"I will dance with those oak trees as long as"
by CP4P International Productions
Sortie de Residence: October 28, 2023
After a residency and a presentation at the Adams Theater from October 9-28, 2023, CP4P International Productions began to tour a new original production I will dance with those oak trees as long as across the U.S., including theaters in New York, Chicago, DC, and Pittsburgh.
Inspired by the culture of the Kurdistan region in Turkey, I will dance with those oak trees as long as takes us on a poetic voyage into the life of the minority group from the mountains, a life which took its shape from endless oppression.
CP4P was founded by theater and arts professional Audrey Rose Dégez, who is originally from Pittsburgh. This year, Dégez has grown the initiative to include Ukrainian puppet master Daria Holovchanska, originally from Kharkiv and currently based in Poland; and Kurdish actress Deniz Heval Kandemir, whom Dégez met during their studies at l'école international de théâtre Jacques Lecoq in Paris. CP4P creates and tours new original works inspired by cultures all over the world suffering from cultural oppression, with this new production focused on Kurdistan.
“We have some dominant forces in this world that are trying to abolish and delete other cultures,” Dégez said. “For me, theater is a great tool. We can create empathy and put real human experiences on stage. We’re not trying to give history lessons, but the biggest hope is they leave wanting to learn more.”
According to CP4P, Kurdish culture is one of the oldest surviving world cultures. Due to its location, a long history of tension in the Middle East has threatened Kurdish cultural transmission since the fall of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I. Though American political leaders have consistently supported the idea of Kurdistan and Kurdish independence, the fight for the right to exist has been a long and bloody one for the Kurds.
In Adams, Audrey and Daria rehearsed and presented scenes for the play for the very first time. “Every performance can always change, evolve, be better, be different,” Audrey said. “Residencies give us time to ask crucial questions we don’t have time to ask otherwise. It’s amazing to have that moment to sit down, look the other artists in the face, and say, ‘what does this scene actually mean? What do we actually want to say?’ That gives us the opportunity to go deeper and go further into the work.”
Daria and Audrey decided to work together on building CP4P after last year’s successful run of Mothermotherland, which was devised after Audrey had to cancel an upcoming residency at Slovo in Ukraine, a complex for artists with a violent history. (Mothermotherland is based on a short story by Mykola Khyvylovy, a resident there and famous member of the Ukrainian Renaissance.)
Not deterred by the Russian invasion, she instead brought the project, and five actors, including Daria, to America. Touring as Slovo. Theater group, they performed the show all over the U.S., including at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
Post-performance reception with the local community
Working at North Adams based artist David Lane's studio
Setting up a work area behind the Adams Theater stage