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Lehrer Dance, Torn Space and Irish Classical team up for innovative production

Three Buffalo performance companies are joining forces to produce an innovative, multisensory project featuring two seldom-produced plays by the great Irish writer W.B. Yeats opening April 22 through May 8 in the Andrews Theatre (625 Main St.).

“The Yeats Project: Two Plays by W.B. Yeats” will combine the talents of the Irish Classical Theatre Company, Torn Space Theater and Lehrer Dance in a collaboration aimed at using “theatre, music, poetry, video projection, mask and dance to illuminate the work of the greatest poet of the 20th century.” The plays are Yeats’ “The Land of Heart’s Desire” and “At the Hawk’s Well,” the former a poetic reflection on the limits and frustrations of desire and the latter an abstract variation on a fairy tale driven in part by music and movement.

Directing the somewhat radical project will be Irish Classical Theatre co-founder Vincent O’Neill. Lehrer Dance founder Jon Lehrer will take on the show’s choreography and movement and Torn Space founder Dan Shanahan will oversee design elements.

“This collaboration has been in the works for over a year,” O’Neill said in a statement. “Torn Space will bring a design aesthetic that will transform the Andrews with the unexpected, making ‘The Yeats Project’ a truly immersive theatre experience.” O’Neill added that Lehrer Dance “will enhance the text of these two plays with the eloquence of physical expression, while the Irish Classical will “bring the mystical world of Irish lore – a world of shape-shifters and faeries; brilliant light and fearful shadows - to life.”

“The Land of Heart’s Desire” features Christian Brandjes, Mary McMahon, Arianne Davidow, Connor Graham, Gerry Maher and Faith Hart. “At the Hawk’s Well” features Brandjes and Graham, along with David Oliver, Anthony Alcocer and Immanuel Naylor. The production also includes performances by the Lehrer Dance troupe and original music written and performed by Mary Ramsey of 10,000 Maniacs.

Tickets are $20 to $35. Call 853-4282.

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