Marc Chagall Play ‘Flying Lovers of Vitebsk’ Named Best of Edinburgh

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Marc Antolin and Audrey Brisson in The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk. (Photo by Steve Tanner)

Each year at the Edinburgh Fringe, a play is chosen for the top honors from among hundreds of other works by the New York-based Carol Tambor Theatrical Foundation. The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk, a visually expressionistic play about artist Marc Chagall, has been named as this year’s winner of the Carol Tambor Best of Edinburgh Award. The show is co-produced by Kneehigh Theatre and Bristol Old Vic, both based in England.

The romantic play charts the lives of Chagall and his first wife Bella as they explore the Russian Revolution, the Pograms and each other. As written by Daniel Jamieson, the play is conveyed through the canvas of an abstract Chagall painting and set against to the music and dance inspired by the Russian Revolution. Ian Ross is the musical composer. Images of the painting “Bouquet with Flying Lover”, along with other Chagall pieces, are featured throughout the play.

Emma Rice, the director of Flying Lovers, has made this show her final work when her tenure ends at Kneehigh. Previous credits include such innovative fare such as 946 -The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips, The Red Shoes, Tristan & Yseult, and Brief Encounter.

In a statement by philanthropist Tambor, she said, “I was familiar with both Emma Rice’s unique style and Marc Chagall’s magical paintings before seeing the show. However, I was unprepared for the unbridled joy I felt while watching The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk. It is a perfect amalgam of terrific music, movement, spoken text, and exquisite staging.”

Winners of the Carol Tambor Best of Edinburgh Award would receive an all-expenses-paid engagement in New York. Dates and location for Flying Lovers are still pending and will be determined at a later date.

Marc Chagall’s Bouquet with Flying Lovers, c.1934–47

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