Special Projects

The Bottomland

Music by Patty Loveless and Original Score Composed by Gaétan Leboeuf

Sets by Allen Moyer

Lighting Design by Jane Cox

Costume Design by Liz Prince

Doug Varone’s The Bottomland, a full evening-length work that integrates dance, theater, music and video into a seamless, dramatic whole, was premiered at the Ohio Theater in New York City from December 4-22.

With riveting theatricality and humanity, the two act production probes the changing lives and relationships of an imagined backwoods community. A video that dramatically contrasts the rolling, verdant landscape outside and the jagged walls and curling passageways filled with performers inside Kentucky’s Mammoth Caves, provides a larger-than-life cinematic dialogue with Varone’s on stage dance. (Located three hundred feet beneath the surface, the cavern, whose ancient walls are carved by a series of underground rivers systems, is part of Mammoth Cave National Park.)

Conceived and directed by Doug Varone and shot by Blue Land Media, the video’s sympathetic close-ups of the dancers recalls the stoic heroism of Dorothea Lange’s photographs.

The show's first part, entitled "Songs that Tell a Story", set to traditional country music by Kentucky native Patty Loveless, introduces the outer face of the community. In Part Two, entitled "As Told at Night, When the Air is a Different Color", set to an original score by Gaétan Leboeuf, Varone creates an imagined wordless narrative for the characters. The change in emotional and psychological perspective between the parts is enhanced by the change from video to a traveling set, designed by the Obie Award-winning Allen Moyer. The costumes are by Bessie Award-winning Liz Prince and the lighting is by Jane Cox. The cast includes John Beasant III, Daniel Charon, Natalie Desch, Faye Driscoll, Adriane Fang, Larry Hahn, Stephanie Liapis, Catherine Miller, Eddie Taketa and Nina Watt.

Photo Scott Suchman

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