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Founded in 1982, Double-Edge Theatre has been based since 1995 in the Massachusetts town of Ashfield, proud of its role as a haven for witches from Salem and as a stopover for escaped slaves on the Underground Railroad. Founder Stacy Klein trained with Rena Mirecka, the only woman in Jerzy Grotowski's original Laboratory Theatre, and since 1986 has collaborated with Wlodzimierz Staniewski and his company, Gardzienice, with which her work is often compared, because of its earthy ritualism, gleeful athleticism, and goofy peasant-like spiritual humor. (Gardzienice, coincidentally, is returning to La MaMa with a new production April 7 to 24, 2005.)

The Double Edge Theatre troupe maintains close ties with the Eastern European performance community through such programs as Ex-CHANGE, a summer training and performance program that has brought European performers - this year from Poland, Hungary, and Bulgaria - to learn the company's movement techniques and collaborative development process, to create a work together, and then perform it with Double Edge. Other exchange programs have included Republic of Dreams (1992-98), a Central European/Jewish-American exchange held in Romania, Poland, Bulgaria, and Hungary. American companies in this mold are rare. An artistic history of the company is available online in an article by Sigrid Bauschinger at: The article includes discussion of the company's methods, its production history, and the influence of Polish theater on the work of ensemble director Stacy Klein.

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