Karen Beaumont at the Edinburgh International Festival
Theater program head Karen Beaumont returns from sabbatical fresh off her stint as assistant director and movement director of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, a multimedia adaptation of the international bestselling novel by Haruki Murakami. The show has its international premier on August 20 at the Edinburgh International Festival.
“Being invited to perform at the Edinburgh Festival is a tremendous honor personally,” Beaumont says. “It also demonstrates how the theater program at Bard College at Simon’s Rock contributes to and is current with the leading edge of the international theater aesthetic.”
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is a detective story, an account of a disintegrating marriage, and a dramatic revelation of long buried World War II secrets. Inspired by Murakami’s visionary style, the production combines elements of live performance, live music, puppetry, dance, and movement with cinematic video and audio technology.
The production debuted last year at Under the Radar Festival in New York City. It was selected for inclusion in the Edinburgh Festival, the world’s largest arts festival, after the New York run received rave reviews and sold-out houses. Time Out New York called the production “mind-bogglingly beautiful...a dreamy thriller.”
Beaumont worked on the play for several years and took her sabbatical last spring to devote herself to developing it full-time. Writer and director Stephen Earnhart drew on Beaumont’s expertise as a director, actor, and mask and movement specialist to clarify the multimedia narrative. She assisted in casting and her work was pivotal throughout the rehearsal process. “I worked to anchor the director's concepts theatrically and to help each actor give the best performance possible,” Beaumont explains. “I love the multifaceted nature of the story and the way we weave different mediums of storytelling into one,” she continues. “I love the story in how it challenges us to acknowledge all that goes on within us at any given moment.”
Co-commissioned by the Asia Society and supported by the Embassy of the United States of America, London; and the Director's Circle, the cross-cultural play was developed in New York and Tokyo and represents an international collaboration between Western and Asian artists and designers.