Premiere: Thursday, December 11th, 2014 | ODC Theater, SF
Three years in the making, Izzie-Award winning PRIVATE LIFE is a series of interconnecting stories about a group of American soldiers and their families. With text by poet Deborah Crooks, original music by composer Bruno Louchouarn, and choreography and direction by Deborah Slater, PRIVATE LIFE plumbs the emotional depths of military life and the fundamental nature of what it means to survive.
Slater conceived the idea for PRIVATE LIFE through a series of conversations with former ODC dancer Private Freeman, who joined the military at age 17, one year before he started to dance. PRIVATE LIFE grapples with the seemingly opposite worlds of art and war, using Sun Tzu’s 6th c. BCE military treatise The Art of War as a primary structuring tool. “What interests me in the book is Sun Tzu’s psychological analysis of power — how you get it and hold on to it. Many of his chapters serve as blueprints for relationships, the domestic just as much as the military kind,” says Slater.
PRIVATE LIFE interweaves Private Freeman’s story in the form of filmic dreams and memories which punctuate the live performance. Ben Estabrook, Lindsay Gauthier, Loren Robertson and Ian Winters collaborated on the videography. Performing the various roles of soldier, husband, wife and girlfriend are Anna Greenberg and Andrew Merrell. They join returning company members Derek Harris, Kerry Mehling and Kelly Kemp. Beth Harris and actor Paul Finocchiaro round out the cast.”Military life offers a lens for considering questions which I would not have otherwise,” continues Slater. “When you have a near-death experience, what do you hold on to? What does it mean to have an experience that no one else close to you has had? Why do some people suffer PTSD, and others not? Why does there always have to be a winner and a loser?”
All Photos of Kerry Mehling, Derek Harris, Kelly Kemp & Andrew Merrell by Pak Han