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ARCOS Dance Presents The Warriors: A Love Story

KUT 90.5 FM | by Michael Lee
September 2, 2015

The Warriors: A Love Story, from ARCOS Dance, isn’t an easy show to sum up, even for its creators. It’s a multimedia piece, using all the arrows in the ARCOS quiver: film, interactive video projections, live and recorded music, dance, theatrical elements, text, and narration. They’ve worked to make all those elements work together, though, “in a way that doesn’t feel like there are multiple media; we try to make it feel like as immersive an experience as possible for the audience,” says co-director Eliot Gray Fisher. “You can’t just call it theater or dance...we’ve been struggling with what to call it. We’re calling it ‘multimedia performance’ because that’s kind of broad.”

The story of The Warriors is inspired by Fisher’s maternal grandparents, Glenn and Ursula Gray. Glenn was an American philosopher who worked in counter-intelligence during WWII. While in Europe, he met Ursula, a German dancer. Their love story forms the heart of The Warriors: A Love Story.

While the show is inspired by this particular love story, co-director Erica Gionfriddo says they’re hoping it resonates with a wide audience. “It’s a very, very intimate and personal story,” she says, “but the idea is that this is everybody’s story. There’s so many people that have this experience with warfare and history and grandparents and family that we wanted to find a forum to invite that in for the audience.”

The Warriors: A Love Story will be performed at the Rollins Theater at the Long Center on September 11 and 12. Representatives of Veterans for Peace and ECHO will be on hand for discussions after the performances.

Audio Transcript

[string music fades in]

Michael Lee: This is Arts Eclectic spotlighting arts in Austin. I’m Michael Lee.

Ursula Gray: My friends said, “How can you? You are a traitor.”

J. Glenn Gray: And many times there is a great gain in loving the one you formerly hated.

Michael Lee: Next week, ARCOS Dance will present its multimedia performance piece, The Warriors: A Love Story. The piece is inspired by the lives of director Eliot Gray Fisher’s grandfather, a philosopher and intelligence officer, and grandmother, a dancer who met during World War II. Fisher and co-director Erica Gionfriddo.

Eliot Gray Fisher: The idea of trying to discover who my grandfather was—I never knew him. He died before I was born. And I only knew my grandmother as a grandmother, as an elderly woman, and only in adulthood started to think about who she was as a younger adult, and who this man who I never met was. He was a philosopher. So he had this published work, and that was access that I had to him.

Erica Gionfriddo: Eliot had been thinking about it for many years. Maybe it would be in the form of a film or an animated movie. And since his grandmother, Ursula, was a dancer in Germany before the war, it seemed like a fitting time to try to use dance to tell part of the story.

J. Glenn Gray: Curiously enough, in my journals, I often felt that I would marry a German girl.

Ursula Gray: Glenn had been in the war, but he came as a military government officer. I never knew him as a soldier.

Eliot Gray Fisher: It’s about their lives before and after, and this crucible of the war. And how the war influenced the ways in which they acted towards peace in small ways for the rest of their lives.

Erica Gionfriddo: It’s a very, very intimate personal story, but the idea is that this is everybody’s story. There’s so many people that have this experience with warfare, and history, and grandparents, and families, that we wanted to find a form to invite that in for the audience.


Michael Lee: The Warriors: A Love Story will be on stage at the Rollins Theater at the Long Center on September 11th and 12th. For more to tell us, visit our website, For Arts Eclectic on KUT, I'm Michael Lee.

[music fades out]