American Conservatory Theater (ACT) will kick off its 2022/23 season with the acclaimed production, Passengers, from the world-renowned contemporary circus arts collective, The 7 Fingers. Combining contemporary theatre, dance, circus arts, singing, and acrobatics, this jaw-droppingly brilliant production explores a community of strangers with one thing in common: each person has somewhere to go. Passengers performs at ACT’s Geary Theater (415 Geary St., San Francisco) September 15-October 9, 2022. Press night will be held on Wednesday, September 21. Single tickets ($25-$110) are available at the ACT Box Office at 415 -749-2228 or online at act-sf.org. Ticket prices are subject to change without notice.
You have never experienced a train ride quite like this! Created, directed, and choreographed by Bay Area native and The 7 Fingers co-founder Shana Carroll, Passengers features a cast of world-class acrobats who use feats including aerial routines, juggling, tightrope walking, and more to explore the intricate connections between all of our lives. The Geary Theater will become your personal quarters as life happens along this track of sorts, twisting and turning through valleys and plains. Experience tearful goodbyes, anticipatory reunions, and fateful encounters inside the cabin.
Hailed as “a must-see for all audiences” (The Harvard Crimson) and “an illustration of grace, freedom, moments of wonder, and leaps of faith” (The Guardian), Passengers premiered in Montreal in November 2018 and has since played two sold-out houses in Russia, Chile, France, Scotland, Germany, and throughout the United States.
“I am thrilled to kick off our 2022/23 season with the theme of ‘home’ with The 7 Fingers and Bay Area native Shana Carroll’s acrobatic-circus-and-more-of-a-show at the Geary,” said ACT Artistic Director Pam MacKinnon. “Passengers is a high-flying exploration of how strangers on a train bond between destinations and build worlds together, following a long tradition of physical Bay Area theater, reminding us that the body can be the primary locus of big bold stories.”
“The inspiration for Passengers came from my upbringing in Berkeley where the distant sound of trains passing became a familiar presence,” said Carroll. “My family would talk about how peculiar and magical it was that our ears would always catch the sound of the train’s horn yet simultaneously block out all other city noise. It was a simple, single sound that spoke both to our nostalgia for a past era and the promise of unknown lands and futures. Having recently spent several days on trains in Europe, I was reminded again of that special brand of vulnerability and freedom that comes with train travel, that equalizing transience, leaving somewhere and hoping for a reboot somewhere else . Traveling across lands and time zones, that train horn/siren song like a call for rebirth.”
The international cast of artists includes (in alphabetical order): Kaisha Dessalines-Wright, Beto Freitas, Marco Ingaramo, Nella Niva, Mandi Orozco, Santiago Rivera, Dina Sok, Andrew Sumner, and Méliejade Tremblay-Bouchard.
The creative team for Passengers includes: Shana Carroll (Original Idea, Direction, and Choreography), Isabelle Chassé (Assistant to the Director), TOHU, ArtsEmerson (Co-Producers), Ana Cappelluto (Scenic Designer), Colin Gagné (Musical Director) , Johnny Ranger (Video Designer), Éric Champoux (Lighting Designer), Camille Thibault-Bédard (Costume Designer), Francisco Cruz (Head Coach), Shana Carroll (Texts), Einstein’train Conor Wild (Text).
Music, lyrics, sound design, and arrangements by Colin Gagné, in collaboration with Jean-Sébastien Leblanc (arrangements, Contortion, Hula Hoop, and Trapeze), Boogát (lyrics, Juggling), Freyja Wild (lyrics, Roaming Song), and Jérôme Guilleaume (arrangements, Juggling).
In connection with Passengers, ACT will offer numerous InterACT events – many of which are presented free of charge – that will give patrons opportunities to get closer to the action while having an entire night out at the theatre. Visit act-sf.org/interact to learn more about subscribing to these events throughout the season:
Drinks & Drama Friday:
Friday, September 16, 6 p.m
Join in for a party before the show with special lobby music, photo ops, drink specials, and more!
Tuesday, September 27, 7 pm | Sunday, October 2, 2 pm | Wednesday, October 5, 2 p.m
After the show, stick around for a lively Q&A session with the actors and artists who create the work onstage.
Wednesday, September 28, before and following the 7:30 pm performance
A revamped pre- and postshow party celebrating LGBTQ+ pride within the theater community
Tuesday, October 4, 6:30 p.m
Before the show, raise a glass at this wine-tasting event featuring the Bay Area’s hottest local wineries.
Saturday, October 8, 12:45 p.m
Before this matinee performance, get hands-on with the artists who make it happen at this interactive theater workshop.
ABOUT AMERICAN CONSERVATORY THEATER
American Conservatory Theater is an essential gathering place that brings artists and communities together to inspire and provoke. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Pam MacKinnon and Executive Director Jennifer Bielstein, ACT’s mission is to engage the spirit of the San Francisco Bay Area, activate stories that resonate, promote a diversity of voices and points of view, and empower theater makers and audiences to celebrate liveness. ACT values inclusion, transformational learning, participation and rigorous fun. The Tony Award-winning nonprofit theater serves almost 200,000 people in the San Francisco Bay Area annually through theater, training, education and community programs. www.act-sf.org/
ABOUT THE 7 FINGERS
Currently celebrating its 20th anniversary, the Montreal-based The 7 Fingers has become one of the world’s leading contemporary circus troupes and has been seen by over seven million people in 672 cities in 54 different countries. Known for redefining circus by stripping down the spectacle to its thrilling essence, the collective has expanded from its own signature touring shows to creating theatrical experiences as varied as the artistic directors themselves-original productions ranging from intimate one-person shows to large-scale arena performances, Broadway musicals, and artistic collaborations with renowned International Artists and companies. The 7 Fingers have developed performances for a wide range of high-profile projects, including The Royal Variety Performance for the Queen of England, ceremonies for the Sochi, Vancouver, and Turin Olympics, the National Circus School end-of-year show, and much more.
Shana Carroll is co-founding artistic director of the Montreal-based contemporary circus company Les 7 Doigts de la Main (The 7 Fingers). Since it’s founding in 2002, Shana first performed and created (alongside the collective) their shows Loft and La Vie, then went on to direct, write and choreograph (often in partnership with fellow “Fingers”) their shows Traces, Psy, Sequence 8 , Feriamuse, Le Murmure du Coquelicot, Cuisine and Confessions, Passengers, Duel Reality (for Virgin Voyages), and Mon Isle Mon Cœur. Shana recently co-created Dear San Francisco with partner Gypsy Snider, currently performing at San Francisco’s historic Club Fugazi.
Outside of The 7 Fingers, Shana directed Cirque du Soleil’s first-ever ice show Crystal, in addition to their performance at the Academy Awards in 2012. Also for Cirque du Soleil, Shana was acrobatic designer and choreographer for their shows Iris (Los Angeles) and Paramour (Broadway). Other collaborations include: Queen of the Night (World Wide Variety); Soul of the Ocean (Moment Factory); Temporel (Lemieux-Pilon), Cité Mémoire (Lemieux-Pilon); and the Sochi Winter Olympics Opening Ceremonies. Shana is currently working as co-choreographer and circus designer for Water For Elephants the Musical with Pigpen Theater Co., premiering at Atlanta’s Alliance Theater spring of 2023.
Shana has also created many world-renowned circus acts, her work receiving 6 gold medals at international circus festivals over the years.
Born and raised in Berkeley, California, and daughter of beloved San Francisco Chronicle columnist Jon Carroll, Shana began her career as a trapeze artist with San Francisco’s Pickle Family Circus. She went on to a 20-year career in the air, including 7 years as original solo trapeze artist for Cirque du Soleil’s Saltimbanco.
She currently lives in Montreal, Canada.
Photo credit: Alexandre Galliez