By Jeffrey Feeger
I have some exciting news I want to share with you. The play previously known as ‘Catharsis‘, now retitled ‘Feather‘, of which I perform my live art in, has been one of 20 selected to be part of the New York Musical Festival 2013. We are performing on July 8-28th 2013 ‘Off Broadway’ at the Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre. http://www.signaturetheatre.org/Visit/Inside/Griffin.aspx
It will be a dream come true for me to perform live on stage, finally bringing my art to New York City!
Please see http://featherthemusical.com/ or visit/like our facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Feather-A-Musical-Portrait/499693000064086?fref=ts
The concept for Feather was born out of a few degrees of separation amongst artists living on opposite sides of the globe when Australian human rights consultant, Rae Smart, sent the American production team of Jeremy Culver and Charleene Closshey a YouTube video of acclaimed Papua New Guinean artist, Jeffry Feeger, painting a live portrait, amazingly, in only a few hours.
The painting process, starting with Jeffry using his hands before moving on to brushwork, created an emotionally engaging experience and captivated the couple’s imagination who, at the time, were looking for a unique project to develop using their combined talents and skills. Since Jeffry’s process takes place over three distinct acts or movements, it immediately clicked with Jeremy as a writer and Charleene as a composer.
In October of 2011, Jeremy, Charleene, Jeffry, and Rae met in Malibu, CA to explore potential concepts combining the unique elements of painting, music, and film within the framework of a traditional stage drama. After a few weeks of internal workshopping, Jeffry performed a live painting set to Charleene’s music at a private function in Malibu. The positive feedback validated the concept could work in front of a live audience. As Jeremy subsequently started developing the script, it became apparent the painting subject would have to change with each new performance, a challenge directly affecting the narrative structure of the show. The answer was in the decision to collect awareness stories from human rights, health, and environmental organizations and weave them into the story, making each new show and painting unique. And to better incorporate the back-story of the painting subject with the characters found in the text, a film component was also added at this stage. With a solid template in place, the next step was to incorporate the performance, awareness, and film components into a modern musical.
In the summer of 2012, Charleene and Jeremy were invited to Rae’s hometown of Noosa, Australia, a community known for its support and appreciation of the arts, to write the book and music for what would become the new musical, Catharsis, and to ultimately, stage a performance. It was early in this trip they met and formed a partnership with the songwriting duo Nick Everitt and Liesl Karlsson of the alternative folk group, Nick and Liesl.
Over the next three months, the show continued to develop with Nick and Liesl providing original songs to complement Charleene’s comprehensive score. During this time, Jeremy also worked with Moy Sweetman, of the local charity Frangipani Dreams, who would become the show’s first painting subject, while finalizing the script and producing the show’s original film segments. As the team moved out of development and into pre-production, Jeffry traveled down from Papua New Guinea for two weeks of intense rehearsals and community outreach, painting in public spaces to build awareness for the show.
After a critically successful dress rehearsal, the world premiere of Catharsis opened at The J Theatre Noosa on Friday 10 August, 2012 to an enthusiastic, sold-out crowd, with one reviewer stating, “It’s a living, breathing, beating work of unusual proportion and dimension…Catharsis challenges our notion of what theatre is.” Since the Australian premiere, the writers have been working on the next draft of the show, now titled, Feather, featuring an evolved storyline containing new songs and compositions. The team now looks forward to the U.S. debut of Feather in July 2013 where it will play as part of The New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) in New York City.