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On June 4, 2016, The National YoungArts Foundation presented Outside the Box: Jay Scheib’s “Carmen. ” Staged as a work-in-process-process-in-work on a new adaptation of “Carmen”, based on Bizet’s opera, a faint homage to the adaptations of Godard and Preminger, and the fantasy of Hemingway, this is “Carmen” reimagined anew. Jealousy and poverty and love-at-first-sight madness dominate this environmental live cinema opera conceived for amplified voices, piano, and two roving cameras. Mixed live to the side of a building in Miami, this is a high tempo “Carmen” marked by dynamic performances, daring melodrama and an edgy sense of what can happen when a radical new take on a classic text animates a lived urban environment.

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What happens when you place center stage a figure habitually hidden away in a corner of the theatre? The result is “Sopro,” the tale of Cristina Vidal, one of the last professional prompters still working in Portugal. Her life as a prompter for over 40 years is interwoven with plays on the stages she has served, her role as the prompter in a new production, and the adventures in love and theatre of her former director. Chekhov and Molière converse through Cristina’s life story in this remarkable homage to a particular understanding of theatre—theatre as a key part of European cultural heritage, a way of thinking through who we are and how we understand our past, theatre as a way of understanding what it means to be human. “Sopro” is a remarkable piece of political theatre—timely, urgent, and important. And it offers us a brave, elegant and highly original way of thinking through the theatre’s way of thinking about itself and the world. ONE DAY ONLY! MAY 27!

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Hello Hi There

“Hello Hi There” uses the famous 1970s television debate between the philosopher Michel Foucault and linguist/activist Noam Chomsky as inspiration and material for a dialogue between two custom-designed chatbots: every evening, these computer programs, designed to mimic human conversations, perform a new – as it were, improvised – live text. Annie Dorsen’s remarkable piece asks profound questions about what constitutes performance. Human interaction is given a new dimension in “Hello Hi There” as Dorsen thrillingly explores Foucault comment that debating with Chomsky was “like talking to someone from a different species.” ONE DAY ONLY! MAY 20!

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From acclaimed Brazilian interdisciplinary writer, Christiane Jatahy comes “Julia,” a highly original take on Strindberg’s 1889 play. The actors here are both making a film and at the same time acting as the characters of fiction. Jatahy, working with Marcelo Lipiani on decor, crafts a design of split movie screens, which move during the action, revealing parts of a bedroom and a kitchen—sets for live footage. The projectors follow the movement of the screens, creating a film in motion. “Julia” marks a bold and beautiful collision between reality, theatre, and film. ONE DAY ONLY! MAY 25!

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Programme 2

“Programme 2” of The Centre for the Less Good Idea’s online offering introduces audiences to the hybrid analogue and digital technologies of the Pepper’s Ghost, playing with illusion through live performance and projected recordings. A mystery creature from the mind of Franz Kafka, an avant-garde verse drama by a Soviet playwright, and experimental takes on the Shakespearean soliloquy all occupy the world of the Pepper’s Ghost. Designed by co-curators Phala Ookeditse Phala and William Kentridge, this is physical theatre, performance poetry, short-form fiction, musical improvisation, and pre-recorded installation coming together in an exploration of theatrical performance as a mode of critical enquiry and a form of artistic experimentation.

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First staged in 2015, “Xuárez,” written by Luis Barrales and directed by Manuela Infante, is set in 1541, a few months after the founding of Santiago – now Chile’s capital city. “Xuárez” revisits the nation’s colonial past through the tale of Inés de Suárez – here removed from the romantic prism in which she is all too often presented. Suárez, a Spanish conquistadora, played a key role in halting Mapuche advancement on Santiago when Michimalonco, a Mapuche leader, sent troops in to rescue a group of cacique (native chief) prisoners held by the Spanish. A way of understanding some of the faultlines and dynamics that underpin contemporary Chile, “Xuárez” is a complex, richly rewarding piece that revisits a problematic past in ways that illustrate the complex intersections of race, gender, and class in nation-building. Myth, history, and fiction intersect in intricate ways in an acclaimed work – winner of the 2015 best play and best director awards of the Chilean Critics Circle— beautifully performed by Claudia Celedón and Patricia Rivadeneira.
Cast: Claudia Celedón and Patricia Rivadeneira/ Original idea and playwriting: Luis Barrales and Manuela Infante / Playwright: Luis Barrales / Director: Manuela Infante / Stage Design, Lighting and Costumes: Yolín / Music: Atom TM / Composition for the chorus: Daniel Marabolí / Caciques: Flavio Banks, Sebastián Caro, Lucas Gnecco, Gabriel Recabarren, Lucas Salazar Stage/ DesignConstruction: Iteazul, Taller El Litre and Armería Lobos / Graphic Design: Javier Pañella / Executive Production: Patricia Rivadeneira / General Production and Press: Francisca Babul. / This project was financed by Fondart – Contest 2015 Seals from: GAM, the National Council for Culture and the Arts, Chilean Government, Professional Institute ARCOS, Oxiluz Lightning and Perrera Arte. Xuárez is presented in association with Escenix.

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Unknown, I Live With You

“Unknown, I Live With You” presents parallel stories of journeys realized through creative writing in a compromised political climate. This mixed-media installation, directed by Krystian Lada, is based on verse poems by Afghan female writers, Roya, Meena Z., Fattemah AH and Freshta. Created during clandestine creative writing workshops organized by the Afghan Women’s Writing Project (under the regime of the Taliban), these poets created raw, immediate verse as a means of narrating stories that couldn’t be openly told. In “Unknown,” these inspiring and deeply personal verse-poems are spoken and sung – to music by Katarzyna Głowicka – by opera singers, including international star Małgorzata Walewska and transgender singer Lucia Lucas. “Unknown” is an invigorating and deeply personal new piece of music theatre that shows how creativity functions as a mode towards empowerment.

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In “Magnificat,” Marta Górnicka – internationally awarded for her contemporary approach to the classical chorus choir – together with her Chorus of Women explores and confronts socio-cultural images of femininity. The Catholic Church and the Virgin Mary serve as a central axis for an exploration of how femininity has been constructed across different Western traditions. Górnicka arranges texts from Euripides, Adam Mickiewicz, Elfriede Jelinek, the Bible, liturgy, newspaper clippings, sacred music, and pop culture into a rhythmic polyphony of words, sounds, and movements. Performed by 25 women from diverse social groups, “Magnificat” interrogates the power that the Catholic Church claims over the bodies and fates of women and stages of their protest. “Magnificat” won multiple awards at international festivals and was chosen by the Teatr magazine as Poland’s best alternative production of the 2010/11 season.
PLAYING UNTIL MAY 25th 5 PM NY/ 10 PM London / 11 PM Berlin

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A Doll’s House, Part 3

“A Doll’s House, Part 3” picks up where Nora left off, after slamming the door on her husband and children in 1879. Michael+Patrick’s sequel to the sequel they never read is a self-serious examination of theater, gender, race, class, and hierarchy for the reality TV generation. Michael, Patrick, and Anna Crivelli play Nora’s three children–Bob, Ivar, and Emmie–as they attempt to create an experimental performance collective in resistance to the American New Play Development Complex. They commit themselves to new forms of media performance like ASMR and YouTube makeup tutorials. The trio of siblings works through issues of gender inequity, the hierarchies of creating performance, and inherited trauma as they grow together and apart in the wake of their mother’s absence and simultaneous hyper-presence. This is Ibsen reimagined for a twenty-first century society where nothing is quite what it first appears.

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Arde brillante en los bosques de la noche (Burning bright in the forest of the night)

The 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution offers a brilliant window into an exploration of identity formation in leading Argentine dramatist-director Mariano Pensotti’s “Arde brillante en los bosques de la noche / Burning bright in the forest of the night”. Divided into three parts, this bold, innovative work examines how progressive ideas circulated between Latin-America and Europe and how they shaped different generations in both continents. Part 1 has puppets (replicas of the actors who manipulate them) enacting the tale of a University lecturer, Estela, who finds the disparity between the ideas that shape her teaching and the realities of her domestic situation difficult to deal with. Part 2 enacts a play that Estela and her family and friends go to see about a European revolutionary struggling to adapt to life back home in Germany following time spent in Colombia. ONE WEEK ONLY! MAY 21 – MAY 30.

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Peh Quo Deux

“Peh Quo Deux” brings together five of the most important Brazilian contemporary dance artists around a series of themes proposed by the Italian author Italo Calvino in his book 1988 book “Six Memos for the Next Millennium”. Director Miguel Vellinho invited the choreographers Bruno Cezario, Cristina Moura, Marcia Rubin, Paula Nestorov and Regina Miranda to create pas de deux for puppets. The result is a show that joins animated theater with contemporary dance in a project that proposes a cross-over between languages of expression. Divided into different parts, the performance brings the audience a series of choreographies executed by the puppets with movements that go beyond the abilities of human motion. The precise technical movement of the puppeteers also reveals another layer of this pas-de-deux between dance and animated theatre, inspired by literature—an exquisite choreography of lightness, quickness, exactitude, visibility and multiplicity for contemporary times.

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April 2024


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