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In Performance: p r i s m (Prototype)

p r i s m Composed by Ellen Reid Libretto by Roxie Perkins Directed by James Darrah Music Directed by Julian Wachner Prototype, La MaMa January 6-12, 2019 CW: Sexual assault, rape, PTSD p r i s m is an opera about trauma. It is an exploration of coping, of recounting – of learning how to heal, how to find language again. We begin in a white, cut out square of a room. Our two characters lie asleep in bed dressed in long white gowns that speak of an imaginary mental hospital. Two walls are cut away to allow us into the cramped and intimate world of mother and daughter, psychological abuser and abused. Lumee at first seems to be taking care of her daughter Bibi – and Lumee is the one keeping her locked in this small room – but we quickly move into a ripping vocal exchange as Lumee blames, caj...

In Performance: Juliana F. May, Folk Incest (American Realness)

Folk Incest Juliana F. May American Realness, Abrons Arts Center January 9-12, 2019 A single row of chairs lines the four walls of Abrons’ intimate G05 studio, all of them seemingly meant for the audience. Until Molly Poerstel enters from the hallway, takes an open seat, and, lit by a spotlight, struggles to speak. She has some pages in her hand, presumably a script she’s trying to say, but she just can’t get her mouth to form the words. She tries, over and over, for a remarkably long time, changing pitch and speed and tone, and eventually it becomes clear that she’s trying to say, “I hate when people talk about irony like that.” She struggles through a few more sentences until the lighting opens up to include four other women in the space with her. What...

In Performance: Sarah Kane/Philip Venables, 4.48 Psychosis (Prototype)

4.48 Psychosis Sarah Kane/Philip Venables Prototype, Baruch Performing Arts Center January 5-12, 2019 Sarah Kane’s classic 4.48 Psychosis takes a stirring, operatic turn in Philip Venables’ adaptation, currently playing at the PROTOTYPE festival after a sold-out run at the Royal Opera House in London. The opera uses a variety of inventive means to bring Kane’s words about death to life, with a mix of sung, spoken, slurred, and projected text. The accompanying music, performed by the ensemble Contemporaneous that is situated hauntingly above the stage, intensifies the anger and pain of the play. In a series of especially effective exchanges, the dialogue between the central, suicidal figure (played by Gweneth-Ann Rand) and her psychiatrist (played by Lucy Schaufer) are not spoken at all. In...

In Performance: Pancho Villa From A Safe Distance (Prototype)

Pancho Villa From A Safe Distance Composed by Graham Reynolds Libretto by Largartijas Tiradas Al Sol Directed by Shawn Sides Prototype, BRIC January 5-9, 2019 Walking into Pancho Villa From a Safe Distance, you see an expansive spread of instruments arranged in a cluster taking up most of the stage: a double stacked keyboard, a full drum set, an electric guitar, a tuba, a double bass, a cello and a violin. Interspersed among the musicians, tables are covered with photographic paraphernalia, live cameras and a video footage of the yet-to-be-introduced ‘El Tigre.’ The work begins with an explosion of sound as a fusion of rock and roll and more recognizable styles of operatic singing fuse with latin rhythms joyously ringing together. This bilingual experience rotates between songs in Spanish ...

In Performance: Half Straddle, Is This A Room: Reality Winner Verbatim Transcription

Is This A Room: Reality Winner Verbatim Transcription Half Straddle The Kitchen January 4-12, 2019 Is This A Room: Reality Winner Verbatim Transcription is, in many ways, exactly what its title says it is: the performance of the verbatim transcription of the FBI’s interrogation of 25-year-old Reality Winner. As the lobby display (by Murphey Wilkins) and program note help explain: in 2017, Reality Winner, an Air Force vet and intelligence contractor, was charged with violating the Espionage Act for leaking a document on Russian interference in U.S. voting systems. In 2018, she was sentenced to over five years in prison, the longest sentence anyone has ever received in a federal court for passing classified information to the media. Tina Satter/Half Straddle’s production of the transcription...

In Performance: Royal Osiris Karaoke Ensemble, The Art of Luv (Part 6): Awesome Grotto! (American Realness)

The Art of Luv (Part 6): Awesome Grotto! Royal Osiris Karaoke Ensemble American Realness, Abrons Arts Center January 4-5, 2019 To step into Royal Osiris Karaoke Ensemble’s The Art of Luv (Part 6): Awesome Grotto! is to step into a different atmosphere. A soothing aural landscape merges with a striking visual one of an extremely large moon-like surface that takes up the entire height of Abrons’ Experimental Theater. The lights are dim and performers dressed in long white tunics are at a calm attention. Soon they speak quietly to the audience, asking if anyone would like to come down from their riser seats and onto the stage floor, which is covered in grass, for some special sounds. The many willing audience members descend and lie down, and the performers take them through a kind of meditat...

In Performance: Michael Joseph McQuilken, The Infinite Hotel (Prototype)

The Infinite Hotel Michael Joseph McQuilken Prototype, Irondale January 5-12, 2019 In The Infinite Hotel, written and directed by Michael Joseph McQuilken, the audience is divided upon entrance: between “background actors” who experience and participate in the event on Irondale’s main floor and “producers” who watch the event from a balcony above. And quite an event unfolds, as The Infinite Hotel is not only a performance to be viewed but also a film to create. Pre-show is as alive as any film set (albeit a one-camera one), with a steadicam operator and monitors around the space along with lights and cables and marks and a large crew. A First AD figure helps explain what is going to happen: the producers will watch from above, listening in on provided headphones; the background actors will...

Opportunities: Open Call – Franklin Furnace Fund 2018-19 (New York) Deadline – 04/01/2018

Open Call – Franklin Furnace Fund 2018-19 ((New York)) 2018 Deadline: 04/01/2018 Online Application: http://franklinfurnace.org/artists/franklin_furnace_fund/ff_application.php Fee to Apply: FREE Description Of Opportunity: The Franklin Furnace Fund awards grants annually to emerging artists to enable them to produce major performance art works in New York. Grants range between $2,000 and $10,000 based on the peer review panel allocation of funding received by Franklin Furnace. Franklin Furnace has no curator; each year a new panel of artists reviews all proposals. They believe this peer panel system allows all kinds of artists from all over the world an equal shot at presenting their work. Every year the panel changes, as do the definitions of “emerging artist” and “perf...

In Performance: Gordon/Artman/Fish, Acquanetta (PROTOTYPE)

Upon entering the auditorium in the Gelsey Kirkland Arts Center, the audience is met with a larger-than-life projection screen. Its big size makes a big impact--as does its light color amidst the rest of the stage, which seems shallow and dark. But there are hidden depths to that stage and they surprise throughout Acquanetta, an opera inspired by a 1940s actress of the same name who kept much of herself hidden, too.

In Performance: Chapman/Sirna-Frest, Welcome to the Gun Show (Exponential Festival)

Welcome to the Gun Show: a Chekhovian Song Cycle Julia Sirna-Frest/Shane Chapman/Patrick Vassel Exponential Festival, Slipper Room January 14-15 Composers Julia Sirna-Frest and Shane Chapman lit up the Slipper Room in Welcome to the Gun Show, an hour-long set of original songs with lyrics exclusively from Chekhov’s writings. Before diving in, Sirna-Frest explained the concept behind the set and invited the packed crowd to “sit back and enjoy the melancholy.” Melancholy was certainly to be had, with most of the many-membered band dressed in mourning-for-my-life black, playing songs focused on unrequited love, getting old, and wanting to go to Moscow. But a whole lot of fun was to be had, too. Sirna-Frest provided vodka and sno balls between songs, and listening to the songs themselves becam...

In Performance: Neal Medlyn, I HEART PINA (American Realness)

I <3 PINA Neal Medlyn American Realness, Abrons Arts Center January 11-16 “I feel weird about Pina Bausch and I feel weird about dance and I feel weird about romance and I feel weird about being a fan. I’m mainly interested in two things from Pina Bausch’s work: fandom and romance.” So starts the program note to Neal Medlyn’s I <3 PINA, words that are also projected during the performance. Behind almost the entirety of the performance is a constant, slow scroll of words, a fascinating wealth of context to Medlyn’s latest creation. Much of Medlyn’s work has dealt with celebrity, and I <3 PINA, focusing on the legendary dancer, of course does, too. As Medlyn writes, it certainly deals with fandom and romance, but to put it another way, it also deals with legacy and deep loneliness, ...

In Performance: Ikechukwu Ufomadu, Ike’s Wonderful World of Leisure (Exponential Festival)

Ike’s Wonderful World of Leisure Ikechukwu Ufomadu Exponential Festival, Vital Joint January 12-13, 2018 Comic entertainer Ikechukwu Ufomadu breaks all the rules in his one-man lecture performance, Ike’s Wonderful World of Leisure. All the rules for giving effective presentations, that is. He moves through his presentation at a slow pace; he walks in front of the projector so that the presentation slides often end up projected on his body; and perhaps most egregious of all, he reads every single word that he’s put on his slides. Yet the show could not be a more thoroughly enjoyable leisure experience. Ike establishes the leisurely pace from the very start, as he shuffles in and says hello to individual audience members he happens to see, with an openness that makes it easy to e...