” says A.C.T. Artistic Director Carey Perloff. “The set is an enormous construction of moving wheels and sepia-toned monoliths, and the pace evolves like a silent movie brought to life with magical portrayals, dynamic movement, and incredible music. It is quite honestly unlike anything you’ve ever seen performed live. We are thrilled to continue to bring the world’s great theater artists to Bay Area audiences. The Overcoat joins recent A.C.T. productions such as The Black Rider, Urinetown, and Shockheaded Peter as one-of-a-kind theatrical experiences ideally suited for the Geary stage.”
A sprawling, startling, and comical theatrical event featuring a cast of 22 actors, a two-story mechanical set, and more than 85 costumes, The Overcoat has been hailed by Time magazine as “a piece of bravura theater-making [that] mixes Buster Keaton with Gogol and purrs like a Rolls Royce.” Panych, Gorling, and the original cast developed The Overcoat by challenging themselves to create a story that could be expressed primarily through the body, based upon techniques borrowed from Commedia dell’Arte and English pantomime. Working from Gogol’s short story of the same name, the creators matched the characters and plot to Shostakovich selections chosen by Panych.Arriving at A.C.T. after sold-out European and Canadian tours, The Overcoat has been praised by Time magazine as “a piece of bravura theater-making,” while Canada’s Globe and Mail raves, “It is, in a word, spectacular.”