Recent graduates, including an island son, create art amid pandemic struggles
Performances promise to be safe, family-friendly outdoor experience
DEER ISLE — In collaboration with the Reach Performing Arts Center and in partnership with Island Heritage Trust, ANNA + MARVIN will stage an outdoor production of “Do Not Move Stones” at Stonington’s historic granite quarry with performances on Aug. 27-29..
Recent Harvard graduates Anna Fitzgerald and Marvin Merritt IV are both accomplished theater-makers, and have worked and trained across the United States and internationally in Canada, Germany, Greece, Poland, Russia and the United Kingdom. The COVID-19 pandemic prevented them from pursuing careers with established theater companies, inspiring them to formalize the artistic partnership they developed at Harvard with the founding of ANNA + MARVIN.
“We could not be more excited about collaborating with the Reach Performing Arts Center,” said Merritt. “I’m thrilled to ‘come home’ to this important community organization which provided me with my first acting opportunities,” he continued.
RPAC is a local non-profit dedicated to promoting lifelong learning in the arts for the school and the community, which Merritt described as a force for community cohesion, education, and artistic development.
“It’s a real joy being able to partner with exceptionally talented artists such as Anna and Marvin. The fact that Marvin is not only an islander but also a Reach alum makes it even more exciting,” said John Lincoln, director of RPAC. “We’re also deeply grateful to have the support of Island Heritage Trust, which has proven especially important to the community during the pandemic. The Settlement Quarry Preserve will provide monumental scale for this project,” added Lincoln.
ANNA + MARVIN has created works which have so far ranged from contemporary dramas to comedic retellings of ancient narratives. Do Not Move Stones will be deeply rooted in its site-specific staging, informed by Merritt’s island upbringing as the 12th generation of his family on Deer Isle.
Most recently, ANNA + MARVIN collaborated on a captivating virtual re-staging of Rajiv Joseph’s Gruesome Playground Injuries, performed on a rocky, oceanfront cottage on Deer Isle. The hour-long production is comprised of eight scenes, each featuring a unique staging set in and around the cottage with Penobscot Bay as the backdrop. The duo utilized technology such as in-ear technique and specialized sound and camera equipment, as well as a crew comprised of local high school students.
“Do Not Move Stones” is a retelling of Aeschylus’ The Suppliants, based on Charles Mee’s adaptation of the Greek tale. ANNA + MARVIN is putting a new spin on a story about love, loss and serendipitous connection, incorporating the poetry of Sappho and accompanied by rock music. The play strikes an important balance between uproarious comedy and moving poignancy as it grapples with two questions: what are the social contracts into which we are born and how do we respond to those unspoken rules?
The outdoor performance of “Do Not Move Stones” at the Settlement Quarry Preserve in Stonington, Maine will be held in accordance with the most up-to-date health guidelines, as they are developed for the summer.
A digital on-demand performance will be streamed in mid-September for those unable to attend the live performance.For more information visit, http://www.marvinmerritt.com/dnms.