at the barre
Book & Lyrics - SMJ / Music - Sarah Flaim
Photographer - Joaquin Silva
At the Barre is based on a series of vignettes collectively entitled Very Strong Liking, choreographed by Steven Meeker Jr., that began in 2013 with individual vignettes being developed at biannual Otterbein University Dance Workshops as well as presentations in the first and second Otterbein University Department of Theatre and Dance's Festival and at the second-ever The Launch presented by the Department of Theatre & Dance.
Very Strong Liking was developed into a 40-minute mime play that was presented on August 5, 2017 in the Jewel Box Theater as a part of the Midtown International Theatre Festival. The production featured Olivia Crawford as Catherine, Steven Meeker Jr. as Shawn, Isabel Billinghurst as Catherine’s Inner Self, Daniel Kunkel as Shawn’s Inner Self, with Madalyn Baker, Douglas Reitsma, and Jessica Toltzis rounding out the ensemble (Nominated for Best Variety Show).
At the Barre has been in development through residencies starting at the beginning of 2018.
During the February 2018 residency at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT, Steven with collaborators Alli Acuff (Director), Anne-Marie Pietersma (Shawn), and Alex Becker (Catherine), held the first table-read of the script, recorded beginning demos for the songs “Blown,” “Pause #3,” & “Radio Silence,” as well as block the end of Act One and the beginning of Act Two for a potential staged reading. Colby Rison, Chandler Smith, Zahan Mehta, & Leya Van Doren served as additional readers.
As a resident artist at the Access Theater in New York City, NY from March 1 - August 31, 2018, At the Barre was read through monthly table readings with new and old collaborators from the New York City area. Readers included Emmy Albritton, Madalyn Baker, Kaylee Barrett, Alex Becker, Megan Bowen, Sarah DiFiore, Madison Eberhardt, Ben Folts, Olivia Kasten, Emi Lirman, Sarah Marthinsen, Gianna Meaglia, Ana Mirabal, Jasen Miyamoto, Evan Moore-Coll, EmJ Nelson, Carrigan O'Brian, Jennifer Pernia, Violeta Picayo, Anne-Marie Pietersma, Douglas Reitsma, Payton Smith, David Socolar, Aliza Sotsky, Joyah Love Spangler, Monique St. Cyr, Natalie Szczerba, Emily Michelle Walton, Harley Winzenried, and J.T. Wood.
The first public reading of At the Barre took place during the Scratch Night Series at Theater for the New City on May 21, 2018 in the Cino Theater. The reading was directed by Allison Acuff. The reading featured Emi Lirman (Catherine's Inner Self), Joyah Love Spangler (Shawn's Inner Self), EmJ Nelson (Catherine's Voice), Caylie Rose Newcom (Shawn's Voice), Madison Eberhardt (Catherine's Shadow Self), Amina Theis (Shawn's Shadow Self), Sally Clark (Dani), Morgana Mauney (Madame Jeri), Kaelyn Brandt (Emily), Olivia Kasten (Alli), Natalie Szczerba (Arianna), Jasen Miyamoto (Head of ABT), Sarah Marthinsen (Person #1), Jennifer Pernia (Person #2), Ben Folts (Person #3), & Evan Moore-Coll (Stage Directions).
At the Barre was also in residence at the Dragon’s Egg Studio in Ledyard, CT in August 2018, developing brand-new demos and three new drafts of the show. It also featured a reading. Readers included Ludmila Brito, Jenna Doherty, Lydia Faith, Talia Frank-Stempel, Olivia Kasten, Jasen Miyamoto, Colby Rison, Dani Schlenker, & Lilly Sheridan.