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Created in 2012/2013

Artistic Director: Charline Formenty

Company: Carte Blanche


The theater company Carte Blanche dropped its suitcases in San Francisco to re-imagine the story of Hamlet's tragic heroine, Ophelia. Inspired by Arthur Rimbaud's elegiac poem to this remarkable woman, the story follows Ophelia beyond the pages of Shakespeare as she embarks on a journey of self-discovery.

In this newly revealed chapter, Ophelia travels the world searching for her identity. Lost in her dreams of Hamlet and the letters he sent her, she makes her way through strange and unknown countries, languages, and cultures. Always on the run, she flees from town to town, struggling with memories and dreams, with the ebb and flow of the tide of life as her constant companion.

At the crossroads between dance and theater, Ophelia is a meditation on the timelessness of this experience. Artistic director Charline Formenty channels her own story as an immigrant through this Shakesperian myth, while Rimbaud's text helps connect the tale to her French roots. The poem itself is a direct critique of Ophelia's naivety, as well as a love letter to the legend.

After three sold out shows at NOHspace, an Izzy Award nomination for Visual Design, and accolades from professionals and audience members alike, Ophelia continued its run in at the Garage in San Francisco, and at Fort Mason Center for the two first weeks of April 2013 with a new walk through exeprience version of the show involving dance, theater and video interaction.

Carte Blanche breaks down the boundaries of theater to transform Ophelia into an interactive exploration of a physical world infused with Shakespeare. Transported to the grounds of the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco, the audience members followed Ophelia on her remarkable journey without the constraints of the stage.

Situated on the northern rim of San Francisco on the Bay, the Fort Mason Center brings Ophelia back to the water's edge. The audience will join Ophelia as she wanders through the grounds and buildings on her quest for identity, discovering new forms of expression around every turn. The immediate surroundings become symbolic reference points to better understand this Shakespearian myth, and her search takes on complex dimensions of vulnerability and courage in the open air. Ophelia is no longer a character in a play; she is one of us.

The history of the space, the shape of the buildings, and the fogginess of the city all combine to create a new kind of immersive theatrical experience. With live musical accompaniment, an augmented cast, and a cutting edge use of interactive video, the audience will become a part of the show like never before.

ARTISTIC DIRECTOR: Charline Formenty

MUSIC: Matthew Schoening

PERFORMERS: Marie Walburg Plouviez, Sarah Gould and Summer Bowie
MUSICIAN: Tyson Ayers

VISUAL DESIGN: Charline Formenty



SET: Karl Gillick

COSTUME DESIGNER: Simone van der Meer


SOUND EFFECTS: Micheal Scully

VIDEO ARCHIVAL: Paulo Presotto

PHOTOGRAPHY: Perry Shimon, Justin Benttinen and Charline Formenty


J. Stephanie Pasvankias

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