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Critical Mass Performance Group
the World Premiere of
Written and Directed by Nancy Keystone
Created in Collaboration with the Company

FEBRUARY 5 — MARCH 6, 2016
Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles


AmerykaThe much admired and acclaimed Critical Mass Performance Group has announced the world premiere of its newest work, Ameryka, written and directed by Nancy Keystone in collaboration with the company. Ameryka will play for five weeks only with one preview performance on Friday, February 5 and opening on Saturday, February 6 at 8pm. Ameryka will run through March 6 at Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles.

The cast will feature (in alphabetical order) Curt Bonnem, Russell Edge, Ray Ford, Lorne Green, Drew Stafford Harper, Danielle K. Jones, Christopher Salazar, Nick Santoro, and Valerie Spencer.

Charting a course through 250 years of astonishing connections between the United States and Poland, Ameryka is an epic exploration of the universal human longing for freedom and justice. From the American Revolution to the global war on terror, from the struggle for civil rights to the fight against communism, Ameryka turns history inside out in an unforgettable examination of the promises and betrayals of democracy. The story is told through Critical Mass Performance Group’s signature, kaleidoscopic style of found texts, heightened physicality, music and spectacle.

The scenic design is by Nancy Keystone, lighting design is by Jeremy Pivnick, and original music and sound design is by Randy Tico. The stage manager is Julia Colbert Ruiz.

Critical Mass Performance Group is a Los Angeles-based collaborative ensemble that has been developing new works and adaptations of classic texts since 1985. Known for its exuberant theatricality and historical-poetical subject matter, the ensemble was named 2013’s Best Theatre Company by the LA Weekly. Alcestis was developed at the Getty Villa Theatre Lab and premiered at Theatre @ Boston Court in 2013. Named in 10 Best Plays by LA Weekly, the production won a Best Adaptation Award from the LA Drama Critics Circle, the LA Weekly, and Arts In LA, and was nominated for best direction, sound/score, production design, choreography. Apollo, an epic trilogy exploring the US space program, its relationship with Nazi rocket scientists, and the surprising intersection with the Civil Rights Movement, premiered Parts 1 & 2 at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in 2005, won a Garland Award for Best New Play, and was named in the Top 10 Plays of 2005 by LA Alternative Press. Part 3 premiered with the full trilogy at Portland Center Stage (Oregon) in 2009. The Akhmatova Project, a movement-theatre piece inspired by the life and work of Russian poet Anna Akhmatova, was named one of the 10 Best Productions by the LA Times, received four LA Weekly Award nominations including Best Production, and won for Best Choreography. Other recent Critical Mass projects include Bread (2011), a site specific interactive performance-salon, commissioned by Cornerstone Theater Company, and Nancy Keystone’s adaptation of Antigone at Portland Center Stage in 2001.

Nancy Keystone is a director, multi-disciplinary artist, and the artistic director of Critical Mass Performance Group. She functions as chief investigator, writer, director, and designer. As a freelance artist she has directed and designed dozens of theatre productions around the country, as well as opera and film. Among many honors, Keystone is the recipient of a 2014 Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, a United States Artists Hoi Fellowship (2011), a Theatre Communications Group Alan Schneider Director Award (2003), and she has been named one of LA Times’ “Faces To Watch.”

There will be one preview performance of Ameryka on Friday, February 5 at 8pm and opening is set for Saturday, February 6 at 8pm. The engagement will run through March 6 only with performances on Friday and Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 2pm. There will be added performances on Sundays 2/14, 2/21, and 3/6 at 7pm, and on Mondays 2/22 and 2/29 at 8pm. Admission on Friday, Sunday, and Monday is $25; on Saturday it is $30. Student and senior discounts are available at all performances. Tickets are available online at or by calling (323) 993-7263. Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles is located at 1238 W. 1st Street in LA, 90026.

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Photo: Critical Mass Performance Group