El Dorado at ACT: A Darkly Comic Quest for the Kingdom of Gold
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The last date listed for El Dorado was Saturday August 28, 2010 / 8:00pm.
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This clever comic stage adaptation of Alfred Hitchcock's thriller The 39 Steps turns a cast of just… More
Quotes & Highlights
“El Dorado is fools gold!” —San Francisco Examiner
“It is the kind of show you could watch for hours and never get bored.” —The Stage, London
Vashon Island’s resident physical theatre company celebrates twenty years on in the Northwest with their internationally acclaimed production, El Dorado. Perhaps the company’s best known and signature work, El Dorado has toured both nationally and internationally.
“The show has gifted us with many incredible memories,” says UMO founding member David Godsey. “At the end of the performance of __El Dorado __at the Sibiu International Theatre Festival in Romania, the audience spontaneously leapt to their feet and applauded for a long, long time and wouldn’t let us leave the stage.”
UMO created El Dorado in 1992 in the style of ‘Buffoon Theatre.’ Buffoons are fantastical, irreverent creatures, derived from the outcasts of medieval society. Much like the traditional court jester, buffoons play at humanity, mocking our follies, casting knowing glances at our obsession with power. El Dorado focuses on the Spanish conquistadors’ quest for the legendary “Kingdom of Gold” in the Americas. In the play, UMO’s buffoons direct their unbridled energies into a re-visitation of this quest, searching ruthlessly for the city of El Dorado, its secrets and treasures.
El Dorado, along with the rest of UMO’s work, was created on Vashon. The six original members who co-created the piece, all Islanders, are Esther Edelman, Martha Enson, David Godsey, Kevin Joyce, Janet McAlpin (director) and Steffon Moody. The wonderfully grotesque costumes for El Dorado were created by Vashon artist Patricia Toovey, who worked closely with each original cast member as they designed their unique buffoon character.
“Patricia has been an amazing and irreplaceable collaborator for UMO. Not just on El Dorado, but on several other UMO creations she has created outlandish and spectacular costumes” director McAlpin says. “We really are indebted to her.”
McAlpin feels it is a testament to the story and to the talents of the original co-creators that this show has withstood the tests of time. “El Dorado is still artistically and socially relevant,” she muses. “We live in a time when we are being called upon to examine our inner conquistador/consumer and re-evaluate our nagging constant quest for more, better, bigger stuff.
McAlpin reports that this remount of El Dorado includes some recasting of the piece. She notes that the ensemble itself has shifted and grown to include five new members: Islanders Kajsa Ingemansson, Mik Kuhlman, and Elizabeth Klob, and Seattle performers Amy Rider and Lyam White.
“The show has the stamp of the original ensemble and fresh energy from the new cast members,” she says.
It was Thanksgiving week 1989 when a group of young performers arrived on Vashon Island to begin their collaboration as the physical theatre ensemble UMO. Two decades later, their body of work includes 22 full-length productions, several commissioned works, countless workshops and residencies and a multitude of appearances at events throughout the Northwest. UMO Ensemble has become known as one of the most innovative, compelling and critically acclaimed performance companies based in the Pacific Northwest. The ensemble has performed in theaters, at festivals and in schools throughout the Northwest, the United States, Canada and Europe.
UMO began their creative collaboration in 1987. The company is committed to an ensemble of performers who create and compose their own productions. The ensemble’s creative process is rooted in physical theatre. Improvisations in movement, character, vocalizing, and writing are the basis for the creation and development of new works. For each piece there is a member of the ensemble who serves as artistic director, holding the larger picture in mind. Since their arrival on Vashon Island in 1989, UMO Ensemble has created over 20 original works for the theater.