Audiences aren’t the only ones surprised. Our very own production team had to wrap their minds around telling the story of yeasts. How human are they? We knew the show shouldn’t feel modern, but it shouldn’t feel too literally in the past, either; the script references contemporary science and acknowledges the audience, so it’s not exactly a method acting experience (because really, what would that even look like? Probably pretty funny, actually). The yeasts’ world is, at the risk of sounding like a theater professor, a microcosm for contemporary humanity. They tell our story through a different lens, but their flaws and humanity are the same as ours.
So WHAT does that mean for movement? “Oftentimes, with a musical, you are beholden to the original choreo’s style. With this show we had the opportunity to create our own brand-new movement, sometimes with the actors’ help,” said director Jason Hoover. Professional help came in the form of Triassic Parq choreographer Dane Paul Andres, who saw endless possibilities: “the challenges of conceptualizing and creating movement for this unique world was an exciting process–the show is unique in so many ways. What initially inspired me in the beginning was the fact that they were a society under water: how to emulate fluidity without being too obvious?”
The choreography ended up reflecting both the realities of the yeasts’ life in the primordial soup–floaty and undulating–and the contemporary music styles in the score. “An integral tool used in the show is a select group of yeasts that accompany the show’s narrator, like a Greek chorus. I tried to reflect that in their movement as they go through out the show with a variety of dance styles,” said Dane. There’s backup pop dancing that would make the Temptations jealous, along with straight-faced while totally absurd interpretive dance moments. The movement reflects the idea that the yeasts take themselves very seriously, but the show doesn’t–at least, not most of the time.
“Dane has been fantastic and continues to come up with fresh ideas, never settling for something that wasn’t right,” said Jason. Dane’s thoughts after all this? “I hope the curiosity of dancing yeasts and everything that is Yeast Nation prompt you to see the show. It is that same curiosity that has now earned me a memorable experience!”