One Woman Play with Isadora Duncan

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 1115 El Centro St South Pasadena CA 91030  See map





A one-woman play entitled “Isadora Duncan: A Unique Recital” written by and starring Kres Mersky will be presented in the South Pasadena Public Library Community Room on Thursday, February 2 at 7 p.m. The free event is presented by the South Pasadena Public Library, the Friends of the South Pasadena Public Library, and the Living History Centre Fund.


Kres Mersky’s one hour play depicts the San Francisco-born dancer and teacher near the end of her life.  Isadora may have been one of the most flamboyant, creative, and artistic women of the time, but at this point she’s no longer dancing, but rather attempting to raise money for her school of dance. The play is adapted from Isadora’s own provocative writings and provides a multi-dimensional portrait of a great 20th Century woman whose views on the arts, education, women’s rights, marriage, and love continue to provide inspiration today. A review in the “Los Angeles Times” called Ms. Mersky’s portrayal “Pure poetry…an excellent performance.”


Ms. Mersky hails from Los Angeles where she lives with her husband and director Paul Gersten. Kres has performed widely in film, theatre, and television, appearing in such shows as “Murder She Wrote” and “Charlie’s Angels.” Her movie credits include “Oh God!”, “Rich and Famous,” and “Revenge of the Nerds.” Her plays have been presented at colleges, universities, and theatres on the West Coast and Canada. She has performed on stage at the Mark Taper Forum and the Ahmanson Theatre in their productions of “A Man for All Seasons,” “Hot L Baltimore,” and “Getting Out.”


Isadora Duncan was born Dora Angela Duncan on May 27, 1878 and by the age of ten had developed a new system of dance with her sister Elizabeth that was based on improvisation and interpretation. With her mother’s help, Isadora taught dance and performed for the San Francisco elite. They tried to broaden their fan base by traveling to New York and Chicago, but they were not well-received. They departed for London and in Europe they received great recognition. The European audiences were enthusiastic and excited about her performances and Isadora returned home triumphantly.


Duncan attacked both popular dance -- because of its superficiality-- as well as classical ballet because it was based on convention. Instead, she encouraged dance movements that were derived from the movements of the earth. She concluded that all dance moves stemmed from jumping, running, skipping, and standing. To her, the body could express thoughts and emotions and each movement emanated from the dancer’s innermost feelings. Isadora’s barefoot dances were exclusively female and reflected the emergence of the “new woman” of this period. In fact, Duncan was so famous that she inspired artists and authors to create sculpture, poetry, novels, paintings, photographs and jewelry in her image. Throughout her career Duncan disliked the commercial aspects of public performance, touring, contracts, and other practical considerations. She thought her real mission was the creation of artistic beauty and educating the young.


Isadora’s later life was filled with tragedy. In 1913 her two children drowned in an accident. In 1921 she accepted the Soviet Union’s offer to start a school in Moscow that ultimately failed and left her penniless. By this time she had also married Russian poet Sergei Yesenin, an alcoholic who committed suicide. In 1927 Isadora died in a horrific automobile accident, but not before her new views on movement had revolutionized dance forever. Duncan was further immortalized when Vanessa Redgrave received the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1968 for “Isadora.”


The Community Room is located at 1115 El Centro Street. No tickets or reservations are necessary. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and refreshments will be served.


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