at the barre
All photos courtesy of Joaquin Silva
At the Barre is a new two-act mime musical by Steven Meeker Jr. (Book & Additional Lyrics) and Matthew Gittins (Music & Lyrics). It's an official selection for the Access Theater Residency for the 2017-2018 year.
Through a fast-paced mixture of mime, ballet, stage combat, droznin, slapstick comedy, text, and music, At the Barre pays homage to and turns the golden age love story on its ear by focusing on Catherine, the talented principal dancer at ABT, and Shawn, an overweight mime who is a student in a lower level ballet class at ABT as well as their Inner Selves. Each share a love for ballet and trauma that keeps them from connecting to someone. Through a weird audition, these two will finally meet, be cast together, and must battle a barrage of backstabbing, romantic comedy stereotypes, body issues, suicide, classes, sassy children/co-stars, their consciences, and a one-night stand on their way to love.
At the Barre is based on a series of vignettes collectively entitled Very Strong Liking 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 with Asel Swango in the second-ever The Launch presented by the Department of Theatre & Dance.
Very Strong Liking was developed into a 35-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, with an ensemble made up of Madalyn Baker, Douglas Reitsma, and Jessica Toltzis.