Mikhail Baryshnikov and Willem Dafoe to Star in THE OLD WOMAN at BAM, 6/22-29
Oscar-nominated actor and founding Wooster Group member Willem Dafoe and legendary performer Mikhail Baryshnikov are a dapperly dressed odd couple, forced to deal with the most inconsiderate of corpses in this surreal melding of absurdism, pitch- black comedy, and vaudeville from iconic director Robert Wilson, THE OLD WOMAN.
With direction, set design, and lighting concept by Robert Wilson, written by Daniil Kharms and adapted by Darryl Pinckney, the production features music by Hal Willner, costumes by Jacques Reynaud, lighting design by A.J. Weissbard, associate set design by Annick Lavalle?e-Benny, and sound design by Marco Olivieri. The show runs in the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House (30 Lafayette Ave) on Jun 22 at 7pm, Jun 24-28 at 7:30pm, Jun 28 at 2pm and Jun 29 at 3pm (tickets start at $25).
The Old Woman is based on the novella of the same name by Russian author Daniil Kharms, a master of Beckettian absurdity who died tragically at age 36 in 1942. In Kharms' original work, the titular old woman is found dead with no explanation in a struggling writer's apartment. After he puts her in a suitcase and takes her on a train journey, the story ends, equally inexplicably, with the suitcase's disappearance. Wilson's The Old Woman, adapted by Darryl Pinckney, incorporates visual elements of the novella-a stylized oversize suitcase, railway tracks, a clock-while also melding elements of some of Kharms' other short stories and deploying Baryshnikov and Dafoe to represent two sides of the writer's corkscrewed mind. The result is a production that brings the recently rediscovered Kharms' warped, disorienting world to life with "dazzling exactitude" (The New York Times).
Robert Wilson's longstanding relationship with BAM goes back to the 1969 premiere production of The Life and Times of Sigmund Freud, and includes his collaboration with Philip Glass for the epic Einstein on the Beach (1984, 1992, and 2012 Next Wave). In addition to his collaborations with Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan (Woyzeck, 2002 Next Wave) and Waits and William Burroughs (Black Rider, 1993 Next Wave), Wilson also has created works in partnership with Lou Reed, including Time Rocker (1997 Next Wave) and POEtry (2001 Next Wave). The Temptation of St. Anthony (2004 Next Wave) featured a collaboration with Sweet Honey in the Rock founder Bernice Johnson Reagon. Wilson was recently at BAM with Quartett (2009 Next Wave), Heiner Mu?ller's adaptation of Choderlos de Laclos' Les Liaisons Dangereuses, featuring Isabelle Huppert; Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's The Threepenny Opera performed by the Berliner Ensemble (2011 Next Wave); and Einstein on the Beach (2012 Next Wave).
A native of Riga, Latvia, Mikhail Baryshnikov became principal dancer of the Kirov Ballet in 1969. In 1974, he left the Soviet Union to dance with major ballet companies around the world including New York City Ballet, where he worked with George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins. In 1980 he began a 10-year tenure as artistic director of American Ballet Theatre, nurturing a new generation of dancers and choreographers. From 1990 to 2002, Baryshnikov was director and principal dancer with the White Oak Dance Project, co- founded with choreographer Mark Morris and born of his desire to expand the repertoire and visibility of American modern dance. As an actor he has performed widely on- and off- Broadway as well as in television and film, receiving a Tony Award nomination and a Drama Desk Award for Metamorphosis and an Academy Award nomination for The Turning Point. In 2005, he opened the Baryshnikov Arts Center (BAC) in New York, a creative home for local, national, and international artists. Baryshnikov's many awards include the Kennedy Center Honors, the National Medal of Honor, the Commonwealth Award, the Chubb Fellowship, the Jerome Robbins Award, and the 2012 Vilcek Prize. In 2010 he was named Officier de l'ordre des arts et des lettres by the French government.
Willem Dafoe has performed in over 80 films since his feature role debut in Kathryn Bigelow's The Loveless, working with such directors as Wes Anderson, Giada Colagrande, David Cronenberg, Abel Ferrara, William Friedkin, Werner Herzog, Spike Lee, David Lynch, Julian Schnabel, Paul Schrader, Martin Scorsese, Oliver Stone, and Lars von Trier. He was nominated twice for an Academy Award, for Stone's Platoon and E. Elias Merhige's Shadow of the Vampire. Among other nominations and awards, he has received an LA Film Critics award and an Independent Spirit award. Current and upcoming films include Anderson's Grand Budapest Hotel, Anton Corbijn's A Most Wanted Man, von Trier's Nymphomaniac, Scott Cooper's Out of the Furnace, and Chris Brinker's Bad Country, Josh Boone's The Fault in Our Stars, and David Leitch's John Wick. Dafoe is one of the original members of the Wooster Group, the New York based experimental theater collective, and has created and performed in all of the group's works from 1977 to 2005, both in the US and internationally. Since 2005, he has worked with director Richard Foreman in Idiot Savant and with Robert Wilson in The Life & Death of Marina Abramovic.
The Old Woman is a project of Baryshnikov Productions, Change Performing Arts, and The Watermill Center. Commissioned and produced by Manchester International Festival, Spoleto Festival dei 2Mondi, Theatre de la Ville-Paris/Festival d'Automne a? Paris and deSingel, Antwerp.
BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, BAM Rose Cinemas, and BAMcafe? are located in the Peter Jay Sharp building at 30 Lafayette Avenue (between St Felix Street and Ashland Place) in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn. BAM Harvey Theater is located two blocks from the main building at 651 Fulton Street (between Ashland and Rockwell Places). Both locations house Greenlight Bookstore at BAM kiosks. BAM Fisher, located at 321 Ashland Place, is the newest addition to the BAM campus and houses the Judith and Alan Fishman Space and Rita K. Hillman Studio. BAM Rose Cinemas is Brooklyn's only movie house dedicated to first-run independent and foreign film and repertory programming. BAMcafe, operated by Great Performances, offers a bar menu and dinner entre?es prior to BAM Howard Gilman Opera House evening performances. BAMcafe? also features an eclectic mix of spoken word and live music for BAMcafe Live on Friday and Saturday nights with a bar menu available starting at 6pm.
Subway: 2, 3, 4, 5, Q, B to Atlantic Avenue - Barclays Center (2, 3, 4, 5 to Nevins St for Harvey Theater); D, N, R to Pacific Street; G to Fulton Street; C to Lafayette Avenue Train: Long Island Railroad to Atlantic Terminal - Barclays Center; Bus: B25, B26, B41, B45, B52, B63, B67 all stop within three blocks of BAM Car: Commercial parking lots are located adjacent to BAM.
For ticket information, call BAM Ticket Services at 718.636.4100, or visit BAM.org.