Bard SummerScape 2017 Presents World Premiere of A PINK CHAIR (IN PLACE OF A FAKE ANTIQUE), The Wooster Group’s Homage to Polish Artist and Director Tadeusz Kantor
“Nobody beats The Wooster Group at the top of its game.” – New York Times
Mark PrimoffANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, NY: This summer, the Bard SummerScape festival presents the world premiere of a new theater production from The Wooster Group, the internationally recognized Obie and Bessie Award-winning experimental theater company. Titled A PINK CHAIR (IN PLACE OF A FAKE ANTIQUE), the new work is an homage to the late visionary Polish artist and director Tadeusz Kantor, whose daughter, Dorota Krakowska, serves as A PINK CHAIR’s dramaturge. The piece is directed by company founding member Elizabeth LeCompte, whose string of honors includes the 2016 Dorothy & Lillian Gish Prize, a MacArthur Fellowship, and a National Endowment for the Arts Lifetime Achievement Award. A PINK CHAIR will be performed by Wooster Group company members and associates including Kate Valk, Ari Fliakos, Suzzy Roche, Jim Fletcher and Zbigniew Bzymek, in ten performances between July 13 and 23 in the LUMA Theater of the Frank Gehry-designed Fisher Center on Bard’s glorious Hudson Valley campus. As New York Arts declares: “Bard summer drama has been consistently of the highest order.”
As in previous seasons, SummerScape follows the theme of the Bard Music Festival, which this year explores “Fryderyk Chopin and His World.” Like Chopin, Tadeusz Kantor (1915–90) was one of Poland’s trailblazing visionaries. The stage director, set designer, creator of happenings, writer, and artist behind such revolutionary theatrical works as The Dead Class (1975) and Wielopole Wielopole (1980), Kantor was an iconic postwar artist whose influence continues to resonate. When productions by Kantor’s legendary company Cricot 2 traveled to New York City in the ’80s & early ’90s, they created a sensation and excited a community of auteur directors working across artistic disciplines.
Drawing inspiration from European Expressionism, Dadaism, Russian constructivism and the Bauhaus – as well as from American avant-garde movements such as happenings – Kantor became best-known in the West for his “Theater of Death”: a series of surrealistic works in which, in the shadow of Poland’s experience of war and totalitarianism, he sought to create what he called “a bridge between the audience and the kingdom of death.” In 1985, he explained:
“The dead are strangers who fascinate us, who invade our sphere when we least expect it. In everyday life, when we speak to one another, enter into biological contact with each other, we are hardly conscious of what man is. We reach this awareness at the sight of a corpse. There’s something eloquent about a dead man’s silence and stillness.''
“There are no heroes in my plays. I prefer to show the detritus of civilization, to express the ultimate by means of the poorest discarded objects, of people and things deprived of status and dignity. I don’t attempt to re-create a historical period, or translate so-called reality. We are never a single entity, although we’d like to think we are. I am the child I was and now this 70-year-old man. I am also the books I read and the family and friends I cannot forget. I am one and many.”
Kantor conceived of theater as a total artwork that “embraces and comprehends all modern art and its ideas, themes, and conflicts.” Indeed, describing him as “a theater conceptualist – director, playwright, painter, scenic designer and theoretician,” the New York Times concluded:
“This creative interrelationship of artistic disciplines within a single individual may help explain the spellbinding impact of [his work]. … He is a sorcerer entreating us to enter his subconscious.”
Click here to see Kantor and Cricot 2 in an excerpt from his Wielopole Wielopole.
Known for the creation and production of original multimedia works for theater, The Wooster Group is “one of the country’s foremost and most storied experimental theater groups” (Daily Beast). Under Elizabeth LeCompte’s direction, the New York-based company has worked, since 1975, as a consistent, full-time ensemble of performers and technical artists. According to the New York Times:
“Throughout its almost 40, unceasingly fertile years of existence, this genre-bending troupe has taken theatergoers through twisting labyrinths of productions, in which reality and its representations are splintered by technology and irony.”
A PINK CHAIR (IN PLACE OF A FAKE ANTIQUE) was co-commissioned by Poland’s Adam Mickiewicz Institute as part of its international program celebrating the 100th anniversary of Kantor’s birth. The Wooster Group was chosen for this prestigious project because of the Group’s international reputation and the Institute’s appreciation of its work.
In A PINK CHAIR, The Wooster Group pays homage to Kantor’s work through an exploration of ecstasy, despair, and memory: themes that recur throughout his oeuvre. Weaving together live performance, music, and video with material from Kantor’s archives, the new piece takes the form of a conversation among the company, Kantor’s ghost, and his daughter, Dorota Krakowska, who is collaborating with The Wooster Group on this piece. Through her personal commentary, documentary footage of Kantor’s productions and rehearsals – focusing on his penultimate piece I Shall Never Return (1988) – and a sound score that includes the music of Chopin, The Wooster Group has created a new work that integrates Kantor’s vision with its own.
The full ensemble for Bard’s world premiere presentation of A PINK CHAIR comprises Zbigniew Bzymek, Enver Chakartash, Matthew Dipple, Eric Dyer, Jim Fletcher, Ari Fliakos, Gareth Hobbs, Bona Lee, Erin Mullin, Suzzy Roche, Ryan Seelig, Eric Sluyter, Jennifer Tipton, Danusia Trevino, Kate Valk, Robert Wuss, and Omar Zubair. For high-resolution rehearsal photos, click here.
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Bard’s theatrical track record is a stellar one. Of last season’s world premiere production of Demolishing Everything with Amazing Speed – four long-lost Futurist puppet plays, as unearthed and reimagined by Dan Hurlin – the Village Voice declared:
“Hurlin isn’t simply reviving century-old plays – he’s showing us the mechanisms by which we let the past century happen. … The violence is so presciently modern that Bard’s director of theater programs, Gideon Lester, made a curtain speech acknowledging its awful echoes in the news. As I stumbled out, my own eyes spinning, I realized he had barely prepared us.”
Theater at Bard SummerScape 2017
The Wooster Group:
A PINK CHAIR (IN PLACE OF A FAKE ANTIQUE)
Directed and designed by: Elizabeth LeCompte
Performers: Zbigniew Bzymek, Enver Chakartash, Jim Fletcher, Ari Fliakos, Gareth Hobbs, Erin Mullin, Suzzy Roche, Danusia Trevino, and Kate Valk
Dramaturge: Dorota Krakowska
Set: Eric Dyer
Lighting: Jennifer Tipton and Ryan Seelig
Sound and Original Music: Eric Sluyter, Omar Zubair
Musical Director: Gareth Hobbs
Video and Projections: Robert Wuss
Additional Video: Zbigniew Bzymek
Costumes: Enver Chakartash
Assistant Director: Matthew Dipple
Stage Manager: Erin Mullin
Scene Shop: Joseph Silovsky Studios
Production Manager: Bona Lee
LUMA Theater, Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts
Thursday, July 13 at 7:30pm
Friday, July 14 at 7:30pm
Saturday, July 15 at 7:30pm*
Sunday, July 16 at 2pm*
Wednesday, July 19 at 2pm
Thursday, July 20 at 7:30pm
Friday, July 21 at 7:30pm
Saturday, July 22 at 2pm
Saturday, July 22 at 7:30pm
Sunday, July 23 at 2pm*
The production was co-commissioned by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, Poland, as part of a program celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Tadeusz Kantor.
SummerScape 2017: other key performance dates by genre
Bard Music Festival, Weekend One: “Chopin, the Piano, and Musical Culture of the 19th Century” (Aug 11–13)
Bard Music Festival, Weekend Two: “Originality and Influence” (Aug 18–20)
Antonín Dvořák: Dimitrij
July 28 & August 4 at 7:30 pm
July 30*, August 2 & August 6* at 2 pm
Tickets start at $25
New York City Ballet MOVES: Robbins’s Dances at a Gathering and other works by Balanchine and Peck
June 30; July 1 & 2* at 7:30 pm
July 2 at 2 pm
Tickets start at $25
“Chopin and the Image of Romanticism”
Ottaway Film Center
Thursdays and Sundays, July 27–Aug 20
Live Music, Cabaret, Festival Dining, and After Hours salon
Dates, times, and prices vary
Bard SummerScape ticket information
Tickets for all Bard SummerScape events are now on sale. For tickets and further information on all SummerScape events, call the Fisher Center box office at 845-758-7900 or visit fishercenter.bard.edu/summerscape.
SummerScape opera, theater, and dance performances and most Bard Music Festival programs are held in the Sosnoff Theater or LUMA Theater in Bard’s Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, designed by Frank Gehry and celebrated since its opening as a major architectural landmark in the region. Some chamber programs and other BMF events are in Olin Hall, and the Spiegeltent has its own schedule of events, in addition to serving as a restaurant, café, and bar before and after performances. Film Series screenings are at the Jim Ottaway Jr. Film Center in the Milton and Sally Avery Arts Center.
New York City Round-Trip Coach Transportation:
To make a reservation on the round-trip SummerScape coach provided exclusively to ticket holders for specific performances indicated by * in the listings above, call the box office at 845-758-7900 or select this option when purchasing tickets. The round-trip fare is $40 and reservations are required. The coach departs from behind Lincoln Center, on Amsterdam Avenue between 64th and 65th Streets. Find additional details at: fishercenter.bard.edu/transportation.
All programs are subject to change.
The 2017 SummerScape season is made possible in part through the generous support of Jeanne Donovan Fisher, the Martin and Toni Sosnoff Foundation, the Board of The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College, the Board of the Bard Music Festival, and Fisher Center members, as well as grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
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This event was last updated on 05-15-2017