CLARA Joins the 2016 Cincinnati Fringe Festival


CFF_Clara promo2

Holly Price. Photo by Mary Jo McClain.

(CINCINNATI) — Clara, an aerial silks and dance theatre production by Aly Michaud and Carley Wilson, makes its debut at the 2016 Cincinnati Fringe Festival. Directed by Michaud and choreographed by Wilson, the show features aerialist Holly Price alongside a cast of nine dancers. Performances begin Wednesday, June 1, at 6:00 p.m. on the mainstage of the Know Theatre of Cincinnati.

Using dance, theatre and aerial silks, Clara is a singular theatrical event that tells the remarkable true story of one woman’s fortitude despite tremendous adversity. Delve through time from the Depression and World War II to today to meet Clara at three pivotal ages: as a child, as a young adult and as a mature older woman who discovers that, in the face of loss and betrayal, the resilient know that strength, hope and appreciation remain.

The show features audio interviews with Michaud’s actual 94-year-old grandmother, Clara. Sound bites of Clara describing major events in her life are mixed into the music of the production, which includes a variety of folk rock, indie pop and alternative rock songs. This combination creates a theatrical storytelling pattern that allows us to both understand and explore the events of Clara’s past.     

“The dance itself is a combination of a lot of different styles,” explains Wilson, who has choreographed numerous award-winning competition dances. Contemporary dance is the base, but the show’s movement incorporates acrobatics, ballet, jazz and modern dance as well. “It’s not a ‘by-the-book’ style,” she continues, “it’s very free and melds differently into each song and into the intention behind each scene. It also allows us to cater the movement to the capabilities of each dancer as opposed to adhering to the requirements of a certain dance style.”

Aerial silks — acrobatics performed while suspended from fabric hanging from the ceilingis an integral part of this storytelling experience. Aerialist Price performs alongside the cast of nine dancers as she embodies the mature, adult form of the Clara we hear over the music. “I’m being emotionally and physically challenged by the depth of this work,” says Price. “I’m immersing myself into the talented work of the dancers as we dive deep into this fully fleshed out work of art.” 

Price’s performance with the silks became a metaphor for the climb of both Clara’s life and of life in general. “There’s a constant gravitational pull toward the ground and toward the facts of life,” explains Michaud, “and a constant use of friction to maintain some semblance of equilibrium. We fall or choose to descend gracefully, and then we are faced time and time again with the choice of whether or not to get back up and climb higher. All three of these mechanisms — Clara’s voice, dance and the silks — coalesce into an encapsulating way to tell this story of resilience.”

Ranging from 11 to 41 years old, the cast includes Victoria Bower, Kami Fleming, Ian Timothy Forsgren, Devon McClea, Clare Miller, Bella Grace Motto, Hannah Price, Holly Price, Sarah Rolfsen and Alyssa Hope Stanforth. Clara features costume design by Sarah Fickling, lighting design by Anna Kirkland, sound design by Trey Tatum and stage management by Katy Ward.

Clara is sponsored by Robert Lindner and a number of individual donors, and is supported by Bella Forza Fitness.

Physical Productions is a new Cincinnati-based company that produces art which harnesses the power of the human body to tell theatrical stories. Clara is its debut production.


Wednesday, June 1, 6:00 p.m.
Saturday, June 4, 2:00 p.m.
Sunday, June 5, 7:00 p.m.
Monday, June 6, 6:30 p.m.
Friday, June 10, 6:15 p.m.

Know Theatre of Cincinnati
1120 Jackson Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202


Fringe Box Office:

All tickets $15
Multi-show passes are also available.

Running time:
55 minutes, no intermission

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Filed under Cincy Fringe Festival, Press Releases

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