Tuesday, September 15, 2015

6 Questions: KARA FEELY


One hundred years after a revolution, Object Collection summons the dead. Phantom agitators and zombie visionaries produce a séance, a death march, a psychic wailing. cheap&easy OCTOBER is a live shredding of art world criticism, an original chamber opera about the revolutionary spirit and the power of the written word.

Writer and director Kara Feely took time out from rehearsals for cheap&easy October to answer 6 Questions for the La MaMa Blog.

1. What was the original inspiration for cheap&easy OCTOBER?


I think revolution is one of those topics that many people say they are interested in but few are actually (really actually) interested in. The same way that the term “experimental” is often very broadly used, “revolution” I think is often cheapened by the contexts in which it is evoked, in art at least. But there is a direct link between experimental art and revolution- they are from the same mold, involve much of the same kind of mindset and bizarre thinking. So it has always been particularly interesting to me as a subject matter, and something that most of my pieces touch upon in some aspect. 


2. The show concerns three specific events: Russian Revolution (1917), Sergei Eisenstein's film October: Ten Days that Shook the World (1928), and the founding of the art journal "October" (1976). Without giving too much away, what is the connection?
 


Each consecutive event commemorates the next: Eisenstein’s film commemorated the actual revolution and the founding of the journal “October” commemorated Eisenstein’s film. For this trio of events I’m interested in how the concept of revolution evolves from action- to representation- to theory. There is a fourth event too, which is the near future (2017) in which the Russian Revolution will be 100 years old. So the question is, is revolutionary action possible 100 years later, or can we only make theater pieces about it? The text for the piece is collaged from Trotsky and Reed, but also a series of interviews I did with one of the actors in the piece, Fulya Peker, who was involved with Gezi and recent protests in Turkey. 


3. How has the work of Object Collection changed since its formation in 2004?
 


We began the company with the idea to create original pieces that blended methodologies and techniques from experimental music and theater, placing both disciplines on equal footing. Over time we just started calling them operas, because it helped audiences to better understand the parameters of the work. The pieces have become increasingly visually, aurally, textually dense- some might say too dense, but that’s the aesthetic we’re going for: sensory overload. 


4. What does the term “opera” mean to you?
 


I take it to mean performance in which live music, theater, and a complex visual design are all in play. Over the years we’ve developed a type of non-bel canto style of singing- using musical notation to denote pitch, rhythm, dynamics, but drawing heavily from the habits of every day speech. Certainly some wouldn’t identify our work as opera but we feel that opera should be allowed to evolve as much as any form. 


5. Who has inspired you?
 


Robert Ashley, Richard Foreman, Carolee Schneemann, Sun Ra, Deiter Roth, Jason Rhoades, Christoph Schlingensief… those are just a few. 


6. What does working at La MaMa mean to you? 


I’ve seen so many shows there, and some really memorable ones, so it occupies an important spot in my theater upbringing. Theaters and performance spaces are always disappearing, so it’s nice for a change to see one persevere. In my mind La MaMa has always been synonymous with underground theater, both local and international- which is unusual, because underground theater often doesn’t travel. It’s a great place with a wonderful history, and I’m really happy to be working there.



La MaMa presents
CHEAP&EASY 
OCTOBER
written/directed by Kara Feely 
composed by Travis Just 
installation by Hannah Dougherty 
lighting design by Jeanette Yew 
stage managed by Liz Nielsen 
performed by Avi Glickstein, Taylor Levine, Aaron Meicht, Tavish Miller, Daniel Allen Nelson, Fulya Peker, Andie Springer, Deborah Wallace, and Owen Weaver

October 9 - 18, 2015
Fri, Oct. 9th & Sat, Oct. 10th at 7:30pm; 
Fri, Oct. 16th & Sat, Oct. 17th at 10pm; 
Sundays Oct. 11 & 18 at 6pm

The Club @ La MaMa
74A East 4th Street
(between Bowery and Second Avenue)
New York, NY 10003

Tickets: $18 Adults; $13 Students/Seniors; ten $10 tickets available for every performance, in advance only, while they last.

For Tickets and Info: CLICK HERE