By Katie Bender
Directed by Rudy Ramirez
with Choreography by Abel Coelho
Annie is a dancer, strong as hell and driven. After witnessing the fall of the twin towers, Annie heads to Japan to study Butoh, looking for a dance form that expresses the destruction she can’t comprehend. Ten years later, Annie is diagnosed with stage four cancer and returns to Butoh to prepare for her final dance.
Written by Katie Bender and staged in collaboration with celebrated director Rudy Ramirez and choreographer Abel Coelho, Still Now confronts us with the accelerated motion of a woman learning and losing her body, accompanied by the doctors, teachers, friends and lovers that become her partners in movement, to ask the question: what can our bodies teach us that our minds cannot fathom?
Still Now was developed with the generous assistance of the New Harmony Project.
Annie - Amelia Turner
Ben - Joseph Garlock
Amagatsu - Jonathan Itchon
Kaitlyn - Jennifer Coy
Dr. Beltram - Shannon Grounds
Annie Too - Cara Spradling
Dancers/Ensemble - Kt Shorb, Jennifer Davis, Elaine Dove, Melissa Trevino-Parga
Director - Rudy Ramirez
Producer - Shannon Grounds
Choreographer - Abel Coelho
Stage Manager - Keith Sechrest
Set Designer - Ann Marie Gordon
Costume Designer - Jennifer Davis
Lighting Designer - Megan Reilly
Projection Designer - Patrick Lord
Cover of "I Cover the Waterfront" by - Laura Freeman and Jeff Luna
Publicity Photos by Maureen Martinez
Production Photos by Kimberley Mead
"Director Rudy Ramirez has done a lovely job with this material. His direction imparts the qualities of butoh across the evening. Abel Coelho's choreography is fluid, supportive and never overwhelms the acting, but rather enhances it. Ann Marie Gordon's set is simple and clean and hints at Japanese influence. Patrick Lord's projection work is stunning and builds on the work of Gordon. Megan Reilly turns in another beautiful lighting design and shows herself to be one of the best in the Austin area."
- Frank Benge, Broadway World
"In using butoh and its philosophical underpinnings as a lens for looking at cancer, playwright Katie Bender manages to strip from the terminal-disease drama much of the tearjerking sentiment in which it's so often overdressed. Bender is well served by having a performer of Amelia Turner's diligence filling Annie's shoes. In this Shrewd Productions staging, as she did in UT New Theatre's presentation in March, Turner's dancer moves with a persuasive resolve, convincing us that she would go halfway round the world to study with the brusque, enigmatic, American Spirits-smoking Amagatsu – Jonathan Itchon, an appealing Yoda by way of Yokohama – and persist in the face of his curt tutelage." - Robert Faires, Austin Chronicle