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Brickyard Pond's 2003-04 Season Has International Flavor

KEENE, NH - An international flavor infuses the new season at Keene State College’s Redfern Arts Center on Brickyard Pond. The Presenting Series will feature a theatre company and a baroque ensemble from Great Britain, a puppet theater from Quebec, and one of America’s foremost Chinese dance companies.

Memberships that entitle ticket buyers a 20 percent discount on all Presenting Series events are now available at the box office, 603-358-2168.

Brickyard Pond’s 24th season opens Wednesday, Sept. 17, at 7:30 p.m. with the Empire Saxophone Quartet and marimbist Gordon Stout. Renowned for its versatility, this ensemble plays a repertoire ranging from the Renaissance to ragtime.

Local theater fans will be thrilled to hear that London’s Aquila Theatre Company is returning to the region with its latest production, William Shakespeare’s masterful exploration of the destruction of a noble spirit, "Othello." The performance is set for Saturday, Sept. 27, at 7:30 p.m. In addition, Aquila will perform a guided tour of "Othello" for high school students. This one-hour abridged performance with narration and a talk back will be held Friday, Sept. 26, at 10 a.m.

On Wednesday, Oct. 8, the region will be treated to theatrical magic when one of the world’s foremost puppet theatres, Théâtre de l’Oeil will perform its most endearing and popular work, The Star Keeper. Using a variety of styles, this Montreal-based company tells the story of a chivalrous worm, who embarks on a wondrous adventure to return a fallen star to the heavens. This is a family play for all ages. Performances are at 10 a.m. for school groups and 7 p.m. for families.

Those who think that baroque music is always stuffy are in for a pleasant surprise when Red Priest appears at Brickyard Pond on Wednesday, Feb. 4, at 7:30 p.m. One might describe their performances as Vivaldi meets the Marx Brothers. This extraordinary British ensemble has redefined the art of period performance, combining swashbuckling virtuosity with heart-on-the-sleeve emotion and compelling stagecraft.

America’s leading interpreter of traditional and modern Chinese dance, the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company arrives at Brickyard Pond on Wednesday, Feb. 11, at 7:30 p.m. for an evening of works inspired by the spiritual tradition of Chinese and Zen calligraphy. The "Village Voice" described Chen’s work as "embodying an epic dignity."

Brickyard Pond has a long and cherished reputation of bringing the finest modern choreographers and their companies to the region. In advance of Nai-Ni Chen’s February performance, the Paul Taylor Dance Company will perform Sunday, Oct. 26, at 7:30 p.m. Taylor is considered the United States’ greatest living choreographer, who continues to set the standard for American modern dance.

On Tuesday, March 2, at 7:30 p.m. Doug Varone and Dancers will bring their special modern dance style of exuberant physicality, both casual and athletic, that consistently surprises audiences. Varone’s choreography is constantly being requested by producers of opera, Broadway, television, and film.

The season’s ambitious dance schedule continues when KSC Theatre presents its 28th "An Evening of Dance," Wednesday-Saturday, April 21-24, at 8 p.m. A highlight of the concert will be Sean Curran’s "Abstract Concrete," which Curran will restage with KSC student dancers.

The new season will also see Brickyard Pond continue its collaboration with Keene’s Colonial Theatre. This year they will co-present the Weston Playhouse Theatre Company’s newest fall production, August Wilson’s Tony and Pulitzer Prize winning play, "Fences," on Tuesday, Nov. 4, at 7:30 p.m. with a special school performance on Wednesday, Nov. 5, at 9:30 a.m.

More theater is on Brickyard Pond’s Presenting Series playbill. Sandglass Theater, the internationally acclaimed puppet theater from Putney, Vt., will perform its stunning evocation of the life of the German Jewish philosopher Walter Benjamin, "One Way Street," on Thursday, Feb. 19, at 7:30. The evening will include a pre-performance conversation with Dr. Paul Vincent, director of KSC’s Cohen Center for Holocaust Studies, about Benjamin’s life and work.

Also on the Brickyard Pond stage this year, Keene State Theatre’s Ron Spangler will direct Shakespeare’s "Two Gentlemen of Verona," a romantic tale spiced with ingenious plot twists and brilliant language. Performances are Wed.-Sat., Nov. 12-15, at 8 p.m., with a special 9:30 a.m. school performance on Thursday, Nov. 13.

Highlighting an eclectic season of music, the Grammy Award winning Turtle Island String Quartet will bring their tribute to one of America’s jazz greats, with "Blue in Green, the Legacy of Miles Davis." The performance set for Wednesday, March 10, at 7:30 p.m..

Returning to Brickyard Pond will be the crowd-pleasing Boston Brass. This year the group will team up with the KSC Concert Band, led by Doug Nelson, for an evening of exciting classical arrangements, breathtaking vocal harmony, and hot jazz styling. The performance takes place Friday, April 2, at 7:30 p.m.

The hot jazz ensemble Either/Orchestra will perform Wednesday, March 24, at 7:30 p.m. Recognized as one the jazz world’s most adventurous and gifted big bands, Either/Orchestra will also jam with the KSC Jazz Ensemble’s rhythm section.

No Brickyard Pond season would be complete without the KSC Department of Music showcasing the talents of its faculty and students. On Wednesday, Feb. 18, at 7:30 p.m., the Department will feature an evening of original compositions by its faculty, and on Friday April 23, at 7:30 p.m., Dr. Carroll Lehman will lead the KSC Chamber Singers and Concert Choir in an evening of classic and modern works for the voice.

In addition, Brickyard Pond offers a series of workshops, lecture demonstrations, and open rehearsals free of charge to the public; call Bill Menezes at 603-358-2171 for more information. For tickets and membership information, contact the box office at 603-358-2168 or go to Brickyard Pond’s web site, www.keene.edu/racbp/.

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