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Art, music and brain science cross paths in the virtual premiere of new drama by Jake Broder.
Art, music and science intersect in UnRavelled, a new drama by award-winning, Los Angles-based playwright Jake Broder (Louis & Keely Live at the Sahara), set to receive its virtual premiere sponsored by the Global Brain Health Institute, based at the University of California, San Francisco and Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin, Ireland. Directed by Nike Doukas (Pinter’s The Hothouse at Antaeus, Red Ink by Steven Leigh Morris at Playwright’s Arena), UnRavelled is set to begin streaming on Thursday, Feb. 25 at 4 p.m. PT / 7 p.m. ET at www.unravelledplay.com, where it will remain available to view, free and on demand, through March 31.
Based on true events and incorporating research and interviews conducted by Broder as a Hellman Visiting Artist at UCSF’s Memory and Aging Center, UnRavelled explores the fascinating connection between the work of Canadian painter Anne Adams (1940–2007) and French composer Maurice Ravel (1875–1937), both of whom lived with the same rare brain disease.
According to Memory and Aging Center director and GBHI co-director Dr. Bruce Miller, “Ravel and Dr. Adams were in the early stages of primary progressive aphasia, a form of frontotemporal dementia, when they were working. The disease apparently altered circuits in their brains, changing the connections between the front and back parts and resulting in a torrent of creativity.”
Lucy Davenport (Scorsese's Gangs of New York, Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, Betty Friedan in upcoming feature Roe v. Wade) stars as Adams, a renowned scientist, who, in her fifties and at the height of her career, lost interest in science and began painting. Starting out with simple works — houses, strawberries — Adams became suddenly, inexplicably obsessed by Ravel's famous symphonic masterpiece, Boléro, and began to paint in a wildly different style. The result was Adams’ most famous work, “Unravelling Boléro,” a virtuosic painting of brilliant design and color, in which she transcribed Ravel's music bar by bar.
Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle award-winning actor Rob Nagle (The Judas Kiss at Boston Court, The Little Foxes at Antaeus) stars as Anne’s husband, Robert, who, in his attempt to understand and navigate Anne's radically changing sense of self, eventually brought her to see Dr. Miller, portrayed in the play by Obie award-winning actor Leo Marks (The Hothouse at Antaeus, Everything That Never Happened at Boston Court).
Finally, LA Weekly award winner Conor Duffy (Stoneface: The Rise And Fall And Rise Of Buster Keaton at Sacred Fools) plays Ravel, whose one-movement orchestral piece, composed as a ballet for Russian dancer Ida Rubinstein (played by Melissa Greenspan of Modern Family, Good Girls Revolt, Desperate Housewives) became his most famous work — in spite of the fact that it, too, was a radical departure in style for the composer.
Also in the cast, providing narration, is Michael Lanahan (Broder’s Louis & Keely at the Geffen Playhouse).
“The science is fascinating — the idea that this rare form of dementia allowed Anne to experience music so vividly that she felt compelled to begin painting pictures of her auditory experience — but the real themes of the play revolve around identity and love,” says Doukas. “The beauty of the writing, the humanism paired with science, and the wonderful cast are what make this project so compelling.”
The creative team for UnRavelled includes production designer Corwin Evans, sound designer Jeff Gardner and production coordinator Bree Pavey.
Two live seminars featuring experts in the field — including Dr. Miller — will take place on Thursday, Feb. 25, immediately following the initial 4 p.m. PT / 7 p.m. ET stream and Wednesday, March 3 immediately following the stream beginning at 9 a.m. PT / 12 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. GMT.
The Global Brain Health Institute is a leader in the global community dedicated to protecting the world’s aging populations from threats to brain health. GBHI works to reduce the scale and impact of dementia in three ways: by training and connecting the next generation of leaders in brain health through the Atlantic Fellows for Equity in Brain Health program by collaborating in expanding preventions and interventions and by sharing knowledge and engaging in advocacy. GBHI strives to improve brain health for populations across the world, reaching into local communities and across our global network. GBHI brings together a powerful mix of disciplines, professions, backgrounds, skills, perspectives, and approaches to develop new science-based solutions. GBHI focuses on working compassionately with all people including those in vulnerable and under-served populations to improve outcomes and promote dignity for all people.
To register to receive a free link to view the play and to learn more about the supporting live events, go to www.UnRavelledPlay.com.
Presenter / Producer: Global Brain Health Institute
Theater > Drama
Event Phone: 415-476-3722
Global Brain Health Institute Online
675 Nelson Rising Lane
San Francisco CA 94158
Performance Dates: 2/25/2021 - 3/31/2021
Feb. 25 @ 4 p.m. PST, then on demand through March 31
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