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Obie Awarding-Winning Playwright, Novelist, and Poet Carl Hancock Rux to Perform Stage Version of The Exalted at Bard Fisher Center

Rux to Give Reading at Bard on Thursday, October 15

Eleanor Davis

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—In an intimate performance, writer/performer Carl Hancock Rux and composer/musician Theo Bleckmann present The Exalted, the story of the last days of German-Jewish art historian Carl Einstein, one of the first critics to affirm the importance of African sculpture, thus influencing the development of Cubism and the European avant-garde. Directed by Anne Bogart ’74, The Exalted will be performed at the Fisher Center, Sosnoff Stage right, from Friday, October 16, and Saturday October 17, at 7:30 p.m. There will be post-performance talks with the artists. Tickets are $25; $10 for students. For tickets and program information go to or call the box office at 845-758-7900.

Through music, video, text and installation, Rux and Bleckmann re-imagine the atrocities of occupation, the ‘discovery’ of African art by the West, and Einstein’s dream-like encounter with a metaphysical Diorama, as a metaphor for survival and self preservation. The Exalted resurrects stories from the past in a mesmerizing narrative on the fight for freedom. Interwoven with reflections of the genocide of the Herero and Nama people in pre-WWI German-occupied Africa—the first genocide of the 20th century and a direct precursor to Hitler’s holocaust—The Exalted is a poetic meditation on heritage, love, and the willpower to overcome atrocity. 

Performed by Rux and Bleckmann, The Exalted was conceived and written by Rux, based on his novel of the same name, with music by Bleckmann, with video by Onome Ekeh, lighting design by Brian H. Scott, and scenic and costume design by Maureen Freedman. 

The Exalted was first presented at the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA in 2013. The work was further commissioned by the Brooklyn Academy of Music for its 2015 Next Wave Festival and developed in residence with Live Arts Bard at The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College, and the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia.

On Thursday, October 15, Rux will read from his novel, The Exalted. Rux is the author of the novel Asphalt, the OBIE Award–winning play Talk, and the Village Voice Literary Prize–winning collection of poetry, Pagan Operetta. His work crosses the disciplines of poetry, theater, music, and literary fiction in order to achieve what one critic describes as a “dizzying oral artistry ... unleashing a torrent of paper bag poetry and post modern Hip-Bop music; the ritualistic blues of self awakening.” Rux is the subject of the Voices of America television documentary Carl Hancock Rux, Coming of Age

Rux will be introduced by Bard’s director of theater programs Gideon Lester. The reading, which is presented by the Written Arts Program and the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, takes place at 7:30 p.m. in Weis Cinema in the Bertelsmann Campus Center. It is free and open to the public; no reservations are required. For more information, call 845-758-7054, e-mail,
or visit

Carl Hancock Rux is an award-winning poet, playwright, novelist, essayist, and recording artist. He is the former head of the MFA Writing for Performance Program at the California Institute of the Arts (2006–09) and has taught or been in residence at the University of California–San Diego, Stanford University, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Hollins University, the University of Iowa, and Brown University.

Rux is the author of the novel Asphalt; the Obie Award–winning play Talk; and a collection of poetry, Pagan Operetta, that led to his selection as one of the Village Voice Literary Supplement’s eight “Writers on the Verge” for 1998. He has worked as a writer and frequent guest performer in dance, collaborating with Marlies Yearby’s Movin’ Spirits Dance Theater, Urban Bush Women, Jane Comfort and Company, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and Martha Clark. Rux received a Bessie Award for his direction of the Lisa Jones–Alva Rogers dance musical Stained. Rux originated the title role in the folk opera production of The Temptation of St. Anthony, directed by Robert Wilson with book, libretto, and music by Bernice Johnson Reagon as part of the Ruhrtriennale festival in Duisburg, Germany. The opera made its American premiere at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival in October 2004 and had its official world premiere at the Paris Opera’s Palais Garnier. Rux’s The Blackamoor Angel, created with composer Deirdre Murray, was performed as part of Bard SummerScape. Rux appeared in the Foundry Theatre’s production How Much is Enough? in its three-week run at avant-garde performance space St. Ann’s Warehouse. He was the curator of the WeDaPeoples Cabaret, originally conceived by Sekou Sundiata and presented each September by Harlem Stage. Rux’s film credits include The Grand Inquisitor (as The One), directed by Tony Torn; Brooklyn Boheme (documentary) and Migrations, directed by Nelson George; and The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, a film About Gil Scott-Heron (documentary). Rux is the subject of an award-winning Voices of America television documentary, and was host and programming director of the WBAI radio show Live from The Nuyorican Poets Cafe, contributing correspondent for XM radio’s The Bob Edwards Show, and frequent guest host on WNYC’s Soundcheck. Rux cowrote and narrated the radio documentary Walt Whitman: Song of Myself, which received the New York Press Club Journalism Award for Entertainment News. Rux is the recipient of several awards, including the Herb Alpert Prize, NYFA Prize, NYFA Gregory Millard Fellowship, and NEA/TCG Theatre Residency Program for Playwrights. He is currently working on a new novel.

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October 5, 2015






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This event was last updated on 10-08-2015