Times Square International Theater Festival Presents 'A Time to Dance,' written and performed by Libby Skala at Theatre 500
212-924-0496 www.LibbySkala.com Ages: n.a $18 in advance, $20 at door
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Libby Skala portrays the life and soul of her great aunt, Austrian modern dancer Elizabeth "Lisl" Polk, in the dancer's own words. A dazzling story-teller, Lisl dances to her own stories of a turbulent life spanning the 20th Century, beginning with her premature birth in 1902 Vienna under the Hapsburg Empire. The daughter of a Catholic mother and Jewish father, she deals with the conflicting forces of anti-Semitism in her own home as she dreams of becoming a famous dancer. Met with opposition from her autocratic father, she finds unexpected ways to negotiate and fulfill her dream, while struggling to emerge from the shadow of a famous older sister (architect and Oscar-nominee Lilia Skala). Lisl longs for true love with the man of her dreams, and instead settles for Harry, a former WWI prisoner of war whose bathroom is big enough to dance in. They immigrate to New York where she secures safe passage for her extended family, becomes a mother and pioneers dance therapy (for which she wins a lifetime achievement award). Looking back over a century, she discovers a true love she always had and never realized. Libby Skala wrote and has performed "A Time to Dance" at St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival's Sunday Series in Ontario. It had a three-week run at Vancouver's Pacific Theatre and opened Fire Exit Theatre's 2011-2012 season in Calgary. In Germany, it was performed at the University of Dresden and at Theater im Greenhouse in Berlin. The show won Skala the "Best Solo Performer" award at the 2007 London Fringe Theatre Festival and an award from The Pandella Cultural Fund in Switzerland. Charleston City Paper (Rachel Ward) wrote, "Skala captivates from the moment she leaps on stage to address the audience in a convincing Viennese patois...surrendering herself to an uninhibited portrayal that captures her subject's spunky attitude and resilient spirit....her commitment is infectious." Ms. Skala's first one-woman play, "LiLiA!" (about her grandmother, actress Lilia Skala), has been performed across North America and in Europe. She played Viola in the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival's production of "Twelfth Night." In Washington, D.C., she appeared in Jeffrey Sweet's "Value of Names" at Theatre J. She appeared in Jonathan Glazer's film "Birth," starring Nicole Kidman. (www.LibbySkala.com)