Our project includes the development of an original play based upon the women of the Warsaw Uprising. The play will be developed and performed by Ad Astra Theatre Troupe. The project includes: drafting the play, designing and building the set, designing and sewing the costumes, choreographing dance scenes, rehearsing the play, performing the music, development of original artwork for promotional posters, printing a book of the play, and at least 3 performances in Saratoga County in June 2018.Building on our success last season with a production of Peter/Wendy by Jeremy Bloom, Ad Astra has written and plans to produce an original play about the Warsaw Uprising, an episode of WWII that is often overlooked by historians. The play will focus on the role of young women (diversity) because they represented twenty percent of the resistance forces. The story is based on research and transcripts provided by historians and Cultural.pl, a large Polish-government sponsored web portal devoted to Polish culture. The story will focus on the fate of two sisters who join the Home Army (the Polish resistance) against their father’s wishes. We envision a celebration of the human spirit against the dire backdrop of Nazi-occupied Warsaw. We intend to include period music, performed by our troupe, and dance. Published author and professor of writing, Lâle Davidson has been instrumental in the writing and research process.
Funds will be used for:
1. Lighting and Sound Professionals and Equipment Rental
2. Rehearsal and Performance Space Rental
4. Set, costumes, posters and printing (scripts, playbills and promotional posters)
5. Event Insurance
Writing was led and student writers were overseen by award winning published author and professor of writing, Lâle Davidson (Saratoga Springs, NY). The playscript draft was completed in January, when we did a reading and sent the play to our history oversight committee. Historian and published author, Sophie Hodorowicz Knab (author of Wearing the Letter P: Polish Women as Forced Laborers in Nazi Germany), and Warsaw-based Master’s student Alina Nowobliska. These reviewers and Culture.PL will provide accurate historical source material and will review the finished play for accuracy and cultural sensitivity. We will finalize the script by the end of February, incorporating any changes identified during the read through.
Auditions were held in early February and the play has been cast. Choreography, poster design, costume design and set design will begin in February as well. Rehearsals will begin in March. Ad Astra will rent studio space for rehearsal. A preview of portions of the play will occur the first weekend in June at PolishFest in Latham, NY (to give the opportunity for the press to review the show) and the main performances are tentatively scheduled for the second weekend in June in Saratoga Springs, NY. We are renting the Saratoga Springs High School Teaching Auditorium for the full performances.
Ad Astra is all about empowering local teenagers to make a meaningful contribution to their community through the arts. Our choice of subject matter is important because it is all about how young people, many of them teenage women, contributed to an important chapter in history. We hope that our production will inspire young people who are part of the project and part of the audience to understand their potential to make the world a better place.
For the participants in the production: Most local acting opportunities for students are musicals that are produced in an efficient and systematic manner by experienced adults; while this is a valuable educational experience for students, there is little room for independent analysis and experimentation by teens. Ad Astra provide students with interactive direction, time to analyze the play text in a group setting, and the opportunity to shape the production. Using a collaborative directing method, Grace Alberti will conduct meetings with actors to encourage thoughtful engagement, research, and character development. As mentioned earlier, local teens will choreograph, costume, design, perform music and stage manage this original production.
For the audience: Few Americans know about what life was like during Nazi occupation of Poland in WWII. While there is some common understanding about the genocide of the Jews during the Holocaust, a full 30% of the Polish population was lost. Many young Polish people were rounded up, deported, and forced to work in Nazi factories and agriculture. In addition to providing a history lesson, the play will help the audience understand what regular people under Nazi occupation experienced in WWII. In particular, the play will focus on the Warsaw Uprising, when the citizens of Warsaw successfully drove the Nazis from the city and held out under siege 63 days. Although the city ultimately fell, this respite after years of foreign occupation gave Poles a taste of freedom and represents the triumph of the human spirit over the worst forms of oppression. It is about how life can be beautiful even in the darkest of times.
Astra Theatre Troupe is a non-profit student-run performance company focusing on spreading education, confidence, and a sense of community through the arts. We're unique because of our aim to enable local high-school students through all forms of theatrical development, with new opportunities in direction, production, choreography, technical and publicity direction, and stage management, with little to no cost to families.
We have one mainstage production each year. This year we are also adding scene studies, open mic performances and theater/stage skills workshops.
Ad Astra Theatre Troupe provides area teenagers with the unique opportunity to participate (at no cost) in all aspects of theater production: writing scripts, directing, choreography, set design, costume design, production, stage management, music performance, dance, promotional poster design and, of course, acting.
Ad Astra is committed to the notion that the arts should be accessible to all, so unlike other area children’s theater, we will not charge student actors to participate in the show. Comparable experiences in Saratoga County typically cost student performers between $300 and $800 in fees. Similarly, ticket prices will be kept to the minimum amount necessary to cover Ad Astra’s expenses and we will have reduced ticket pricing for students and senior citizens over the age of 62. We will reserve a certain number of complimentary tickets for each show to be distributed to local community organizations that serve economically disadvantaged teens.