From Page to Stage — The Making of LOVE, ISADORA
From its inspired inception to the latest revealing revisions, Foster’s Love, Isadora remains a labor of love and passion for all involved.
According to Foster, the journey began in 1977 with choreographer Shela Xoregos, founder of Xoregos Performing Company in San Francisco. Finding that he and Xoregos shared a deep admiration for dancer Isadora Duncan, he wrote the play’s first incarnation for her to perform. Her company’s fascination with the intersections of dramatic text and modern dance gave the play its shape and form. The two went on to present the play in several Northern California venues throughout the late 1970’s as they continued to develop it.
In 1980, Xoregos moved to the Big Apple, and Foster continued to write—honing his craft by cranking out at least 15 additional pieces. He also worked as a dramaturg for Sierra Repertory Theatre where he met Janis Stevens. With her he wrote and produced Vivien (about the iconic actress Vivien Leigh). This show they presented at California Stage and throughout Northern California, the Northeast, and eventually New York in 2005.
Stevens gradually familiarized herself with Foster’s work. While searching for a piece to produce with actress/dancer/choreographer/mutual-friend Lori Russo, she suggested Foster’s Love, Isadora. Like Xoregos, Russo fell in love with Foster’s larger-than-life subject and performed the piece under Stevens’ direction at the Studio Ensemble Theatre in New York in the fall of 2006.
Following the show’s success in New York, Russo and Stevens presented it at several other theatres around the country including California Stage in 2008. Sacramento audiences embraced the piece making the production a community favorite.
Again Foster continued to write, and Stevens and Russo moved on to other projects. That is, until a “restored” version of Isadora Duncan’s autobiography My Life was released in 2013. Duncan’s book had been heavily censored prior to its publication in 1927, but now the publisher has released her original manuscript in all its stunningly progressive, taboo-shattering glory. Foster and Russo both poured over the new version, uncovering new insights into the dancer’s thoughts and views.
They along with director Janis Stevens have worked to incorporate their findings into California Stage’s current production in hopes of giving audiences an even deeper appreciation for Duncan and her contribution to modern dance and culture.
Love, Isadora opens September 20th in the California Stage theater.