Wash of Gray
Jherek Bischoff (Red Cloak, 2010; Reminder, 2012; Cas(s)iopeia, 2010; Ferry Song, 2019)
Sydney M. Pertl with Maxfield Woodring and Eli Lara
November 8, 2019; Pacific Northwest Ballet
The 2019 world premiere of Miles Pertl’s Wash of Gray is supported by Katharyn Alvord Gerlich, Joan Fitzmaurice, Toni Hoover & Al Nettles, H. David Kaplan, and two anonymous donors.
Seattle is a magical place with its fairytale-like old growth forests and the glowing of the brick and glass buildings that shine out across the Sound at twilight. We are enveloped in the warm embrace of history here—from the pervasive smell of creosote mingling with the petrichor to the purple skylights embedded in our sidewalks that illuminate the underground world beneath our feet.
It’s against this backdrop that we began to ask ourselves What truly makes Seattle so special? We ventured out into the streets, asking anyone we met about their opinions and experiences here, making all kinds of new friends along the way. We found some common themes: 1) THE RAIN; 2) The people: their special knack for beautifully strange and informative conversations; 3) The arts and the astounding breadth of creativity, personality, and individuality inherent in the very soul of the city. And, finally, we heard A LOT about the fast paced changes of Seattle today. “Do you remember when —?” “Did you know that —?” and “There used to be—” are all too common refrains overheard on our sidewalks, in busses and bars, and throughout conversations with friends and strangers alike.
As two Seattleites who had been raised here, moved away, and then returned, these seismic changes that Seattle is experiencing are something we talk about often. We concluded that while local businesses might speak to the character and mood of the city at a specific moment in time, they aren’t—and cannot be—the soul of Seattle. We went in search of something more substantial and far more sincere.
Rain hitting the roof of your car, waves lapping the shores, and ferry horns blasting through the fog across the Puget Sound are local sensations free to be experienced by all. We followed the brilliant example set by the esteemed Gordon Hempton, the preeminent wildlife and nature recording artist, as well as his extremely influential natural sound conservation efforts: Quiet Parks International and the One Square Inch of Silence project (Hoh Rainforest). Through him, we were given the inspiration and the means to record our own sonic journeys through the Pacific Northwest. You will hear many of these recordings tonight! This was our starting point.
We then sought out the most creative PNW residents we could find in order to express our views of this city, and we came up with our dream team. The beautiful and moving musical compositions of the incomparable Jherek Bischoff intertwine with our Seattle soundscapes, providing a counterpoint of feelings and emotions throughout our piece. The incredible artists Maxfield Woodring and Eli Lara, under the direction of Sydney M. Pertl, have rendered a real time artistic masterpiece of our surroundings that will be created before your eyes. Patrick Stovall, who has worked at PNB as well as many other local theaters, has designed his first, full costume set at his home company. Finally, Reed Nakayama, our lighting designer and multi-tool problem solver, ties all of these aspects together to cohesively present them to you.
However, this ballet was truly only made possible through the wisdom, insight, and contributions of many, many incredible individuals. From summer indigo dyeing sessions to in-depth history lessons, we would not be here without you. (Yes, you.)
We hope you enjoy watching this ballet as much as we loved making it. Remember, Seattle lives on through all of us: Appreciate your surroundings, love your neighbors, support your local businesses, artists, and creators. Remember, you keep our city perfect by changing it for the better.
Miles and Sydney M. Pertl,
a brother and sister production team of dance and art
aka the SeaPertls
Miles Pertl, Choreographer
Miles Pertl grew up in the Seattle area, and, after dancing professionally with Stuttgart Ballet in Germany and Het National Ballet in the Netherlands, is both excited and proud to be dancing with Pacific Northwest Ballet in the place he truly considers home. With a love of both dance and art, he has at long last teamed up with his sister to form SeaPertl Productions, an organization which seeks to merge both worlds and shine a spotlight on local talent. He adores all aspects of Seattle, but especially its people, and he’d love to chat with you over a beer sometime!
Jherek Bischoff, Composer
Pacific Northwest native Jherek Bischoff is a composer, arranger, producer, and multi-instrumental performer. His critically acclaimed albums include Cistern, Composed, and a co-release wtith Amanda Palmer, Strung Out In Heaven: A Bowie String Quartet Tribute. Bischoff
has collaborated with Kronos Quartet, David Byrne, Neil Gaiman, and Robert Wilson. He has performed in Carnegie Hall and Royal Albert Hall, and renowned ensembles and orchestras around the globe have performed his work. This year, Bischoff premiered his first symphony and opera. He is currently scoring for theater, film, and television and releasing new music via Patreon.
Sydney M. Pertl, Scenic Designer
Sydney M. Pertl is a classically trained figure artist, part-time gallery curator, and full-time social activist working, living, and loving in Seattle. No matter how many times she leaves or moves away, the spirit and beauty of Seattle always calls her back home. She is thrilled to be working with all the amazing contributors for Locally Sourced, but especially with her brother, Miles Pertl, with whom she has formed SeaPertl Productions, an organization which seeks to showcase all the amazing dance and artistic talent Seattle has to offer! She attended Gage Academy of Art’s expressive atelier program, graduated from Lawrence University in 2012, and currently lives and works in Tashiro Kaplan Artist Lofts. Her artwork has been shown in galleries across the country, and can be seen at www.sydneympertl.com. @SydneyMPertl @SeaPertls
Eli Lara, Scenic Designer
Finding inspiration in the energy of the living psyche, Eli Lara is interested in capturing the forms and figures of the natural world in a tactile, visceral manner. When he paints, he does so in a gestural and spontaneous fashion, capturing the emotions and movements of the living form, in turn revealing the psyche of both the subject and the observer. Eli graduated in 2013 from the University of Washington School of Art with a BA in Interdisciplinary Visual Arts. His focus is drawing and painting. He currently lives and works out of the Tashiro Kaplan Artist Lofts in Pioneer Square. @EliNotLara
Maxfield Woodring, Scenic Designer
Maxfield Woodring is an artist living and working in Seattle. Under the name Max Badger, he has published Oak, a comic death-based fable for kids. As WXOMND, Max worked an art blog for five years, creating and destroying various bodies of digital work. His current work includes Minor Gods, the first of a two-part series to open in Seattle since the launch of Oak.
Patrick Stovall, Costume Designer
Patrick Stovall has an MFA in costume design from the Theatre School at DePaul University, Chicago. Previous work includes Hamlet for Annex Theatre, The Cherry Orchard for Theatre Schmeatre, and The School for Wives and Scotland Road for The Empty Space Theatre. He is currently in his eighteenth year as Wardrobe Assistant for the men’s corps for Pacific Northwest Ballet. He wishes to thank Mr. Pertl for convincing him to become a part of this wonderful project.
Reed Nakayama, Lighting Designer
Reed Nakayama was raised in Denver, Colorado. He began studying Theatrical Design at age 14 when he was accepted into the Stagecraft and Design department at the Denver School of the Arts. Upon graduating, he moved to Washington to study Lighting and Scenic Design, receiving a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree from Cornish College of the Arts in 2007. Since then, he has been designing for local companies. Mr. Nakayama joined PNB as a member of the stage crew in 2013 and was named Resident Lighting Design Coordinator in 2019. He has designed the lighting for Kyle Davis’ A Dark and Lonely Space and Ezra Thomson’s The Perpetual State, among other works.