BD Wong, John Guare and More Set for THE DAY BEFORE Tonight at Symphony Space
Symphony Space, in collaboration with Hermitage Artist Retreat, presents the world premiere of The Day Before, a one-time-only multimedia event, tonight, November 8 at 7:30 pm in the Leonard Nimoy Thalia. Conceived by the two organizations, it is produced and directed by Symphony Space's Artistic Director, Laura Kaminsky. The Day Before brings together more than 60 composers, writers, filmmakers, and visual artists to contribute original work around the theme November 21, 1963: The Day Before. Sparked by the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's assassination, this moving production reimagines the world as it was on the eve of that tragic and cataclysmic day.
Performers include actors BD Wong and Eisa Davis; soprano Megan Weston, bass-baritone Robert Osborne, and pianist Margaret Kampmeier. In addition, some of the writers, including playwright John Guare and poet Christopher Merrill, will perform their own work.
Each artist was asked to create an original piece, two to three minutes in length, that would reflect on life before the world was irrevocably changed on November 22. Some have collaborated: playwright Craig Lucas has provided the text for a song titled Ammunition by composerRobert Vuichard. Polaroid features music by Kaminsky, images by Rebecca Allan, and text by playwright Jacqueline Rheingold. Composer Eve Beglarian adapted a Eudora Welty text, while Phil Kline and Thomas Cabaniss drew on Kennedy's own words. Nathan Currierreached back to Greek mythology for his song, Agamemnon, Tomorrow?
Among the prose and poetry contributors, playwright Arthur Kopit imagines a reminiscence by the wife of Abraham Zapruder, who unwittingly documented the terrible moment. Christopher Merrill's poem sketches a culture of violence that starts with the war games of childhood. Several writers, such as Amy MacDonald, share personal memories of the time, while playwright Bruce E. Rodgers foreshadows a decade of struggle, threading the assassination together with the Vietnam War and the civil rights movement.
Kaminsky has fashioned these brief pieces into a freely narrative tapestry that glows, darkly, with historical, cultural, and personal memory. A complete list of artists appears below.
While the artists involved in The Day Before span a wide range of disciplines, they share a common experience: all have spent time working at Hermitage Artist Retreat in Englewood, Florida. Many are based in New York, but others come from various cities in the US and Canada, and one visual artist is participating from Antwerp, Belgium. Tickets for The Day Before are $32; $27 for members; and $20 for those under 30, with valid ID. To purchase, visit www.symphonyspace.org.
LIST OF ARTISTS: