What do we want theater to do? VENICE SAVED: A SEMINAR is a groundbreaking, gleefully irreverent discussion of this question in 21st century America. By asking "How would Weil's play be staged today?," it touches on a range of topics on the minds of artists and audiences in 2009: performance art, torture, gift bags, Blasted, outsourcing, anorexia, Israel, the TCG, Rachel Corrie, Blackwater, free beer, Iraq, the financial crisis, Barack Obama, and why TV, contemporary art, and and movies kick theater's ass every time. On the 100th anniversary of Simone Weil's birth, this unique interactive event takes her unfinished play and asks American Theater, "What were you possibly thinking?"
For VENICE SAVED: A SEMINAR, Levine has assembled a team of acclaimed performers (including Colleen Werthman, James Hannaham, and Jeff Biehl--complete casting will be announced in February) who will join the audience at the discussion table. Playwright Gordon Dahlquist has provided the discussion topics, which will be illustrated by fully staged scenes from Weil's play. With all the righteous indignation of Mike Daisey's HOW THEATER FAILED AMERICA, Levine and his crew invite the audience to reconsider theater's role in 21st century America.
Simone Weil (1909 - 1943) was a mid-century French philosopher and political theorist praised by T.S. Eliot as a "genius on the level of the Saints." She fought in the Spanish Civil War. She was also a Christian mystic. And an anorexic. And a Marxist. And a Jew who fled Paris with her family one day ahead of Hitler's armies. Like her compatriots Sartre and Camus, Weil wrote a play dramatizing the situation she, her countrymen, and indeed, the entire Western World faced during the second World War. The play was called Venise Sauvée, based on the same story Thomas Otway used for his tragedy, Venice Preserv'd. Venise Sauvée tells the story of a 17th century conspiracy to overthrow the Venetian Republic, Europe's only democracy, and deliver it into the hands of the Spanish Emperor. On the eve of the coup, one of the conspirators is seized with pity for the unsuspecting Venetians, and betrays his comrades to the Venetian authorities, who in turn betray him. The unfinished play about the ethics of democracy was discovered among Weil's papers after Weil's death in 1943. She died in exile in England, refusing to eat more than her countrymen were rationed in occupied France.
Best known for his 2007 performance project BAUERNTHEATER ("farmers theater"), in which an method actor played a German farmer on an open field, 10 hours a day, for a month. David Levine's work, which fuses performance, theater, and conceptual art, has been seen in Europe and the USA at Documenta XII, Galerie Magnus Muller (Berlin), Gavin Brown@Passerby (New York) and HAU2 (Berlin), as well as in Cabinet Magazine, The New York Times, ART/US, Bomb, Theater, Theater der Zeit, and the upcoming February 2009 issue of The Believer. He was awarded a 2007 Kulturstiftung Des Bundes grant for BAUERNTHEATER, the film of which has screened in New York, Berlin, Morocco, and Austria. He is the 2007 recipient of a NYFA Fellowship for Cross-Disciplinary/Performative work, and a 2008 recipient of the Etant donnés grant for VENICE SAVED: A SEMINAR. He has directed conventional theater at the Sundance Theater Lab, the Atlantic Theater, the Public, Primary Stages, and the Vineyard Theaters in New York, as well as more experimental work at Soho Rep, La MaMa, and Galapagos Artspace. He lives in New York and Berlin, where he is the Director of the Studio Program at the European College of Liberal Arts. He holds an MA in English Literature from Harvard University.
Part of P.S. 122's ongoing music-performance series "Schoolhouse Roxx"
Directed by Daniel Talbott and featuring Spencer Aste, Denis Butkus, and Chris Kipiniak. Assistant directed by Julie Kline and lighting by Brian Roff.
A politically charged adaptation of the Greek tragedy.
ELECTRA VOTES uses an old story to comment on the
current trends of politics, religion and democracy.
A shellshocked Orestes returns from war to avenge the murder of his father. When he reunites with his sister Electra, a radical radio broadcaster, they plot to kill their ruthless mother, Clytemnestra and her tyrant lover, Aegisthus.
Colette Searls brings these disposable creatures to FringeNYC for their New York premier.
A magical resurrection of trash! Discarded paper, plastic bags and wads of packing tape transform with lyrical beauty and hilarious physical comedy. A trio of silent humans, trapped in a sea of debris, discover how to morph their surroundings into passionate humanoid creatures. Newspapers start tap-dancing and tape-people struggle to seduce without sticking. Eclectic music rounds out this surreal awakening of the ordinary.
Basura! is a 40-minute play with no spoken words. This is puppetry for adults, but the material is suitable for all ages.
Four years, dozens of interviews, and hundreds of conversations later, THERE GOES THE NEIGHBORHOOD emerged – a one-woman show based on the words and views of the people of Carroll Gardens, who offer an insider's look at the phenomenon of gentrification in New York City.
In the play, a diverse array of residents – including an Italian deli owner, a Latina teenager, a gay yuppie activist, a hip-hop Deejay and an Asian nightclub owner – explain how a once Italian working-class community went from "crack to baguettes" in less than a decade.
The Mammy Project confronts the American stereotype of Mammy as a white man's fantasy, a black woman's history and a country's favorite product.
As performed by Michelle Matlock this project travels from the life and times of Nancy Green (the first woman hired to play the part of a mammy - Aunt Jemima), through the minstrel show era and silver-screen Mammies, to the present day world of television, movies and world-recognized talk show hostesses.
Directed by Amy Gordon
Original Music: Randy Wilson, Raja Azar, Jen Urban
Waking one morning to find fur growing on the backs of his hands, young Billy discovers the awful truth his mother has been hiding from him for 14 years. Cast from his home, he sets out on a journey to find his father, the legendary Gorilla Man. Combining influences as diverse as Tod Browning, Tom Sawyer, and T. Rex, Gorilla Man is a strikingly original new rock musical.
A darkly comic coming-of-age tale that explores issues of violence, identity, and free will against the backdrop of a warped American landscape.
Wily servant Truffaldino attempts to slake the demands of his insatiable stomach by secretly taking on two jobs with two separate masters. Twice the work means twice the food, right? But what Truffaldino doesn't know is that his masters - whom he must keep apart at all costs to succeed in his double-dealing plan - are actually looking for each other... Confusion abounds in this comedy of sex, deception, food, and drag in sunny cartoon Italy.