Posted in avant garde, theater

Oh! Canada

Alligator Pie, Soulpepper
Ins Choi and Gregory Prest (c) Cylla Von Tiedemann in

Avant-garde theater was once the province of the French– the Samuel Becketts, Antonin Artauds and Guillaume Appolinaires and their ilk– who also gave it its name. Theater at the vanguard of social change, social commentary, and experimentalism in staging, subject and presentation has a long 20th century history.

Now, out of the north comes Soulpepper Theatre of Toronto with a brief festival of experimental plays and concerts which it brings to New York’s Pershing Square Signature Theater in July.

Spoon River, Soulpepper
Spoon River Ensemble #2 (c) Cylla Von Tiedemann

The troupe dedicates itself to creating innvoative works of all kinds, in cabaret, cafe and theater formats. Its 65 artists will perform in rep, giving workshops and holding symposia and performances. Billed as Soulpepper on 42nd Street, the month-long event will coincide with Canada’s 150th birthday as a nation. Mainstage productions include Kim’s Convenience, written by Ins Choi, and set in a Korean-run variety store; Vern Thiessen’s adaptation of W. Somerset Maughn’s Of Human Bondage; an immersive musical adaptation of Spoon River by Mike Ross and Albert Schultz. Ensemble pieces like Alligator Pie, created and performed by Ins Choi, Raquel Duffy, Ken MacKenzie, Gregory Prest, and Mike Ross with poems by Dennis Lee; and the (Re)Birth: E.E. Cummings in Song, created and developed by the rebirth collective: Ins Choi, Tatjana Cornij, Raquel Duffy, Matthew Kabwe, Ken MacKenzie, Gregory Prest, Karen Rae, Mike Ross, Jason Rothery, and Brendan Wall, take place on other stages in the Signature Theatre complex. A concert New York-The Melting Pot is a tribute from the Toronto group to its New York hosts.

Posted in ambition, anticipation, aspiration, avant garde, based on a true story or event, based on a true story or event and historical documents, based on true events, chronicle, drama based on real events, expectations, fictionalization_of_real_events, historical drama, history, land of opportunity, play, Playwrights Horizons, storytelling, The Debate Society, theater, theater folk

Wonders never cease

The Light YearsPlaywrights Horizons February 17, 2017 – April 02, 2017
Brian Lee Huynh. Photo © Joan Marcus

The 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, properly named the World Columbian Exposition in honor of the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ landing in the Americas, hosted 46 countries and over 25million visitors.

The 690 acres it occupied was a city of industry that represented and presented progress to the world: Juicy Fruit gum, Cream of Wheat and Pabst Blue Ribbon were introduced at the Expo.

A Ferris Wheel, a moving walkway, an electric kitchen that included an automatic dishwasher and printing press for Braille were also innovations first seen at the 1893 Fair.The Colunbian Exposition was also home to a sprawl of original architecture.

The Light YearsPlaywrights Horizons February 17, 2017 – April 02, 2017
Rocco Sisto, Aya Cash and Erik Lochtefeld. Photo © Joan Marcus

In The Light Years, co-written by Hannah Bos and Paul Thureen and directed by Oliver Butler of The Debate Society, this and the subsequent Chicago World’s Fair of 1933 provide the background for a very unusual play. The Light Years  is presented with The Debate Society at Playwrights Horizons where it is playing through April 2nd.

Steele MacKaye (a wonderfully bombastic Rocco Sisto), envisioned an ingenius theater to celebrate the arts at this grand historic event. His 12,000-seat Spectatorium, was designed by the now forgotten theatrical impresario to harness the mechanical and electrical marvels of the time.

The Light YearsPlaywrights Horizons February 17, 2017 – April 02, 2017
Aya Cash, Erik Lochtefeld and Brian Lee Huynh Photo © Joan Marcus

The Light Years is, in part, a love story, highlighted by technology and wonder and spun over 40-years. In it, we are transported to more innocent times, when novelty could inspire and awe was not an unsophisticated or naive response.

In 1893, the story centers on the progress of building and wiring MacKaye’s theater.

Hillary (Erik Lochtefeld in a star turn) and his assistant, Hong Sling (the charismatic Brian Lee Huynh) are the electricians in charge of making the Spectatorium shine. Hillary’s wife, Adeline (the appealing Aya Cash) is a very modern woman, cheerfully pedalling both iced tea and a bicycle.

The Light YearsPlaywrights Horizons February 17, 2017 – April 02, 2017
Aya Cash, Ken Barnett and Graydon Peter Yosowitz. Photo © Joan Marcus

When the scene shifts to 1933, it’s Ruthy (Aya Cash, again) who has to keep her family afloat, flipping pancakes and inspiriting her husband Lou (Ken Barnett, in an excellent awe-shucks mode) through the writing of musical ditties for this Fair’s many commercial enterprises. Their son, Charlie (the already accomplished young Graydon Peter Yosowitz) is smitten with the sensations the Fair promises.

The scenic design by Laura Jellinek and costumes design by  Michael Krass rise beautifully to the majesty of the occasion.

Every part of the theater space is treated to a bit of the performance. There are lights and things that go poof as well as narratives to explicate the drama. The ensemble engage, entertain and instruct.

The Light Years uses some of the devices Steele MacKaye introduced to turn this small-scale production into a grand spectacle.

For more information and tickets, please visit @PHnyc website.

 

 

 

Posted in avant garde, ballet, balletic, interdisciplanary art works, modern American dance, modern dance, modern dance meets ballet

On the cutting edge

BodyStories - HOME Photos by Jaqlin Medlock
BodyStories – HOME Photos by Jaqlin Medlock

“Newness” is how art rolls. New ideas, new constructs, new combination of steps give audiences something to think about and admire. New is the very definition of avant-garde, and as there is a new modern each era, we are now presented with newer works of the avant-garde.

In the case of Satellite Collective, interdisciplinary artists, performing this weekend, June 10th through 12th, at the 92Y’s Buttenwieser Hall, a vibrant group of young and emerging artists from the NYCB, Alvin Ailey, Julliard and the indie music and video scenes present four original works of contemporary ballet, dance, short film and live original music.

filename: “SATELLITECOLLECTIVEa” photo credit: Lora Robertson Marika Anderson and Lauren King, New York City Ballet, “Weimar” styling and concept by Lora Robertson, Kevin Draper, Marika Anderson, Lauren King
filename: “SATELLITECOLLECTIVEa” photo credit: Lora Robertson Marika Anderson and Lauren King, New York City Ballet, “Weimar” styling and concept by Lora Robertson, Kevin Draper, Marika Anderson, Lauren King

Their dynamic new works premiere as part of 92Y’s Dig Dance: Weekend Series. Satellite Collective’s new season offers a new paradigm of collaboration. The program includes
post-classical music by two composers, ballet and modern dance works by two choreographers, a new short film featuring two ballerinas, and a spoken work with two poets.

An established name in American dance, Pascal Rioult offers some of his finest dances when RIOULT Dance NY, a company with a classic sensibility and modern technique, returns to The Joyce Theater from June 21-26, 2016 for eight performances featuring World and New York City premieres. Kathleen Turner joins RIOULT Dance NY as narrator for the June 21st, 23rd and 25th (eve) performances.

Chris Haines-Photo by Erin Baiano, RIOULT DanceNY
Chris Haines-Photo by Erin Baiano, RIOULT DanceNY

The World premiere of Cassandra’s Curse,set to live music, headlines the Women on the Edge program. Women on the Edge examines the role, and strength, of women in times of conflict. The second program is distinguished by the New York City premiere of Polymorphous, a piece exploring the subjectivity of perception through movement and technology.

More collaboration is in store for us with HOME, presented by  BodyStories: Teresa Fellion Dance and Bryn Cohn + Artists (BC+A) at Gibney Dance Center NYC, from June 16th through 18th. HOME draws upon both the ritualistic and traditional to illuminate
the concept of home through the interpersonal, the environmental, and the shared
understanding.

Posted in avant garde, dance, love story, theater

Romance and Dance Just Around the Bend

Love is eccentric. It often erupts in or from unresolved disagreements and conflicts.

Some “lessons” about the messy nature of romance were witnessed first-hand by author Ellen Maddow in her role as a mediator in Brooklyn Civil Court.

Maddow applies what she learned to create the chaotic music-filled comedy, Burnished by Grief-A Romantic Comedy, at La MaMa’s first floor theater from January 22–February 7,  in which she investigates the symphonic beauty of cramped New York City life.

Burnished by Grief, written and composed by Maddow and directed by Paul Zimet, partners since 1974 in the Talking Band,  one of the city’s foremost avant-garde theaters.   La MaMa joins with Talking Band to present the world premiere of Burnished by Grief, an offbeat and disturbing romantic comedy.

DRUNKThe creative team—including Anna Kiraly (Set and Video Designer), Kiki Smith (Costume Designer), Lenore Doxsee (Lighting Designer), and Tim Schellenbaum (Sound Design) – will transform LaMaMa’s First Floor Theater into a prismatic and halucinatory Brooklyn with a backyard surrounded by peering neighbors and stationery bikes in the midst of the disarray of a traffic island.

Visit www.lamama.org to find out more about Burnished by Grief.

Love is a form of intoxication for some. LABAlive presents Drunkan Evening of Wine, Jewish Text Study, Art, Music, Theater and Imbibing at the 14th Street Y on January 21, explores the more traditional kinds of inebriation. LABA: A Laboratory for Jewish Culture presents this event in which wine is paired with scriptural text.

To find out more about LABA and Drunk, visit http://www.labajournal.com/drunk.

There are additional January off-Broadway “treats” at http://wp.me/p5jq0w-FA

Sometimes love and art marry. Bob Fosse, for instance, was not just influenced by Jack Cole, the legendary “inventor” of the theatrical jazz style of which Fosse, along with Jerome Robbins, Alvin Ailey, and Gower Champion, was a practitioner, he also married Cole’s assistant, Gwen Verdon.

From January 20 through February 4, MOMA presents a film (series) tribute to Jack Cole, All That Jack (Cole). Cole’s style of dance–combining elements from ethnic, ballet and popular dance idioms– is what we have come to  expect on stage and screen.

For a schedule, please visit the MOMA calendar.

Speaking of dance… and dance on film:

Movies by Movers will merge with The American Dance Festival’s International Screendance Festival to become ADF’s Movies by Movers. Directed by Cara
Hagan, ADF’s Movies by Movers will be a festival dedicated to the exploration and celebration of human movement in film and digital media. The festival will hold screenings in Durham, NC during ADF’s season and in Boone, NC in September.

 

Teach your children well:

Exposure to dance performances can be a formative experience for youngsters.

A new initiative by Paul Taylor’s American Modern Dance (PTAMD) called the Tier 3: Arnhold Dance Education and Audience Development Initiative is a free program introducing New York City students K-12 to modern dance.  After its success as a pilot program last year, Tier 3 will invite New York City teachers, administrators, principals, students, and parents joined PTAMD to experience great works of modern dance at the highest standard of excellence—performed by amazing dancers, with live music, at one of the world’s greatest dance venues, free of charge to PTAMD’s annual New York Season at the Koch Theater at Lincoln Center in March.

Tier 3 will also make available a customized Study Guide that contains primary source material, critical thought provokers, and links to video documentation and will give teachers an opportunity to attend a Professional Development workshop to deepen their understanding of the modern dance genre so they can maximize the benefits of the performance component when following up in their classrooms.

About the (PTAMD) Spring season:
Paul Taylor’s American Modern Dance opens its annual Season at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center in New York, on March 16. (It runs through April 3.)

The prolific Paul Taylor presents his 143rd dance, Sullivaniana, and his 144th work, Dilly Dilly this spring.

Taylor Company Commissions, initiative Paul Taylor has undertaken to ensure that the vitality of modern dance continues, will feature commissioned world premieres of dances by Larry Keigwin and Doug Elkins.

To honor the Martha Graham Company’s 90th Anniversary, Paul Taylor chose to present her Diversion of Angels during the seven seasons he danced with the Martha Graham company beginning in 1955. Helping him oversee the production, to be staged by Blakeley White-McGuire and Tadej Brdnik, will be Linda Hodes, Taylor’s partner in Diversion of Angels. and who was the founding Director of Taylor 2 in 1993.

Rainbow ’Round My Shoulder, Donald McKayle’s 1959 signature work, depicting workers on a chain-gang, is another historical masterpiece that will be on the Season’s programs; Dayton Contemporary Dance Company will perform.

Music will be performed live by the renowned Orchestra of St. Luke’s, conducted by long-time Taylor Music Director, Donald York.

To learn more about the PTAMD New York Season, please visit http://ptamd.org/LC2016/