Monday, December 30, 2013

Town & Village Blog previews The Shell-Shocked Nut

Sarah Macken and Afinatou Thiam in “The Shell-Shocked Nut,” to be performed by the East Village Dance Studio (Photo by High Burckhardt)

Sabina Mollot takes a look at The Shell-Shocked Nut for Town & Village Blog
In this version, the East Village is featured prominently in the storyline with the veteran character taking the lead character, a young girl to a local community garden as well to see a show at LaMaMa theater. The characters travel via a hot air balloon from one act to another and end up meeting all kinds of local characters. 

You can read the full article: HERE

La MaMa presents 
THE SHELL-SHOCKED NUT 

An Alternative Adaptation of The Nutcracker, set in the East Village, inspired by true stories. 

Conceived and directed by Martha Tornay, Artistic Director. East Village Dance Project 
With choreography and direction by Dante Brown, Victoria Roberts-Wierzbowski, Martha Tornay, Hilary McDaniel-Douglas, Naomi Goldberg-Haas in collaboration with the performers 


Three performances only!


Friday, January 3 @ 7pm
Saturday, January 4 @ 3pm
Sunday, January 5 @ 3pm


Tickets: $20 Adults; $15 Students/Seniors 

For tickets and info: Click Here

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Video Trailer: Rumore di acque (Noise in the Waters)


TRAILER Noise in the Waters in NY from Teatro delle Albe on Vimeo.

Set on a volcanic islet in the strip of sea between Europe and Africa that has been the scene of a devastating tragedy for the past fifteen years, this intense, grotesque and nightmarish poem on the tragedy of migrants will grab you and won’t let you go till the end.

In conjunction with the performance this acclaimed Italian group, Teatro delle Albe, will conduct workshops with students from Scuola d’Italia Guglielmo Marconi, La Guardia High School, Corpus Christi School of Harlem, and Montclair University

La MaMa presents
Rumore di acque 
(Noise in the Waters)
By Teatro delle Albe

January 30 – February 16, 2014

Thursdays – Saturdays @ 7:30pm;  Sundays @ 2:30pm

Written and Directed by Marco Martinelli
Devised by Marco Martinelli, Ermanna Montanari
English translation by Thomas Simpson
Performed by Alessandro Renda
Original live music by Fratelli Mancuso

A Co-production of Teatro delle Albe, Ravenna Festival, “Circuito Epicarmo”, Regione Siciliana, Sensi Contemporanei

“The show leaves us astonished, indignant and not only: it digs beneath indifference, carving out faces, stories and sufferings that continue to live within us for days and days.”
- Massimo Marino, Corriere della Sera 

Tickets: $18 Adults; $15 Students/Seniors; Ten $10 tickets are available to every performance, in advance, on a first come first served basis - but hurry, they sell out quickly!


For Tickets and Info: Click Here

Monday, December 23, 2013

Winter 2014 Brochure Now Available


As 2103 comes to a closes, at La MaMa we are looking forward to an amazing and eclectic winter season.  Browse what we have in store for The Club, The Frist Floor Theatre and The Ellen Stewart Theatre for he next few months.

And remember, there are ten tickets available to EVERY performance for only $10 each.  So you can make your own subscription!  See five plays for only $50!  Or 8 plays for $80!  It's a DIY Subscription - only @ LaMaMa.

See the Winter 2014 Brochure: HERE

Thursday, December 19, 2013

NY Times Loves LA DIVINA CARICATURA



****NY TIMES CRITICS' PICK****

Laura Collins-Hughes on Lee Breuer's LA DIVINA CARICATURA, playing through Sunday, December 22 at The Ellen Stewart Theatre.
"Lee Breuer’s dark, joyous and utterly splendid musical fantasia...'La Divina' is indeed unusual: strange, singular, perfectly self-contained and so wondrous that it may leave you in a daze. Don’t say you haven’t been warned." 

Read the full review: HERE

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas in Nickyland Announces Lineup!


(Click above for a treat!)

Christmas in NickyLand 2013

Join your hosts Nicky Paraiso and Pearse Redmond for the ultimate holiday cabaret, in The Club at La MaMa. Each night there will be a holy host of characters singing, dancing, gender-bending, and merry making, all to get you into the East Village spirit of the season.

We are proud to announce this year's casts!

Saturday December 21, 2013 at 10pm

All-La MaMa Ding-Ding Christmas Chorus
Laurie Berg & Dancers
Sara Galas & Yukio Tsuji
Heather Litteer
Chris Masters
George Emilio Sanchez
Shane Shane
Chris Tanner
Chris Yon & Taryn Griggs (video performance)


Sunday December 22, 2013

All-La Mama Ding-Ding Christmas Chorus
Dan Fishback 
Sara Galas & Yukio Tsuji
Heather Litteer
Chris Masters
Susan Murphy
Edgar Oliver 
George Emilio Sanchez
Shane Shane 
Chris Tanner
Kat Yew 
Chris Yon & Taryn Griggs (video performance)


Of course there will be lots of surprises and the above lineup is subject to change, but Christmas in Nickyland will get you in the holiday spirit!  So please join us this Saturday and Sunday @ The Club.



La MaMa presents 

ChristmaiNickyLand 2013
Hosted by Nicky Paraiso 


Saturday December 21st at 10pm 

Sunday December 22nd at 5:30pm


The Club at La MaMa 



Tickets: $15 Adults; $10 Students/Seniors; a limited number of $10 tickets are available as part of La MaMa's 10 @ $10 ticketing initiative (advance purchase only - not available day-of) 



For tickets and info: Click Here

Thursday, December 12, 2013

La MaMa 2014 Winter Preview

LaMaMa has a huge winter lined up, so break out the hats and gloves and scarves and get down to East 4th Street and see what's happening @ La MaMa!


The Shell--Shocked Nut
January 3 – January 5, 2014
Ellen Stewart Theatre

Conceived and directed by Martha Tornay, this production sets its Nutcracker in the East Village. The choreographers are Tornay, Victoria Roberts-Wierzbowski, Dante Brown, Hilary McDaniel-Douglas and Naomi Goldberg-Haas; performers are the youth performers (ages 4–19) of East Village Dance Project and 25 guest professionals.

For Tickets and Info: Click Here

-----


La MaMa's Squirts: 
New Voices in Queer Performance
January 3 – January 12, 2014
The Club

For two weeks, curator and host Dan Fishback rallies the brashest new voices of the queer stage for a peak into the future of underground, revolutionary queer art-making. Ranging from drag and cabaret to spoken word and theater, each of these young artists take cues from their predecessors while reinventing their forms through the singular weirdness of their own individual visions. Each night of SQUIRTS will also feature a guest legend – an established icon of the queer performance world. Join multiple generations of queer performers as we celebrate the legacy of downtown theatrics and the precocious audacity of the millennial mind.

For Tickets and Info: Click Here

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El Año en Que Nací
(Under the Radar Festival)
Co-presented by The Public Theater’s 
Under the Radar Festival and La MaMa
January 8 – January 13, 2014
Ellen Stewart Theatre

With the youthful energy of a new generation, and bolstered by original live music, eleven Chileans born under Pinochet’s dictatorship take to the stage to reconcile a collective history. Somewhere between stunt doubles and historians, they don their parents’ clothes and reconstruct their past from photos, letters, and recordings in this raw and honest act of storytelling.

For Tickets and Info: Click Here

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Black Out
(Under the Radar Festival)
January 9 – January 12, 2014
Ellen Stewart Theatre

Evoking a strong sense of unexpected loss, Black Out examines the fragility of existence as well as the serendipity of life. We watch, from above, as thousands of black granulated fragments transform the dancers’ world into a moving, pictorial composition, that jars as it shifts in response to the light, sound, and movement. A work that contemplates the randomness of mortality in a world of genocide, disease, epidemics, and senseless violence.

For Tickets and Info: Click Here

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Ruff
January 9 – January 26, 2014
La MaMa First Floor Theatre

Peggy Shaw had a stroke in 2011 and in her latest solo, Ruff, guided by longtime collaborator Lois Weaver, Shaw throws off the stigma of age and embraces the joy—and necessity—of creating new work. RUFF is a tribute to those who have kept her company these 69 years, a lament for the absence of those who disappeared into the dark holes left behind by the stroke and a celebration that her brain is able to fill the blank green screens with new insights and images. It is also an opportunity to share these with her favorite confidants – the audience.

For Tickets and Info: Click Here

-----


Shane Shane
January 17 – January 19, 2014
The Club

Shane Shane, the most radical queer performer you’d ever want to introduce to your Grandma, brings his body-positive, confrontational mania to the La MaMa Stage. An evening of original songs, video art, cabaret, and comedy featuring some of New York’s most eclectic performers as special guests.

For Tickets and Info: Click Here

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The Wong Kids In 
The Secret Of The Space 
Chupacabra Go!
January 23 – February 16, 2014
Ellen Stewart Theatre

Violet and Bruce Wong just don’t fit in with the other Earth kids. Sure, they have super powers, they’re just not very good ones. But when an evil beast called the Space Chupacabra appears, intent on universal destruction, The Wong Kids must travel to outer space in order to stop it… if they can only stop bickering. Using a mix of action-driven storytelling, puppetry, and visual magic, THE WONG KIDS transports its audience into the far reaches of the galaxy in this Ma-Yi Theater Company production!

For Tickets and Info: Click Here

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Bum Phillips 
All-American Opera
March 13 – March 30, 2014
Ellen Stewart Theatre

This world premiere opera by Monk Parrots celebrates the improbable life of Bum Phillips, a National Football League legend and American icon. Inspired by Phillips’ motivational skills and homespun principles, this epic portrait of Bum Phillips pushes the boundaries of where and for whom opera is staged.

For Tickets and Info: Click Here

-----


Rumore di acque 
(Noise in the Waters)
January 30 – February 16, 2014
La MaMa First Floor Theatre

Written and directed by Marco Martinelli and performed by
Alessandro Renda, Teatro delle Albe's Rumore di acque is a grotesque and nightmarish poem on the tragedy of migrants set on a volcanic islet in the strip of sea between Europe and Africa that has been the scene of a devastating tragedy for the past fifteen years. This intense performance will grab you and won’t let you go till the end.

For Tickets and Info: Click Here

-----


Capt. John Smith 
Goes to Ukraine
February 27 – March 16, 2014
La MaMa First Floor Theatre

Based on Smith’s own writing, Yara Arts Group's Captain John Smith Goes to Ukraine is about his adventures fighting in the Turkish wars in Eastern Europe before he came to America. The music includes traditional Ukrainian epic songs known as “dumas” and wild new songs written by Susan Hwang which she performs accompanying herself on the accordion, as well as over the top love poetry by Bob Holman.

For Tickets and Info: Click Here

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What I learned 
from a decade of fear
March 20 – March 23, 2014
La MaMa First Floor Theatre

How incriminating is an average life?  Toronto based company, Aluna Theatre, uses security technology as a storytelling medium, to explore our need to change the world in order to preserve it.

For Tickets and Info: Click Here

*****

La MaMa 10 @ $10 Tickets available for all performances on a first come first served basis, in advance only via web, phone or box office.  Not available day of show.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Photo Call: THE THIRD POLICEMAN





Photos by Theo Cote - www.theo-cote.com 

La MaMa presents
Nomad Theatrical Company's production
of Flann O’Brien’s
THE THIRD POLICEMAN
Adapted and Directed by
Stephen Jobes and Grant Neale

Final 4 Performances!
December 12th - 15th, 2013

Tickets: $18 Adults; $15 Students/Seniors; a limited number of $10 tickets are available for every performance, in advance only - not available day of show.

For tickets and info: Click Here

Coming Soon: CHRISTMAS IN NICKYLAND 2013

Photo by Simon Miller | Pictured: Nicky Paraiso with Reindeer Simon Miller (left) and Elf Matt Nasser (right) 

Just in time for the holidays, La MaMa E.T.C. presents Nicky Paraiso as the master of ceremonies for the ultimate holiday cabaret, CHRISTMAS IN NICKYLAND 2013in our intimate 99-seat cabaret space, The Club at La MaMa.

Each night there will be a holy host of characters singing, dancing, gender-bending, and merry making, all to get you into the East Village spirit of the season. Performances by: The All-La MaMa Ding-Ding Christmas Chorus, Laurie Berg, David Cale, Dan Fishback, Ellen Fisher, Patricia Hoffbauer, Peggy Gould & Guests, Jon Kinzel, Chris Masters, Brigham Mosley, Susan Murphy, Matt Nasser, Edgar Oliver, George Emilio Sanchez, Shane Shane & Heather Litteer, Max Steele, Chris Tanner, and other special guest artists TBA!

Join us and ring in the Holidays the La MaMa way!

La MaMa presents
Christmas in NickyLand 2013
Hosted by Nicky Paraiso

Saturday December 21st at 10pm
Sunday December 22nd at 5:30pm, The Club at La MaMa

Tickets: $15 Adults; $10 Students/Seniors; a limited number of $10 tickets are available as part of La MaMa's 10 @ $10 ticketing initiative (advance purchase only - not available day-of)

For tickets and info: Click Here

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Video Preview: A SEASON IN THE CONGO


A Season in the Congo chronicles the rise and fall of Patrice Lumumba, the first Prime Minister of the newly independent Republic of Congo, in the year 1960. Aimé Césaire (1913-2008), a writer and politician known as the “poet leader that lit the fire of Africa” explores themes of racism, betrayal and decolonization in this seminal piece of political theatre. Now, on the 100th anniversary of Césaire’s birth, director Rico Speight brings his work to a new audience.

La MaMa presents
A Season in the Congo
Written by Aimé Césaire Directed by Rico Speight

December 19 – December 22, 2013
Thursday – Saturday @ 7:30pm; Sunday @ 2:30pm

Tickets: $18 Adults; $15 Students/Seniors

First Floor Theatre @ La MaMa
74A East 4th Street
Between 2nd Avenue & Bowery
New York, NY 10003

For Tickets and Info: Click Here

Friday, December 6, 2013

NY Times previews La Divina Caricatura!



Rose the dog is back as the central character of La Divina Caricatura (Trivia buffs note: Rose the dog is the only puppet to win an Obie Award for performance.) 
“It sounds like a Hollywood ploy: ‘40 years in the making,’ ” Mr. Breuer said. “But, yeah, aspects of this piece were around then, so technically, I’ve been screwing with it for that long. The story keeps evolving as I evolve.” 

 Read the full article: HERE

Tickets: $40 Adults; $30 Students

La MaMa ETC and St. Ann’s Warehouse present

The World Premier of Lee Breuer’s
LA DIVINA CARICATURA
Part 1, The Shaggy Dog
a Bunraku Puppet Pop-Opera

December 7 – December 22, 2013

Tuesday – Saturday @ 7:30pm; Sunday @ 2:30pm


For tickets and info: Click Here

Monday, December 2, 2013

The New Yorker Previews La Davina Caricatura



Joan Acocella (The New Yorker) talks to Lee Breuer and previews La Davina Caricatura which begins performances this Friday, December 6th at The Ellen Stewart Theatre.
“La Divina Caricatura” has a lot more than puppets. We get video, a live band, and an impressive crucifixion. There’s a quartet of male soul singers and a trio of female backup singers, in sequinned gowns. The music incorporates rhythm and blues, soul, tango, reggae, rap, Gregorian chant, French folk songs, and Indian ragas. (Breuer says that he was also influenced by ancient Indian epics such as the Mahabharata and by Disney’s animated features, especially “Snow White.”)

Read the full article: HERE

La MaMa ETC and St. Ann’s Warehouse present
The World Premier of Lee Breuer’s
LA DIVINA CARICATURA
Part 1, The Shaggy Dog
a Bunraku Puppet Pop-Opera

December 6 – December 22, 2013

Tuesday – Saturday @ 7:30pm; Sunday @ 2:30pm

Tickets: $40 Adults; $30 Students

For Tickets and Info: Click Here

New This Week: The Third Policeman @ The Club


Nomad Theatrical Company's production of Flann O’Brien’s The Third Policeman comes to The Club @ La MaMa this Friday. Stephen Jobes and Grant Neale's adapt and direct O'Brien's darkly comic, surrealistic novel with a cast of seven actors, two puppeteers and live music. This show is not to be missed!

Actors: Arthur Aulisi, Bairbre Dowling, LeeAnne Hutchison, Todd Licea, Grant Neale, John Robert Tilitson, Julia Watt Musicians: Michael Lydon, Mary Orzano, Marianne Miller

Puppeteers: Bejamin Freeman, Teresa Gilhooly

Puppet Master: Ralph Lee
Composer: Katie Down
Lighting Designer: Richard Currie
Costume Designer: Sara Vandenheuvel
Stage Manager: Mark Brystowski
Scenic Artists: Ron Erickson, Angela Lucido
Video: Paul Lieber
Prop Fabrication: Ian Roy
Theatrical Magic:Jeff Duer

La MaMa presents
Nomad Theatrical Company's production of
Flann O’Brien’s
THE THIRD POLICEMAN
Adapted and Directed by
Stephen Jobes and Grant Neale

December 6th - 15th, 2013

Tickets: $18 Adults; $15 Students/Seniors; a limited number of $10 tickets are available for every performance, in advance only - not available day of show.

For tickets and info: Click Here

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

REFEST at CultureHub


Refest is CULTUREHUB's 3-day art and technology festival that celebrates the convergence of new and old, digital and analog, near and far. The artists featured in Refest are those who are breaking open possibilities through their practice. Creators working across a broad range of technologically informed media will gather at CultureHub in New York City to share video, performance, music, and more. Refest invites artists to share how they are reforming, rebuilding, reiterating, and renewing ideas.

Here is the full weekend schedule:

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 29

5 PM Exhibition Opening / Featuring works from Abelardo Gil-Fournier, Jane Tingley and Michael Seta, RATS Theatre, Leila Nadir and Cary Peppermint, Jesper Norda, Jody Zellen, Karen Niemczyk, Matthew Mazzota, EcoArtTech, Robert Spahr, Namwoo Bae

6 PM Long Table co-curated by CultureHub and Tom Tenny of Re/Mixed Festival NYC featuring remix scholar Eduardo Navas, musician Adriano Clemente, RE/Mixed NYC founder Tom Tenney, performing artist David Commander and more TBA!

8 PM In Flight by David Commander / Theatre Performance

8:30 PM LightPUSHer with Adriano Clemente / Musical Performance

9 PM Kick-Off Party

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 30

12 PM The Moment by ss-io / Generative audiovisual installation

1 PM Maryam: A Mobile Drama from RATS / Interactive Performance

2 PM foci + loci / Installation

3 PM Indeterminate Hikes+ with Leila Nadir & Cary Peppermint / Interactive Experience

6 PM Artist Talk with Jesper Norda

7 PM Artist Talk with Matthew Mazzota

8 PM Reception

9 PM Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid with Sound Impact / Performing Seoul Counterpoint *This event will be Livestreamed

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 1

11 AM CoLab with Federico Restrepo / Children's Workshop

1 PM Le Blanc et Le Noir, CoLab presentation / Interactive game

5 PM Memory Palace with Christopher Cerrone

***

For info and tickets: CLICK HERE

Lisa Mayo

Lisa Mayo in Spiderwoman Theater's I'LL BE RIGHT BACK, 1984.  
Photo by Gerry Vezzuso.

It is with great sadness that we learn of the passing of Lisa Mayo of Spiderwoman Theater on Sunday, November 24, 2013.  Lisa is pictured above in Spiderwoman Theater's I'll Be Right Back in April of 1984.  

Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this difficult time.


Thankful @ La MaMa



La MaMa is so thankful for everyone who came out for our DIY Season Gala last Thursday to help us celebrate our DIY season and honor Patsy Tarr and Michael Feingold. Mike Albo and Marga Gomez were terrific hosts and we were wowed by the talents of Tom Gold, Joan Morris, Jonah Bokaer, Joyce Castle and Sting (yes, STING!).

We hope everyone had enjoyed themselves and if you didn't get to come, please join us for our next one.

The online auction is still going on via CharityBuzz until Wednesday, December 4th. CLICK HERE to bid!

And we wish everyone a Very Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Opening The Week: The Republic, or My Dinner with Socrates


The La MaMa Puppet Series may have just concluded, but there are still more puppets inhabiting the La MaMa First Floor Theatre.  This week, Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre's  The Republic, or My Dinner with Socrates begins performances.  With a cast of 6 actors, 50 marionettes and dozens of shadow puppets, The Rupublic asks: Is democracy not the ideal form of government?  Was Socrates executed by a vigilant Athenian "department of homeland security?  The play may or may not answer these questions, but will at least hope to open a dialogue in a true Socratic method.

La MaMa presents
Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre's
The Republic, or My Dinner with Socrates

Written and Directed by Vít Hořejš

November 29 – December 15, 2013

Tickets: $18 Adults; $13 Students/Seniors; A limited number of $10 tickets are available as part La MaMa's 10 @ $10 ticketing initiative, through which ten tickets are available for every performance for only $10: these tickets must be purchased in advance.

For tickets and information: Click Here

Friday, November 22, 2013

Felt It Again II @ La Galleria


AN EXHIBITION OF
WEARABLE ART BY
SELCUK GURISIK & ALI ALEV

Dr. Selçuk Gürısık has researched traditional Anatolian felt-making for 28 years. After a long absence, he is back on the New York art scene with a dazzling new exhibition. The show invokes the collective, progressive spirit of the felt-making community. Felt makers’ multimedia techniques merge traditional and contemporary concepts, expressing aspects of post-postmodernism. Adopting a theme of “today creates tomorrow,” this exhibit puts on display the felt-makers’ ultimate ambitions for their art.

The exhibition will also commemorate the memory of Ellen Stewart, the founder and director of the avant-garde theater company La MaMa, and Huseyin Katircioglu, a Turkish Performance artist and founder of Assos Performance Arts Festival. Both had a profound influence over Gurisik’s work and the exhibition simultaneously serves as an homage to the indispensible body of theaterical work that came out of their collaboration together in international theater festivals in Italy, Turkey and the US.

La MaMa Galleria
6 East 1st Street
(Between Broadway & 2nd Avenue)
New York, NY 10003

Gallery Hours: Wed-Sun 1-7:30pm

Free Admission

For more info: Click Here

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

La MaMa DYI Season Gala Tomorrow!


The La MaMa DIY Season Gala will happen at The Ellen Stewart Theatre tomorrow, Thursday, November 21st at 6:30pm. The evening will honor Michael Feingold and Patsy Tarr and will be hosted by Marga Gomez and Mike Albo.

You can support La MaMa in several ways:
  • Bid on some of the fabulous auction items: Click Here
  • Buy a raffle ticket and be entered to win some terrific East Village-y prizes: Click Here

...And THANK YOU for your continued support!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Critics Are Blown Away by THE GOD PROJEKT

"one of the most startlingly intense shows I've seen" 
- Helen Shaw, Time Out New York

"pure unadulterated theater magic" 
- Martin Denton, New York Theater Now




La MaMa Puppet Series presents

THE GOD PROJEKT

Created by Lone Wolf Tribe
Conceived by Kevin Augustine
Written & Directed by Kevin Augustine and Edward Einhorn
In association with Untitled Theater Company #61

November 14 – November 24, 2013

Tickets are $18 for Adults; $13 for students and seniors.
A limited number of $10 tickets are available as part of La MaMa's 10 @ $10 initiative.

For Tickets and Info: Click Here

Monday, November 18, 2013

La MaMa Puppet Series Continues: DORME


Italian company, La Capra Ballerina brings their show, DORME, to the First Floor Theatre at La MaMa.

Conceived and performed by Laura Bartolomei, DORME tells the story of a who girl goes to sleep and embarks on a journey within her dreams and nightmares: flying among fish with human faces; playing with light and shadow; the death of her cat; falling into water and meeting her own death. The non-linear narrative is composed as a dance, with a musical score by Stefano Zazzera and the wrist puppet technique developed by the Russian master, Vladimir Zakharov.

La MaMa Puppet Series presents 
La Capra Ballerina's 
Dorme 
Conceived and Performed by Laura Bartolomei 

November 21 – November 24, 2013
4 Performances Only!

Tickets: $18 Adults; $13 Students/Seniors; a limited number of $10 tickets are available, in advance only, as part of La MaMa's 10 @ $10 ticketing initiative.

For Tickets and Info: Click Here


Friday, November 15, 2013

Artist Interview: Kevin Augustine

The God Projekt

November 14th – November 24th | The Club at La MaMa | La MaMa Puppet Series 2013



Photo by Emily Boland | Interview by Sam Alper

Kevin Augustine on creation myths, Beckett and puppeteering with your feet.


What were some of the inspirations for The God Projekt?

It was inspired by a previous show of Lone Wolf Tribe, my company, Bride, which we did in 2008. That was a really big show, a large cast and five musicians onstage. We wanted to tour that piece but it was too large, given the economic climate. So I wanted - The characters and the content, I really wanted to explore further, so I wanted to make a minimal version of that show, based on that show. What I like to do is ask big questions, explore big ideas. So I wanted to look at the concept of creator. Who's the big creator? It's God. And what's the status of the creation? And just looking at the world and the headlines and saying "something's maybe not quite working. Was it always this way? What preceded historically judeo-christian values and monotheism." And then what started to develop was this backstory of god, this secret history that involved a love story. Because in terms of monotheism, he's alone. He's the only one. But I started to wonder, does he ever get lonely? Was there ever anyone else? And historically what preceded monotheism was polytheism. There were many gods. And they weren't just male, they were female, there was the Queen of Heaven. If you dig deep enough you can see, biblically, there was a union, there was a partnership between Yahweh and the Goddess, and so I was interested in that. What happened?  What was that break up like? 

In a way you locate a problem in monotheism - a problem of unity. Because we actually live interpersonally.

Ideally. But that's the thing. What are the consequences of a certain paradigm, where it's male-centered and it's patriarchal and there's a pecking order? There are consequences. I'm interested in dominator models versus partnership. Which feeds into my work as a puppeteer as well, because most folks, in terms of talking about puppetry, they always say manipulate. "Manipulate the puppet." And that to me presupposes a hierarchy. Versus a partnership - that's a dance. There's give and take. And that's how I see interaction with puppets; they're partners.

What's the most challenging aspect of making The God Projekt?

The most challenging aspect has become the amount of technical pieces that there are. In writing I didn't see - I'd have other people read it and give feedback and they'd say "wow this is really big" and I would say "what? No come on. It's just…" Like for instance, writing something like, 'a flower grows and the puppet smiles.' It's just a few words. But to make that happen technically, it's motors and… It branched out beyond the pure solo show that I initially imagined. So technical stuff... as well as physical stuff. Just staying in shape in order to physically do what needs to be done. Puppeteering with my feet and some of that. 

Your costume - What you wear for the show is very involved. What led you to present the God character that way?

Well, there are so many tragedies, again and again. And people are always asking, this mantra is like, "where's God? Where is he? Is he here?" And so I started to think, we have someone who's supposed to be in total control and maybe they're not. Why wouldn't they be? The powers are ebbing, he's older now, he's got arthritis, his memory is fading. Somebody who had great power but they're in decline. So I just thought, it's an old man, there's age and there's decrepitude. And I wanted to explore that tension, when you have someone who can't quite get the job done, but is still expected to be the number one problem solver. 

You've mentioned Krapp's Last Tape -

Yeah. That is always an inspiration, sure. Again the solo aspect and the whole thing about memory. One man's endeavor, late at night, alone, isolated, very minimal. Going through his own personal minimal odyssey to discover his past and his present and where he's going from here. Yeah that was always a jumping off point for me.

You're a part of the "Puppet Series." Is there any way you'd like to speak to that? to puppetry in general?

I don't get to see other stuff as much as I like. The work that I do takes too much time, all my time. So I can't always speak validly about 'the puppet scene.' I see what I do, or strive to do, as theatre. I don't see it exclusively as puppets. There's always that hurdle, describing what I do or what most puppet people do. When you say puppets, you don't know what people are going to assume. But the biggest challenge that I see personally… It's a good and a bad that puppetry in this city and this country is moving into the mainstream, or at least getting acknowledged in broader venues. The downside of that is the same puppeteers that I would hire to be in my shows, independent low budget stuff, are now getting used to bigger paychecks. That's tricky. 

I brought up Krapp's Last Tape. Are there other artists or works that you've been thinking about as you work on The God Projekt?

Well the things that mostly inspire me are music and history, anthropology. Stories that are kind of beneath the headlines. The stories that, if you do a little digging and research, it's like "oh I didn't know that." The whole initial belief of humans, in terms of divinity, was that it was first considered female. They worshipped the creative process, the magic of a woman being able to give birth and, understandably early on, they didn't understand the sex connection. That the man had anything to do with that process. So things like that. Just - how we got started. And music a lot, and drawing. I draw a lot.

What's the experience of working at La MaMa like? Does it feel different from working at other places?

(laughs) That's definitely a very loaded question.

It feels very loaded, I know, coming from, like, La MaMa -

And sitting in La MaMa. Yeah.

But anything that makes this place unique. Good or bad.

Well it's always been a dream of mine to perform at La MaMa. To get the chance to be part of the tradition of the work that's been presented here. It's different in that when you say "I'm performing at La MaMa" people say, "Oh, ok, yeah" and that cache is really nice. And I imagine if the show goes on, we'll always have this moment in time, to say this is where it originated. You know, Downtown, New York. Because the thing that's different for me is that being here reminds me of when I got started in the City. There have been so many changes. And it feels like La MaMa is still - It's the place it has been, but it's moving forward. You can count on it for what it is and what it represents and the kind of work it supports. So I'm glad to fit in here. It feels good.