Saturday, January 31, 2015

Yara Arts Group @ The Ukrainian Museum


La MaMa resident company, Yara Arts Group are celebrating their 25 Anniversary with an exhibit at The Ukrainian Museum - Yara at 25: Looking Back/Moving Forward.

The exhibition includes costumes, instruments, photographs, props and videos from Yara’s productions at La MaMa, and from performances and research expeditions in Ukraine, Buryat Republic in Siberia, Kyrgyzstan, China and Japan. Yara artists will also create several live events in conjunction with the exhibition to celebrate this anniversary. 

Yara at 25 is open now through March 1, 2015.

Yara at 25: 
Looking Back/Moving Forward

The Ukrainian Museum
222 East 6th Street
(between Bowery and Second Avenue)
New York, NY 10003

Wednesday thru Sunday: 11:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 

$8.00 adults
$6.00 seniors
$6.00 students (with valid ID)
Children under 12 – free


For more info: CLICK HERE

Thursday, January 29, 2015

NY Times on THE GOLDEN TOAD



Neil Genzlinger reviews The Talking Band's newest music-theater piece THE GOLDEN TOAD for The New York Times:

"'The Golden Toad,' the latest work by the experimental troupe the Talking Band, is a long, often amusing journey of discovery..."

Read the full review HERE

- - - - -


La MaMa presents


THE 

GOLDEN 

TOAD

by The Talking Band

January 23 - February 07, 2015


The Ellen Stewart Theatre
66 East 4th Street
(between Bowery and Second Avenue)
New York, NY 10003

Tickets: $25 Adults; $20 Students/Seniors; ten tickets priced at $10 are available for every performance, in advance only, via web, phone or at the box office - not available day of show.

Because of the configuration of the theater for The Golden Toad, there is very limited ticket availability for every performance.  Advance purchase strongly suggested.


For Tickets and Info: CLICK HERE

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

NY Times is excited about The New Zealand Performance Festival


Lori Holcomb-Holland preview The New Zealand Performance Festival for The New York Times. The festival will run March 12th through 29th, 2015.


"Among the highlights is “On the Conditions and Possibilities of Hillary Clinton Taking Me as her Young Lover,” Geoff Pinfield and Arthur Meek’s play, in which a lecturer (played by Mr. Meek) makes the case that Ms. Clinton not only wants a young lover, but also needs one to win the 2016 presidential election — and that he is the perfect candidate for the position."


Read the full article HERE.

La MaMa presents
THE NEW 
ZEALAND 
PERFORMANCE 
FESTIVAL

March 12th - 29th, 2015


ON THE CONDITIONS AND POSSIBILITIES OF HILLARY CLINTON TAKING ME AS HER YOUNG LOVER
First Floor Theatre | by Arthur Meek
March 12, 13, 14 at 7:30pm & 15 at 2pm | 60 minutes | $20
A theatrical lecture by Arthur Meek, a rising star in the New Zealand theatre scene. 

NAG
La Galleria | by Marcus McShane
March 18, 19, 20 & 22 at 1pm - 5:30pm | Free
An endurance-based performance-installation that constructs a self-propelled artist studio. 

SLEEP/WAKE
Ellen Stewart Theatre | by Sam Trubridge
March 19-21 at 8pm & 22 at 4pm | 7o minutes | $25
FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHT: An award-winning art science performance with stunning visuals by director/designer Sam Trubridge.

SO SO GANGSTA
First Floor Theatre | by James Nokise
March 19, 20, 21 at 7:30pm & 22 at 2pm | 55 minutes | $20
Samoan comedian James Nokise brings hip-hop culture back to the USA via the Pacific and Aotearoa, New Zealand.

FOR YOUR FUTURE GUIDANCE
La Galleria | by Binge Culture
March 18, 19, 20 - 22 at 6pm | 60 minutes | Free
An interactive performance in the style of a self-help seminar, giving you the skills and knowledge to survive the new you-topia.

ALL YOUR WANTS AND NEEDS FULFILLED FOREVER
Ellen Stewart Theatre | by PlayGround Collective
March 26 at 8pm & 27 at 4pm | 70 minutes | $25
Simon studies video game design, looks after his pet rats, and keeps himself glued to whatever screen is nearest—all to avoid thinking about the recent death of his father. But Simon’s world is turned upside down when a mysterious box is delivered to him that might just contain the Secret to the Universe... An acclaimed new theatre work by writer Eli Kent and director Robin Kerr of the award-winning PlayGround Collective.

CHET BAKER: LIKE SOMEONE IN LOVE
Ellen Stewart Theatre | by Goldthorpe Creative
March 28 at 8pm & 29 at 4pm | 115 minutes | $25
Jazz and theatre brought together on stage in the gripping story of a US music legend. Performed and written by David Goldthorpe. Directed by David Lawrence.

LISTENING POSTS
In public places throughout the East Village | by LudiCity | Free
March 19 - 22 | Installation

Tickets now on sale for all shows.

3-Show Ticket Packages Available for $50.  CLICK HERE to buy.

For Tickets and Info: CLICK HERE

Front Row Center on CEDARS


Constance Rodgers gives CEDARS 3-Stars in her review on Front Row Center, saying:

"I recommend seeing Cedars. I, for one, am glad these five actors and ten authors are walking in my world, and bringing their spirits’ so fully with them."

Read the full review HERE

-----

La MaMa presents
 
CEDARS

by Mirage Theatre Company

Now through February 1, 2015 - Final Week!

The First Floor Theatre @ La MaMa
74A East 4th Street
(Between Bowery and Second Avenue)
New York, NY 10003

Tickets: $18 Adults; $13 Students/Seniors; Ten tickets priced at $10 each are available, in advance only, for the first ten buyers - not available day of show.

For Tickets and Info: CLICK HERE

6 Questions: Trav S.D.


Author Trav S.D.'s new play, HORSEPLAY, opens at The Ellen Stewart Theatre in February in a production by Theatre Askew and directed by Elyse Singer.  Horseplay stars Molly Pope as Adah Isaacs Menken and we got to ask Trav 6 Questions about the play, his book No Applause, Just Throw Money and his favorite albums:

1. What was initial inspiration for writing HORSEPLAY?
I first learned about Adah Isaacs Menken when, by happenstance, I came into possession of a couple of biographies about her in the late 1980s. It was years before I read the books, but the instant I did so I knew I had to write a play about her (initially it was a screenplay). This was in 2000 or so. And I chipped away at it now and again over the years. Then in around 2011, Tim Cusack asked me if I had anything in the hopper that might be suitable for Theatre Askew, and this play came immediately to mind. Tim and I share a common love for the Theatre of Ridiculous, and I was always going to give this a Ridiculous treatment.

2. What was it about Adah Isaacs Menken that you found interesting?
I often write about people who are slippery with the truth in a theatrical way, and kind of shift identities when the need arises. Often I and others will invent these larger-than-life, fictional, fabulous characters, but Adah was all that and she was REAL. Her REAL story is almost too good to be believed. I mean, plenty of it was indeed invented cock-and-bull, but the verifiable, corroborated FACTS are easily just as fascinating. This is a woman who went EVERYWHERE, did EVERYTHING, knew EVERYONE, and at the same time, she herself was a sort of mysterious hole. Nobody knew the true story of her earliest background, not even her closest friends. This ambiguity about her identity allowed her to kind of live outside the law, to break laws, and make new ones. Black? White? Gay? Straight? On and on and on. It seems like she was all of them and none of them. And because she was a creature of the Victorian era, this means she broke new ground for the age we live in now -- the age when we get to define ourselves, or at least when many of us strive to. An age where is not a case of society telling YOU, "You are a woman and therefore...", but YOU telling society, "I am ME and therefore..." This is a battle that has been waged since the beginning of time.

3. Who inspires you?
Hoohoo, such a long list! But in this context, oh, I guess: Oscar Wilde, Charles Ludlam, John Waters, P.T. Barnum, Charles Busch, Ethyl Eichelberger, both chicks named Jennifer Miller (the one with the beard and the one with the elf ears), Walt Whitman, Andy Warhol, Tammy Faye Starlite, and Everett Quinton (whom I still can't believe is in my fucking play!)

4. What is it like to have Bette Midler recommend your book, No Applause, Just Throw Money?
Very nice, but it also makes me surly, ungrateful and dissatisfied. Like, where are the backstage passes, Bette? Can the two of us go to the racetrack maybe sometime and just hang out? Belmont? Aqueduct? If she has me to dinner, though, I know I would like brisket.

5. What 3 albums would you want with you if stuck on an island?
All Things Must Pass, George Harrison 
The Basement Tapes, Bob Dylan (with all the newly rediscovered tracks so that's cheating!) Sgt. Pepper, the Beatles 

Boring, huh?

6. What does working at La MaMa mean to you?
Well, for me it's all in the name. When I think of the name La MaMa, it has two meanings for me. First, It's the living mother of all indie theatre companies. The experiments that were nurtured here in the mid 60s made everything that's happened since possible. I think in certain ways, the downtown theatre community has backslid, but not in the fundamental idea that it is 100% valid for me or anyone to just sort of plant their flag and say "I am a theatre company, and this thing I am doing is theatre." That spirit of freedom was pioneered at La MaMa. The other meaning in the name...Well, having known both Ellen Stewart and Mia Yoo, I can say that they both radiate this same quality, a sort of ethic of being welcoming and nurturing, of hearing you, and supporting you, not just materially but morally. They go to bat for their shows. They provide for their artists. And ye gods -- they have rehearsal space!

And, lastly, working at the same joint where a lot of my heroes have worked puts the pep in my step! I first had the privilege of mounting a show here in 2011, and I tell you at night, when all is quiet, I look around for the ghosts!


-----



La MaMa presents
HORSEPLAY: 
or, The Fickle Mistress, 
A Protean Picaresque

by Trav S.D.
directed by Elyse Singer

February 13 - March 1, 2015

The Ellen Stewart Theatre
66 East 4th Street
(between Bowery and Second Avenue)
New York, NY 10003

Tickets: $18 Adults; $13 Students/Seniors; ten tickets priced at $10 each are available, in advance only, for every performance - first come, first served

For Tickets & Info: Click Here


6 Questions: Sheryl Lee Ralph


Sheryl Lee Ralph's D.I.V.A. Foundation is co-presenting Richard E. Waits' solo musical, MAMA ROSE, opening this week at The Club @ La MaMa and she was kind enough to take time out to answer 6 Questions for our blog:

1. How did you meet Richard E. Waits and get involved with his production of MAMA ROSE?

In many ways our meeting was the seed that began and grew into Mama Rose. We were working together in San Diego at the Old Globe Theatre on a Musical version of the hit film First Wives Club and there was something about Richard and I said, "honey you are a show waiting to happen, write it. That show is being birthed as Mama Rose.

2. What is The D.I.V.A. Foundation?

The D.I.V.A. Foundation is Divinely Inspired Victoriously AIDS aware. I found the foundation as an original company member of "Dreamgirls" on Broadway when I stood witness to what I call an ugly time in America. I saw my friend suffer and die from a mysterious disease nobody wanted to talk about it much less do anything about it and so I created a living breathing memorial out of The D.I.V.A. Foundation called "Divas Simply Singing" and every year we raise up the memory of my friends who were good people, kind people somebody's father, sister, brother, but most of all my friends.

3. Your breakout role as Deena in Dreamgirls had a book by La MaMa veteran Tom Eyen. Were you very aware of his “downtown” work at the time?

There was no way I could not be aware of his connection to La MaMa! It was as if he wanted me to know everything about him, so his downtown connection was very much a part of what made him an uptown Broadway success and it was not easy.

4. You work in theater, film and TV - which do you prefer?

There is nothing like being on the stage, nothing like it, there is no safety net of an edit there, is no safety net of can we stop and take that again. It is your complete connection with your material with your art, with yourself and getting on the stage, that tight wire and performing without a net. When I perform my one-woman show, Sometimes I Cry, which is based on real women's real stories dealing with HIV and AIDS, I can stand on that stage and I fly.

5. What was the last good book you read?

I am constantly rereading my own book Redefining Diva because very often I do speaking engagements built around the book. I'm always becoming reacquainted with things I've said and wrote. When I connect with an audience at a speaking engagement and people are moved, and learn something to better themselves. I'm like wow! I've been of service.

6. Who inspires you?

I'm so inspired by my mother who is still kicking it and reinventing herself at 85 I'm so inspired by my children who take to learning with all of its ups and downs and have the good sense to look at their mother and say, "okay, so you were right again!" I'm inspired by my husband who loves me so wonderfully every chance he gets and is a good human being. I'm inspired by my mother-in-law who at 90 is still driving herself doing everything she can, handling three properties and making it all happen for her community.




La MaMa presents

MAMA 
ROSE
Book, Music & Lyrics by Richard E. Waits
Directed by Paul Stancato

January 30 - February 08, 2015

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

Tickets: $18 Adults; $13 Students/Seniors. Ten tickets priced at $10 are available to the first buyers - in advance only, while they last - for every performance.

For Tickets and Info: CLICK HERE 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

First Look @ THE GOLDEN TOAD

Check out these brand new photos from The Talking Band's epic production of THE GOLDEN TOAD, now playing at The Ellen Stewart Theatre @ La MaMa...








(All photos by Suzanne Opton)

-----


La MaMa presents

THE 
GOLDEN 
TOAD
by The Talking Band

January 23 - February 07, 2015


The Ellen Stewart Theatre
66 East 4th Street
(between Bowery and Second Avenue)
New York, NY 10003

Tickets: $25 Adults; $20 Students/Seniors; ten tickets priced at $10 are available for every performance, in advance only, via web, phone or at the box office - not available day of show.

Because of the configuration of the theater for The Golden Toad, there is very limited ticket availability for every performance.  Advance purchase strongly suggested.


For Tickets and Info: CLICK HERE

Friday, January 23, 2015

Infinite Body on CEDARS

Matt Langer (Dakota) in Cedars
(photo: Tatiana Ronderos)


Eva Yaa Asantewaa looks at Mirage Theatre Company's CEDARS which just opened at The First Floor Theatre:


"As with the Black Lives Matter movement, our moment calls for disruptive narratives like those at the core of Cedars."

Read the full article HERE

La MaMa presents 
CEDARS
by Mirage Theatre Company

Now through February 1, 2015

The First Floor Theatre @ La MaMa
74A East 4th Street
(Between Bowery and Second Avenue)
New York, NY 10003

Tickets: $18 Adults; $13 Students/Seniors; Ten tickets priced at $10 each are available, in advance only, for the first ten buyers - not available day of show.

For Tickets and Info: CLICK HERE

Thursday, January 22, 2015

La MaMa Kids Video Preview

 
La MaMa Kids-Video promo- nov 2014 from La MaMa on Vimeo.

La MaMa Kids presents performances and workshops on the FIRST and THIRD Saturday of every month (October - June).

This year’s La MaMa Kids season will feature programs that explore indigenous mythology and story-telling and the harmony of man and nature, building consciousness around our environmental issues.


Upcoming La MaMa Kids Events:



Kids Performance: Adventures of Seucy and Boto – Episode 1January 24, 2015

Kids Workshop: Filipino Indigenous DanceFebruary 07, 2015

Kids Workshop: Beat-BoxFebruary - 21, 2015

Kids Workshop: Music and Movement - March 07, 2015

Kids Performance: The Blue Marble - March 21, 2015

Kids Performance: Adventures of Seucy and Boto – Episode 2April 04, 2015




For more info on La MaMa Kids: CLICK HERE



5 Questions: Paul Zimet


Paul Zimet, founding member of The Talking Band, took time out of rehearsals to answer our 6 Questions about the the beginnings of the now 40 year-old group, how their work has grown over the years and what audiences should expect from the epic production of The Golden Toad which opens Friday at The Ellen Stewart Theatre!

1. What was the original inspiration for THE GOLDEN TOAD

I had been re-reading all of Dostoevsky’s novels. The Russian literary critic, Bahktin, said the thing that was unique about Dostoevsky’s characters was that they were “unfinalized”. They were were fluid, always changing. He said that couldn’t be done in theater. Ellen Maddow and I took that as a challenge to write an episodic theater piece, which follows the same group of characters over time and shifting circumstances. Their identities are never fixed.

2. What should audiences expect at THE GOLDEN TOAD

Four different sets/worlds which the audience will travel through (a back yard of a Brooklyn Townhouse, a tour bus moving through the New Jersey Meadowlands, a pop- up clothing store, and a Karaoke Bar); constantly surprising characters; cliff-hangers; great songs and music by Ellen Maddow and Elizabeth Swados; wonderfully expressive puppets by Eric Wright and the Puppet Kitchen; striking design by Anna Kiraly (sets and video), Lenore Doxsee (lights) and Kiki Smith (costumes); and an amazing ensemble –most of whom have been developing this work for two years- Michael Evans, James Tigger! Ferguson, Helen Gutowski, Melanie Herrera, Mikeah Ernest Jennings, Marija Kovacevic, John Kruth, Ellen Maddow, Nicolas NoreƱa, Dara Orland, Tina Shepard, and Georgia Stettner.

3. Talking Band turns 40 this year! How did the group form?

Ellen Maddow, Tina Shepard and I were all member of The Open Theater directed by Joseph Chaikin. The company was one of the first to collectively create new works. When The Open Theater disbanded in 1973 we wanted to continue and expand the research we had started with the Open Theater and continue to make new works, so we formed Talking Band.

4. How have Talking Band shows changed over the years? 

At the beginning our explorations were mainly about how to bring the same vitality and immediacy to the performance of language as we had brought to physical images and movement in The Open Theater. We started out performing poetry, and plays by poets. Music and the musicality of language was always central to our work. Our first production was The Kalevala, based on a Finnish epic poem. Composer Elizabeth Swados wrote the music. The staging was very spare. Our focus was on the musical telling of a story. In subsequent years, we have incorporated more and more theatrical elements – choreography, design, video. We have been fortunate to work with many extraordinary designers: in addition to the ones we are working with on The Golden Toad the list includes: Julie Taymor, Theodora Skipitares, Machine Dazzle, Carol Mullins, Nic Ularu, Ralph Lee, Christine Jones, Beverly Emmons, Gabriel Berry and many others.

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

La MaMa has been Talking Band’s artistic home since 1981. We’ve produced more than twenty original works at La MaMa. Ellen Stewart nurtured the company, stretched out artistic vision, inspired us. Now, as always, when we work at La MaMa we feel that we are part of creative family which includes the many artists who work here and the La MaMa staff who work with such dedication, understanding, and love to support the work.




La MaMa presents

THE 


GOLDEN 



TOAD


by The Talking Band


January 23 - February 07, 2015


The Ellen Stewart Theatre
66 East 4th Street
(between Bowery and Second Avenue)
New York, NY 10003

Tickets: $25 Adults; $20 Students/Seniors; ten tickets priced at $10 are available for every performance, in advance only, via web, phone or at the box office - not available day of show.

Because of the configuration of the theater for The Golden Toad, there is very limited ticket availability for every performance.  Advance purchase strongly suggested.


For Tickets and Info: CLICK HERE



Wednesday, January 21, 2015

6 QUESTIONS: Richard E. Waits & Paul Stancato

 Richard E. Waits (left) & Paul Stancato (right)

Richard E. Waits brings his solo-performance-art / experimental-play-with-music, MAMA ROSE to the Club at La MaMa, January 30 - February 8, 2015. The titular character is the author's mother, Rose Waits, "a woman from Buffalo who could have ruled the world... If they had let her."  Richard, and director Paul Stancato, graciously took the time to answer our 6 Questions. 

1. What are the joys and challenges of creating/directing an autobiographical piece like this?

Richard: The joys are really too many to list, but they include freedom of expression, having my voice be heard, creating a piece of art that will be here long after I'm gone. Also, the chance to work with Paul Stancato as a director. To me he is the real deal...he lives his art, he is the perfect director for MAMA ROSE in its expanding form. Paul is a drummer, musician, a dancer, a classically trained actor, a true performance-artist and a bit twisted. Anywhere the piece has to go, he has it covered. He's fearless!

Having Sheryl Lee Ralph as my co-producer, my muse, having her already established legacy as an actor, activist and humanitarian connected to mine, and to La MaMa, can't be a coincidence. It has to be fate. Strong women, women holding their children up up up, telling them, teaching them simple affirmations like: you do matter, you are not alone, you can breath, you are accountable to yourself, accountable to your tribe, accountable to your world. For you are Divinely Inspired Victoriously Aware. You are D.I.V.A..

Most challenging, for me, is the producing aspect of presenting a solo show. OY! I want to only think like an artist, but this forces me to think as a business person as well. In the long run this is great for me. I strongly believe every artist needs to have a business sense. I'm grateful to my college program at Buffalo State because we had to work in every department of the theatre. This gave me a solid foundation. But it does spread me thin.

In the creation process, I have found my character, Mama Rose, to be so strong that she sometimes takes the process over. I have had many fights - yes fights - with her while in my creative zone. The fights happened very early in the process when everything was very literal. Now that we've expanded the stories, and they have a life of their own, we've made peace.

Paul: One of the joys for me is working with Richard and watching him create this character based on his mom. And I use the term 'based' loosely, because with Richard, you never really know what was real and what was fable. It's all very entertaining.

2. How would you describe this production's aesthetic?

Paul: I would say it's a play with music.

Richard: Brechtian! Stark, moody, joyous in the black.

3. What makes this an experimental play? How are you, personally, experimenting as an artist in this production?

Richard: I love this question. For this piece I'm using several of my favorite theatrical devices, or styles, or whatever you want to call it: Brechtian theatre, dark comedy, vaudeville, theatre of the absurd, song and dance, storytelling and improvisation.

Paul: What I love about this piece is how the main character, Mama Rose, keeps checking in with the audience throughout. Almost like a mother would with her family if she hasn't seen them in a while. 'How are you, Dion?' 'Are you eating good?' 'You look too skinny.' I think we all have that person in our family.

4. What do you hope the audience comes away from your show with?

Richard: I want them to know everybody has a Mama Rose, for we (the collective we) are a product of our people. We are more alike than different. I need to be reminded of this on a daily basis.

Paul: We all have a Mama Rose. And how does this mama compare to yours?

5. Have you been using any particular plays/performances/movies/images etc. as inspiration while working on this show?

Richard: Nothing in particular. There are glimpses of images, types, words in my mind's eye. For example; Black and white films and photography, a Bette Midler Concert from the 1980's called Art or Bust, a Mr. Bojangles type of image that seems to be on my shoulder watching over me, Redd Foxx, Rodney Dangerfield, La Wanda Page (ooo I love a good cuss word), John Waters, Jules Fisher, Whoopi Goldberg, Peggy Eisenhauer, Tom Pye, Bob Fosse, George C. Wolfe - Curmudgeonly, salt of the earth, working class people, and realness.

Paul: We've been sharing a lot of our own family stories with each other. That has not only helped Richard find nuance in his character, but also really brought us together to form a great bond of trust. Richard has some really great stories.

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

Paul: For me, La MaMa has always represented a tradition of downtown theater. I was a Blue Man and used to hear great stories about when Blue Man used to perform there. I remember, years ago, I would walk by La MaMa and say to myself, someday I will play this house. So to have this opportunity is like a boyhood dream come true.

Richard: You don't know how proud I am to be able to be a part of this legacy. This run at La MaMa has far reaching implications of happiness, acceptance and self worth.
____________________________________________________________________________


La MaMa presents:

MAMA ROSE

January 30 - February 8, 2015 

Fridays & Saturdays at 10pm / Sundays 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.

For Tickets and Info: CLICK HERE

Monday, January 19, 2015

Coffeehouse Chronicles #122: Yara Arts Group


Founded in 1990, Yara Arts Group, a resident company at La MaMa, is a collective of artists of Asian, African, Latino, Eastern and Western European ancestry , who come together to create original work on Eastern themes. Using a collaborative approach, Yara Arts brings together fragments of plays, poems, songs, myths and historical sources to create original work that is reflective of culture they explore.


The 122nd  edition of Coffeehouse Chronicles (curated by Michal Gamily) will focus on Yara Arts Group with live performances and videos from past Yara Arts Group shows.

Moderated by Svitlana Matviyenko, panelists include: Virlana Tkacz , Watoku Ueno and Wanda Phipps. And performances by Meredith Wright, Marina Celander, Shigeko Suga and projections by Volodymyr Klyuzko.  And perhaps a sneak preview of their upcoming production of Dark Nights, Bright Stars.

La MaMa presents 
COFFEEGOUSE 
CHRONICLES #122: 
YARA ARTS GROUP

Saturday, January 31st at 3pm

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

This is a free event; donations accepted when we pass the hat in the La MaMa tradition.

For Free Reservations and more info: CLICK HERE



Friday, January 16, 2015

6 Questions: Director Elyse Singer


Elyse Singer is directing the world premiere of Trav S. D.'s HORSEPLAY: or, the Fickle Mistress, which begins performances on February 13 at The Ellen Stewart Theater.  Elyse took time out from rehearsals to answer our 6 Questions:

1. How did you get involved in HORSEPLAY: or, the Fickle Mistress?
I have known Trav S.D. since the mid-90s, and Tim Cusack almost that long. In 2011, they asked me to direct a reading at ART/NY of the first draft of the Horseplay as part of Theatre Askew's Drafting Table series, and we've continued collaborating on the play's development since then.

2. Did you know much about Adah Isaacs Menken prior to working on HORSEPLAY?
Very little! I had first heard the name "Mazeppa" in reference to the burlesque stripper in Gypsy ("You Gotta Have a Gimmick"), and had read snippets about Menken in my studies of women in nineteenth-century American popular performance, but otherwise knew almost nothing about her. I've devised plays previously about Courtney Love, Mae West, Hedy Lamarr, and Eva Tanguay...but they really owe it all to Menken.

3. How would you describe the tone/style of HORSEPLAY?
Lately, I'm calling it a "comedy-spectacle." It's very much informed by ridiculosity and the spirit of Charles Ludlam, broadly funny and aware of its place in the universe of high art and mass culture, especially the tradition of bio-pics. Horseplay wants to be a musical like Funny Girl, but it's not allowed to be, and that's a source of comic tension. We have the most extraordinary ensemble of comedic actors.

4. Who has inspired your work as a director?
When I was just starting out as a director, I saw a play called Femme Fatale in Edinburgh by a British writer-director-performer named Debbie Isitt and her company, the Snarling Beasties. The piece just punched me in the gut in the ways that it mixed heightened language, sexuality and comedy. It was so smart and sexy and physical...I had the pleasure of directing a reading of it with Jefferson Mays as one of my first directing projects. I'm inspired also by the work of Elizabeth LeCompte and Emily Mann. I'm ever-fascinated by the effects of technology on human communication and emotional connection, and enjoy exploring this idea both on the sci-fi-ish and the burlesque ends of the spectrum.

5. What was the last good book you read?
My bookshelf is filled with some amazing books related to this project -- nineteenth-century spectacle-extravaganzas, the development of American popular culture and music, the origins of photography and moving pictures, gender theory, queer theory, farce, Byron, melodrama, scenography, animal studies, history of striptease... Oh, fiction? I'm still working on Jonathan Lethem's Dissident Gardens, which is set in my neighborhood! Hope to finish it soon.

6. What does working at La MaMa mean to you?
This is my first time directing in the Ellen Stewart Theatre, and it's a great honor. I last worked here as the stage manager for Lee Nagrin's Dragon's Nest, which was such a formative experience. It's also the ideal venue for Horseplay as the space is so integral to the history of popular theatre in the United States. We're excited to bring equestrian spectacle back to the neighborhood!


---


La MaMa presents
HORSEPLAY: 
or, The Fickle Mistress, 
A Protean Picaresque
by Trav S.D.
directed by Elyse Singer

February 13 - March 1, 2015

The Ellen Stewart Theatre
66 East 4th Street
(between Bowery and Second Avenue)
New York, NY 10003

Tickets: $18 Adults; $13 Students/Seniors; ten tickets priced at $10 each are available, in advance only, for every performance - first come, first served

For Tickets & Info: Click Here