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  • Writer's pictureElana Mariani

Ride The Cyclone- Director's Note

My first experience with Ride the Cyclone was seeing its magical MCC-produced Off-Broadway run in 2016. At the time, I was learning to live with death in new and unexpected ways, and this show proved to be a beautiful articulation of my simultaneous feelings of confusion, frustration, sadness, and anger. I believe this piece is special in how it doesn’t entertain the question, “What happens when we die?” Many shows attempt to explore this, but I’ve always found difficulty in grasping on to concepts and questions of this magnitude. In a rather refreshing manner, Ride The Cyclone looks at what we value while we’re alive, what it means to die too young, and what we would do with a second chance at life. Ride The Cyclone is dedicated to everyone I’ve loved and lost in my life, and I hope it can encourage us all to continue to remember and honor those who’ve passed.

As I'm sure many can imagine, the Ride The Cyclone that I pitched back in March looked vastly different in my head than what we present to you today. After mourning what would've been an in-person, physicalized version of Ride The Cyclone, I was determined to move forward with this piece with an innovative, meaningful, and--most importantly--safe vision. I find myself more emotionally and intellectually drawn to this piece than ever before because of how profoundly it speaks to the current reality in which we live. The COVID-19 pandemic has us facing our own mortality, finding community in new and uncharted ways, and reflecting on what we value most in life. In this production, Ride The Cyclone takes a new shape as a radio-play-esque, pre-recorded-and-edited auditory experience with accompanying visuals.

The inherent theatricality of Ride The Cyclone proved tricky to navigate when reenvisioning what this show could be in a virtual space. Upon reflecting on traditional art-making practices and redefining what it means to "do theatre," I have found freedom in letting go of an incessant need to create work as we have known or understood to do so in the past. While I personally don't think that our iteration of Ride The Cyclone is "theatre," I've found a lot of joy and beauty in hearing from others on why they agree or disagree with this sentiment; our process has acted in many ways as a for discovery and open discussion with regard to the fundamental practices of art-making and the variety in literal definitions of theatre itself. Regardless, I am deeply grateful and proud of the work we've been able to accomplish without precedent of any kind; this process truly proved to be a learning experience for all, and I believe we are coming out the other side of it as exponentially better-rounded artists, more-understanding collaborators, and deeply-creative problem-solvers.

After overcoming physical distance and (many) technological hurdles, I am so thrilled to spread some love and creativity with you all at a time like this.

Here is a link to see it Broadway on Demand:

The show will be live starting today, November 6, through November 15, and can be watched at any time within these dates. I really hope you can make it!

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