St. Ann's Warehouse (Artistic Director, Susan Feldman; Executive Director, Andrew D. Hamingson) is pleased to welcome back Tristan Sturrock, the leading man of Kneehigh's Brief Encounter (and a longtime member of the company), for the American premiere of Mayday Mayday. Written and performed by Sturrock, and directed by Katy Carmichael, Mayday Mayday is a "laugh out loud funny and tear-inducingly moving" (Bristol Evening Post) solo performance.
Sturrock will perform Mayday Mayday at St. Ann's Warehouse (29 Jay Street) April 16-May 5 (see above schedule). Critics are welcome as of Friday, April 19 for an official opening on Monday, April 22.
In the final hours of April 2004, Tristan Sturrock-just off the international tour of Kneehigh's Tristan and Yseult and on the brink of becoming a father-joined the May Day festivities in Cornwall to celebrate the coming of summer. On his walk home, his life changed in an instant. He fell off a wall and broke his neck.
From his opening words ("This happened to me"), Sturrock takes the audience on a journey through the neck-breaking, near-death fall itself, which left him paralyzed; his rescue, and his inspiring recovery. (He went on to leap and bound across stages in Brief Encounter, among other tour-de-force performances.) In Mayday Mayday, he performs the characters who saved him, including his frenzied five-months-pregnant wife Katy (the show's director), jolted out of her sleep; the medic she met on the street and asked for help that night; the surgeon who gave Sturrock his life back; and the nurses who helped him take his first steps. The sheer physicality of Sturrock's performance gives truth to the horror, heroism and triumph of his story.
Mayday Mayday had its world premiere at the Bristol Old Vic in January 2012 and continued to garner acclaim on a UK tour and at the 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, where it won FringeReview's first Outstanding Theatre Award. The Guardian described the show as "celebrating a break with the past and the chance of a new beginning." A five-star review in British Theatre Guide called it "stunning theatre in the hands of a master storyteller," and a four-star Scotsman review deemed it "a strong, poignant piece of work." The Cornishman called it "life affirming theatre at its very very best." St. Ann's Artistic Director Susan Feldman has followed the development of Mayday Mayday since she first heard Sturrock's story when Brief Encounter was at St. Ann's Warehouse four years ago.
The production features original music by Pete Judge, Alex Vann, Barney Morse-Brown and Ian Ross (The Wilde Bride), production design by Katy Carmichael and Tristan Sturrock, sound design by Patrick Sturrock and projection design by Brett Harvey. Ruth Shepherd made props and sets.
Sturrock's surgeon, Tim Germon, will speak after the April 24 performance as part of St. Ann's Warehouse's Voices On series of post-show programming. Germon has been a Consultant Spinal Neurosurgeon at Derriford Hospital since 2001. Much of his work focuses on minimally invasive (key hole) spinal surgery as well as reconstructive spinal surgery (trauma and cancer). His current research interests include causes and management of back pain and measuring outcomes from spinal surgery.
Mayday Mayday is supported by the Bristol Old Vic Ferment program.
Tickets $25-$45 can be purchased online at www.stannswarehouse.org, by phone at 718.254.8779 (Tue-Sat, 1pm-7pm) or 866.811.4111(Mon-Fri, 9am-9pm; Sat and Sun, 10am-6pm) and in person at the St. Ann's Warehouse Box Office at 29 Jay Street in DUMBO, Brooklyn (Tue-Sat, 1pm-7pm).