La MaMa Blogs: 2019

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

6 Questions: Sin Cha Hong

Performer/Choreographer Sin Cha Hong took time out from preparing for her show MIRROR to answer our 6 Questions about her new show, Ellen Stewart and working at La MaMa.  MIRROR opens this Saturday, Mary 25th for two performances only at The Ellen Stewart Theatre.




La MaMa presents

Sin Cha Hong | Mirror

Choreographed, Directed & Performed by Sin Cha Hong

Part of the 2019 La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival

Saturday May 25 at 7pm and Sunday May 26 at 3pm 

Ellen Stewart Theatre
66 East 4th Street (2nd Floor)
New York, NY 10003

Tickets: Adults: $25; Student/Senior: $20  

For Tickets and Info: CLICK HERE

Monday, May 20, 2019

Linda LaBeija Interviews the La MaMa Squirts Curators


Each year, La MaMa’s Squirts gathers the most exciting voices from New York City’s queer performance world, across the generations. This year, three trans women artists with deep community roots will each craft a night of the festival, marking the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising.

Linda LaBeija of the House of LaBeija interviewed our three curators -- Cecilia Gentili, Charlene Incarnate and Mizz June -- about their artistic visions and the larger place of trans narratives in the cultural landscape.


Friday, May 31 at 7PM
Curated by Cecilia Gentili


Featuring: 
Julia Rose, Ash RT Yergens, Auset Bennu aka AB, Linda Labeija

Argentinian-American activist and actress Cecilia Gentili kicks things off with an evening of performance and storytelling by trans artists. Gentili learned about Stonewall under the Argentinian dictatorship of the 70s and 80s, and her curation is inspired by what she learned from U.S. LGBT culture during repressive times. 


Saturday, June 1 at 7PM
Curated by Mizz June


Featuring: 
Mizz June, Princess Sasha Fierce, and The Violence. 
Hosted by drag ally Banjela Davis, with a presentation by FIERCE! NYC and very special guest Miss Major Griffin-Gracy

Mizz June presents a night of hip-hop, R&B, punk rock, and PRIDE from established and up-and-coming trans women of color artists. Tonight, it's FEMMES FIRST. 


Sunday, June 2 at 7PM
Curated by Charlene Incarnate




Featuring: 

Remy Black, Image Object, Lucia Honey, and more

Charlene Incarnate curates an all-transgender and non-binary showtunes review. Timeless Broadway material from fraught moments in American history will be reinvigorated by the trans bodies performing today, under a neo-fascist regime in America. As an intergenerational link between queers and dreamers in NYC, musicals help our communities see where we’ve been and where we’re going. 


--


La MaMa presents


La MaMa's Squirts: 
Generations of Queer Performance


May 31 - June 2, 2019 

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

FREE ADMISSION
For Reservations and Info: CLICK HERE

Friday, May 17, 2019

6 Questions: Kailah King in The Floor is Lava



Actress Kailah King performs in The Floor is Lava, currently playing in The Downstairs at La MaMa through May 19, 2019. Kailah took time out from the production to answer our 6 Questions about the play, millennials and working at La MaMa. 


1) Who do you play in The Floor is Lava?

My name is Kailah S King and I play Kat in The Floor is Lava, and she is the sole female of the group.

2) What does it mean to be a millennial?

What it means to be a millennial is that we were born between 1980's to the mid 90's. We grew up with huge advancements in technology. We witnessed desktop computers, beepers and dial-up internet and saw the transition into cell phones and tablets and the rise of social media. Millennials understand technology in a way that Baby Boomers and Gen Z's don't. Milennials have definitely shaped the culture we live in now in a tremendous way. 

3) Do you think social media is good?

I think the intention behind social media is good. Social media allows us to connect with the outside world in a way we weren't 50 years ago. Platforms like Twitter and Instagram allow me to share my thoughts or ideas with someone on the other side of the world, or even someone from my past who I thought I'd never find again and receive a response immediately, whereas in the past, we'd have to send a letter in the mail and wait. In recent years, social media has taken a life of its own and now people shape who they want to be by what they see on social media, whether it be through fashion, political stances, culture or music.
 
4) What would be your hugely successful app?

My hugely successful app would be able to determine which movie or television show you are looking for and the actor/character that said it, only by a quote or a phrase. --- (a la Shazam) You know when the name of the movie or a show is on the tip of your tongue, and you can't for the life of you remember what it was, but that quote is burned into your brain, my app will take an algorithm of all the words used in the phrase and narrow down which Movie you are looking for.

5) What do you think your high school superlative would be today?

My high school superlative would be 'Most Adaptable' or 'Best Smile'... I didn't wear those braces for all those years for nothing lol

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

Working at La Mama means a great deal to me. Learning about the history of La Mama and their founder Ellen Stewart, I was moved by her ability to create this ongoing community of artists. She explored new ideas, and encouraged new ways of behavior, and allowed people the freedom of expression in a world that liked to shy away from the harsh reality. Being here in this space, I can feel my soul growing. 

_____





La MaMa presents

THE FLOOR 
IS LAVA

written by Alex Riad
directed by Glory Kadigan


May 09 - May 19, 2019 

Thursday - Saturday at 8pm; Sunday at 5pm

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

Tickets: $25 Adults; $20 Students/Seniors

For Tickets and Info: CLICK HERE



Tuesday, May 14, 2019

6 Questions: Playwright Alex Riad


Playwright Alex Riad's play The Floor is Lava is currently playing The Downstairs at La MaMa through May 19, 2019. Alex took time out from the production to answer our 6 Questions about the play, millennials and working at La MaMa. 

1. What inspired you to write The Floor is Lava?

As I'm sure many New Yorkers can relate, when you’re a transplant in this city there's this pressure to justify the move by being wildly successful. When ever I'm back home drinking with friends or catching up with family, everyone’s always asking me, "How are you doing?", which really means, "Are you successful and happy?" My answer has always seesawed somewhere between yes and I'm fucking drowning. When I wrote The Floor is Lava both happiness and success seemed especially far away. I felt stuck and like giving up, but I still had to go home and answer that damn question: "How are you doing?" It just felt easier to lie and pretend. Hold it all in. Put on a happy face. Friends won't notice as long as there's enough scotch at the bar. I started writing Lava to start trying to be honest. Explore what it's like to come home and hide amongst friends instead of actually connecting to them.

2. What does the voice of a millennial sound like?

I don’t really think of it like that. I never aim to capture a voice. I aim to capture an experience, tell stories unique to our generation, while constantly striving for authenticity. In order to capture that authenticity, I need to fill those plays with three dimensional millennial characters, which gets to the core of why I focus on writing about us. When I made this my mission, I never felt our stories were really being told seriously nor our characters portrayed with any real depth. Their is no unifying millennial voice, we’re all just people just like any other generation, but colored with our individual experiences and shared generational experiences. Maybe we say “like” more than other generations too.

3. Do you think social media is good?

I think like any world changing technology it’s got its positives and negatives. Even if I leaned more negative than positive, I still couldn’t live with out it because it’s so ingrained in our society. Plus my day job is in social media so if it wasn’t around, I wouldn’t have a pay check. The positives are the ways that it connects the world. I never feel too far away from anyone anymore because I can stay updated with all my friends’ lives and they can stay updated on mine. Now, there are obvious truly terrible negatives like social media’s influence in interfering in the last Presidential election and how social media is used around the world to spread some pretty terrible misinformation that can have violet consequences. However putting those two aside, I would say the biggest draw back to social media is the way we can present ourselves on these platforms; it can be pretty superficial. We put a version of ourselves online that may or may not be us, so people “like” us. It’s almost like we each have a brand on social media to maintain. I don’t know if it’s a good thing for people to be brands, makes our newly enhanced communication with one another less honest, which in a sense undermines these connections we’re creating and maintaining with social in the first place.

4. What does real connection look like for the millennial generation?

What I brought up in the previous question, isn’t a specifically millennial problem. Every generation on the internet uses social media as a facade in some degree; it’s not a uniquely millennial experience. What’s unique to millennials is that social media has been a part of our lives since we were teenagers and we’ve never experienced adulthood without it. To answer your question, I’m not going to say, let’s put down our phones and really talk to each other because that’s gonna make me sound like a real asshole and it’s just not practical. However, in the context of the play, I can answer that real connection question for the main character in Lava, Sean. It means stop putting up this fake person to cover up his struggles and actually tell his friends who he is and admit that he needs help. Though Sean may not use social media, he’s a walking selfie or Instagram story, telling the world he’s wildly successful and happy when in actuality his life is falling apart and he has no idea what he’s doing. To admit that and be honest about his problems, is the only way out and the only way his friends can really be there for him. However, that would mean sacrificing an image he’s spent his whole life trying to craft.

5. What has changed for the characters in the ten years preceding this play?
If I answered that I’d be ruining one of the twists in the play. Come see it to find out.

6. What does working at La MaMa mean to you?
It’s a total honor. I’m a huge theatre history enthusiast and LaMama is one of the most important institutions in Indie Theatre history. At LaMama you can feel the history in every room: the textures, the artifacts in the archives, even the smells (which I know sounds weird). I’ve only ever done Indie Theatre in NYC and to be having my work done at one of the theaters that started that movement is unreal. Plus, I heard from my director that this play will now join the LaMama archives along side some really cool playwrights, so it’s almost as if I’m joining Indie Theatre history too.


_____





La MaMa presents

THE FLOOR 
IS LAVA

written by Alex Riad
directed by Glory Kadigan


May 09 - May 19, 2019 

Thursday - Saturday at 8pm; Sunday at 5pm

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

Tickets: $25 Adults; $20 Students/Seniors

For Tickets and Info: CLICK HERE









Monday, May 13, 2019

6 Questions: Director Glory Kadigan

Photo by Michael Schwartz

Glory Kadigan, who was last at La MaMa in 2016, directing Eric Ehn's CLOVER has returned to direct Alex Raid's THE FLOOR IS LAVA, now playing in The Downstairs at La MaMa through May 19, 2019. We caught up with Glory to talk about the play, social media and working at La MaMa. 


1) What can audiences learn from The Floor is Lava?

In the play,  the lead character, Sean, has done an excellent job of making it seem like he has "the perfect" life.  As the play moves forward, the chips in that facade become more visible. I've always been interested in the journey of this character from who he presents himself to be, to who he really is.
In real life there are many people "presenting" themselves as happy - people whose lives seem way better than our own like Robin Williams, Anthony Bordain, Kate Spade, Heath Ledger to name a few. How we perceive others and whether or not we can find it in ourselves to look deeper than the surface is part of what The Floor Is Lava is about to me. The play reminds the audience that everything can shift at any moment. The past is not permanent. The past is not the future.


2) What does it mean to be a millennial? 

I'm not sure how to define something as broad as that but I will say that when people are in their 20's they sometimes suffer from thinking they are unique or special in some way. Like the Snowflake Test - this was a test designed to determine during the hiring process if an individual was too fragile to work at a company, based off of their own belief in themselves as "special". The belief that you are "special" is eventually challenged and it becomes clear that really none of us are all that special. At that point some people have breakdowns and can no longer function. So perhaps during the parenting  process, we shouldn't tell our children that they're all special and that they can achieve everything. Not everyone is special and not everyone can achieve everything. Except for me, I mean, look at me - clearly I rock!  (Spoken like a true millennial.)



3) Do you think social media is good?


Yes and no. When you think about famous people who have had meltdowns which are permanently documented for the rest of their lives on social media - I'd say "no it isn't so good".  Having the worst side of yourself permanently "etched in digital stone", doesn't leave anyone the ability to grow or change. 
On the positive side, I've reconnected with people via social media that I haven't heard from in years.  And social media is good for sharing photos with your friends when important life events happen like weddings, graduations and then of course there's marketing your show. We do a lot of marketing for this production on social media. 
But then again, people are also marketing an image of themselves and frequently that image isn't real. So like most  human inventions there are plusses and minuses. 


4) How does this play confront the passage of time?

The play moves in real time.  However, a large portion of the play happened in the past and is discussed during the play. In the rehearsal room, we spent a copious amount of time talking about what high school was like for these characters versus who they are in present day.  I even asked John DiMino, the actor playing Sean, to write his Valedictorian speech and deliver it to the other actors. It was a pretty funny speech which included a quote from Buzz Lightyear.  We also did several improvisations in the rehearsal room with the actors playing Kat and Sean.  I knew early on that my interpretation would include a strong connection between these two characters with high stakes; higher than either character realizes.


5) What does real connection look like for the millennial generation?

To be truly connected, we would need to genuinely see the value of every person around us. We would need to appreciate what each individual brings to the table, regardless of race, gender, sexuality or financial status. We're not really there yet as a generation. But it's good to have hope and to continue to work towards a connection. So.....I'm hopeful.




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


Every day I'm grateful for the La Mama community and for their support.  Thank you Mia, Frank, David, Nicky, John, Amy, Ryan, Kiku, Ozzie, Cathy, Luis, Mary, Denise, Mark, Bev, Billy, Mattie, the other Mary, Chris, Juan, Matt, Andrea and everyone else who helps make this place special for so many artists around the world. For me La Mama is about the people who create and present there. It is and always has been a place where artists from around the world can come to explore creatively without worrying about "commercial success".  Ironically, many commercial successes have come out of La Mama. But, the pressure to be commercially succeed is not placed on the artist directly which allows us to enjoy the process and focus on the work. La Mama has always valued different cultures, genders and diverse voices and I'm honored to be one of those voices.  Thank you.
___




La MaMa presents

THE FLOOR 
IS LAVA

written by Alex Riad
directed by Glory Kadigan


May 09 - May 19, 2019 

Thursday - Saturday at 8pm; Sunday at 5pm

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

Tickets: $25 Adults; $20 Students/Seniors

For Tickets and Info: CLICK HERE

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Bobbi Jene Smith in T-Magazine!


The performer Marta Miller rehearses “Lost Mountain” at her farmhouse, Certain Bird, in Stamford, Vt.CreditMatthew Placek


From Bobbi Jene Smith, a Dance Work Like a Mountain
Since leaving Tel Aviv, where she was a principal with Batsheva Dance Company, in 2014, the Iowa-born Bobbi Jene Smith has been busy choreographing or appearing in one work after another. “With Care,” an elegiac follow-up to her solo “A Study on Effort,” debuted in the fall, and “Deo,” a dramatic staging of the myth of Demeter and Persephone, which Smith cocreated with Maxine Doyle for the Martha Graham Dance Company, premiered last month. But even as she embodies Graham’s definition of the artist as someone who just keeps marching, Smith isn’t much interested in straight, continuous lines. “It’s creation and destruction. You build up and then have to come down, or go down to come up,” she says of her process. Indeed, the symbol of the mountain has become something of a touchstone for her, one that’s directly informed her newest piece, “Lost Mountain,” which will open in New York at La MaMa the weekend of May 16.
In this case, the mountain is not just a metaphor for the artistic struggle but also for the search for meaning in life. To Smith’s mind, one way that meaning can be found is through moments of human connection. “I like the idea of people bumping into each other and, much like the tectonic forces that make the mountain itself, rising up to make something larger,” she says. She will perform the piece with an ensemble of 10 that includes the dancer-choreographer Marta Miller (“I’m pulling her out of retirement for this”); Or Schraiber, Smith’s husband; the violinist Keir GoGwilt; and the Israeli singer-songwriter Asaf Avidan. When we speak, Smith is hesitant to give away too many details but shares that the evening-length work consists of a series of cinematic vignettes, that all of the music will be live and that there will be little separation between art forms. Fittingly, the group is rehearsing at a farmhouse-turned-artist-retreat on a mountain in southern Vermont. Have there been any inspirational hikes, one wonders? “Hopefully next week. It’s been pretty cold,” says Smith. “And we have a lot of work to do.” “Lost Mountain” will open as part of La MaMa’s Moves! Dance Festival on May 16, at the Ellen Stewart Theatre, 66 East Fourth Street, New York, lamama.org — KATE GUADAGNINO
_____


La MaMa presents

Bobbi Jene Smith | Lost Mountain

Part for the 2019 La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival

May 16 - May 19, 2019
Thursday - Saturday at 7PM; Sunday at 3PM

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

Tickets: $25 Tickets; $20 Student/Senior Tickets [+$1 Facility Fee]

For Tickets and Info: CLICK HERE

Monday, May 6, 2019

Five La MaMa Alumni Receive Tony Nominations

Congratulations to all the 2019 Tony Nominees especially 
our La MaMa Alumni on Broadway!




Harvey Fierstein's Torch Song, which began its life at La MaMa as three one-act plays that eventually became the Torch Song Trilogy. Torch Song is nominated for Best Revival of a Play.  Harvey made his acting debut at La MaMa in 1971 in Andy Warhol's only play, Pork.  He went on to write and perform in many shows at La MaMa in the 1970s, 80s & 90s.




Heidi Schreck is nominated for both writing and staring in her play What The Constitution Means to Me, now playing at the Helen Hayes Theater. Heidi played the title role in Shaw's Major Barbara directed by Brooke O'Harra for her company The Theater of a Two-headed Calf  at La MaMa's Ellen Stewart Theatre in 2006.




Taylor Mac's play Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus is nominated for Best Play. Taylor has performed numerous times at La MaMa including Walk Across America for Mother Earth (with Talking Band) in 2011, The Foundry Theater's production of Good Person of Szechwan in 2013 and The Be(A)st of Taylor Mac in The Club at La MaMa in 2007.



David Neumann is nominated for Best Choreography for Hadestown on Broadway! Neumann most recently performed in the Jane Comfort: 40th Anniversary Retrospective in 2018. 



AndrĂ© De Shields is nominated for Supporting Actor in a Musical for his fierce performance in Hadestown. AndrĂ© began performing at La MaMa on the 1970s and appeared in such shows as Ken Rubenstein's Sacred Guard (1973), Lamar Alford's Thoughts (1974), Haarlem Nocturne (1984) and the Cotton Club Gala with music by Aaron Bell and directed by Ellen Stewart (1985). 


Congratulations again to these and all the nominees and good luck on June 9th!


Friday, May 3, 2019

OUTER STAGE talks to John Gutierrez and Glory Kadigan of The Floor is Lava


John Gutierrez and Glory Kadigan talk  to Outer-Stage about working together on Alex Riad's play The Floor is Lava, working at La MaMa and what's next for both of them.

Read the full piece on Outer-Stage: HERE

_____




La MaMa presents

THE FLOOR 
IS LAVA

written by Alex Riad
directed by Glory Kadigan


May 09 - May 19, 2019

Thursday - Saturday at 8pm; Sunday at 5pm

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

Tickets: $25 Adults; $20 Students/Seniors

For Tickets and Info: CLICK HERE

Friday, April 26, 2019

The New York Times Says: See GRUPPO NANOU at La MaMa

The 2019 La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival kicks off tonight with we want miles, in a silent way by Italy's Groupo Nanou - and The New York Times says it's one of the 10 dance performances to see this weekend.


You can read the full article: HERE

_____



La MaMa presents

we want miles, 
in a silent way

by Groupo Nanou

Part of the 2018 La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival

April 26 - April 28, 2019
Friday and Saturday at 8pm; Sunday at 3pm

The Downstairs at La MaMa
66 East 4th Street
(between Bowery and Second Avenue)
New York, NY 10003

Tickets: $25 Adults; $20 Students/Seniors

For Tickets and Info: CLICK HERE

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Nicky Paraiso in The New York Times



The New York Times' Gia Kourlas spoke to La MaMa's Nicky Paraiso about curating the La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival, his own recent show at La MaMa, now my hand is ready for my heart: intimate histories, and the idea of curating as "curing."


"Mr. Paraiso was — and remains — the festival’s curator. The word eclectic would be a kind way to describe his early programming, which, in keeping with the mission of La MaMa’s founder, Ellen Stewart, was to include artists from as many different disciplines as possible."

You can read the full article: HERE

The 2019 La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival begins this Friday, April 26, 2019, with Gruppo Nanou's we want miles, in a silent way

_____




La MaMa presents

The 2019 
La MaMa Moves! 
Dance Festival

curated by Nicky Paraiso


April 26 - May 26, 2019


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


Tickets: $25 Adults; $20 Students/Seniors

For more information about La MaMa Moves! and to buy tickets: CLICK HERE