IMAGINING O, TATTOOED IN SNOW, APROPOS, ROCCO and More Set for Peak Performances' 2014-15 Season
Despite the welcoming size of its stage and its top technical offerings, nothing about the Alexander Kasser Theater at Montclair State University has been considered sacred since its opening ten years ago. Peak artists have moved inside, outside and about the theater with the greatest of ease, with only a single directive issued by Peak's Artistic Director Jedediah Wheeler: Challenge the minds and imaginations of audiences in unexpected ways.
The result: Peak Performances has proven that audiences can be in two places at the same time, as they were in Robert Whitman's spectacular 2011 "Passport;" that dances can be created for the cell phone, as they were in Susan Marshall's 2009 "Frame Dances;" that audiences can compose their own sounds and light, as was done in Christopher Janney's 2010 "Everywhere is the Best Seat;" that audiences' shoes can be instantly integrated into a dance, as they were in Robyn Orlin's 2011 "Walking next to our shoes...intoxicated by strawberries and cream, we enter continents without knocking..."
Richard Schechner, one of the great theatrical experimenters of the last half of the 20th century, opens the 2014/15 season on September 11 by taking Wheeler's mandate a step further, giving Kasser's glorious stage a minor role in the world premiere of "Imagining O." Rather than fully realizing its state of the art facilities, he has chosen to exploit its surrounding sites. And that is the tip of the iceberg.
Richard Schechner's "Imagining O" (September 11-13)
Scott Johnson's "Mind Out of Matter" (October 4-5)
Caroline Shaw's "Ritornello" (February 7)
Du Yun's "Tattooed in Snow" (February 8)
Robert Whitman's "Swim" (March 26-29)
Heidi Latsky's dance film (title to come) (April 16-19)
Bill T. Jones's "Analogy" (working title) (June 18-21)
Réka Szabó's "Apropos" (October 16-19)
Richard Alston's "Rejoice in the Lamb" and "Holderlin Fragments" (October 30-November 2)
Robyn Orlin's "At the same time we were pointing a finger at you, we realized we were pointing
three at ourselves..." (January 24-February 1)
Liz Lerman's "Healing Wars" (September 25-28)
Richard Alston's "Illuminations" (October 30-November 2)
Emio Greco | Pieter C. Scholten's "ROCCO" (February 12-15)
2014-15 SEASON DETAILS:
Imagining O (World Premiere)
Co-Directors: Richard Schechner and Benjamin Mosse
Movement Direction: Roanna Mitchell
Times: September 11, 12 at 7:30pm; September 13 at 8:00pm
The world premiere of Richard Schechner's "Imagining O," which will colonize the Kasser's lobbies, amphitheater and backstage areas, unites Shakespeare's women who died during his plays, most especially Ophelia-whose character merges with O in Pauline Réage's superbly erotic French novel, "Story of O." Schechner's theater work, like Réage's notorious 1954 novel, explores ideas of sexual submission, abjection, and power. The cast includes 14 women and a lone male.
Healing Wars (NY/Regional Premiere)
Times: September 25, 26 at 7:30pm; September 27 at 8:00pm; September 28 at 3:00pm
Liz Lerman's "Healing Wars," her most recent theatrical dance, explores the brutalizing traumas of war and the eradicable effects it has on both the healer and the healed. The 90-minute work, where real and surreal become one, considers the effect of war on bodies: what they bear, what they cannot bear, how we hide them, how we honor them when they are lifeless and how we patch them up while they live. The soundscape is by Tony Award-winning sound designer Darron L. West, the scenic environment is by David Israel Reynoso and the media designer is Kate Freer.
Alarm Will Sound
Mind Out of Matter (World Premiere)
Composer: Scott Johnson
Featuring the sampled voice of Daniel C. Dennett
Times: October 4 at 8:00pm, October 5 at 3:00pm
Twenty musicians from Alarm Will Sound will present the world premiere of Scott Johnson's "Mind Out of Matter," the composer's largest work to-date, October 4 and 5. Noted for equally celebrating the popular and classical and for being the first composer to create music from the rhythm and pitch of spoken words, Johnson uses the controversial writings of philosopher Daniel Dennett in this provocative new work. The goal of both composer and philosopher is to inspire audiences to think newly about the compatibility of science and spirituality.
Shanghai Quartet and Wu Han
October 12 at 3:00pm
Wu Han, pianist and co-artistic director of the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society, will join the Shanghai Quartet for the group's October 12 performance that features music by Franz Joseph Haydn ("String Quartet no. 27 in D Major, op. 20"), Robert Schumann ("Piano Quintet in E-flat Major, op. 44"), and Antonín Dvo?ák ("Piano Quintet no. 2 in A Major, op. 81").
Apropos (American Premiere)
Artistic Director: Réka Szabó
Times: October 16, 17 at 7:30pm; October 18 at 8:00 pm; October 19 at 3:00pm
The Symptoms is not a rock group, but rather a 12-year-old Hungarian modern theater/dance troupe that makes its American debut at Peak Performances with the premiere of "Apropos," a work in two sections. The first section, "I will be all of these things one day," is a profoundly moving solo performed by the company's 45-year-old founder and artistic director, Réka Szabó. The second section, "I don't remember being raised like this," a group work, incorporates interactive, real-time video that responds instantly to the performers' movement.
Richard Alston Dance Company
Rejoice in the Lamb and Holderlin Fragments (American Premieres), Illuminations (NY/Regional Premiere)
Artistic Director: Richard Alston
October 30-November 2nd
Times: October 30, 31 at 7:30 pm; November 1 at 8:00pm; November 2 at 3:00pm
One of Britain's most celebrated dance troupes, the Richard Alston Dance Company returns to Peak Performances to present a repertory radiant with Alston's musical originality. The music for each of the four works will be performed live. American tenor Nicholas Phan will accompany the American Contemporary Music Ensemble in "Illuminations," and pianist Jason Ridgway in "Holderlin Fragments." Ridgway will also play the music for the duet from "Unfinished Business." Montclair State's 24-voice student choir, Vocal Accord, will accompany "Rejoice in the Lamb." The two dances- as well as "Illuminations," an area premiere- are set to Benjamin Britten. "Unfinished Business" is set to Mozart.
Christopher O'Riley | NPR
From the Top
December 13th at 8:00pm
Musical prodigies are the heart and soul of this popular NPR radio staple, whose broadcasts take place in a different venue each week. The artists are all young and witty, and while often spiky in their responses to the questions from the show's host Christopher O'Riley, they're always gorgeous and inspiring in their musicianship. The show will be taped at the Kasser for national broadcast.
Robyn Orlin & Compagnie Jant-Bi
At the same time we were pointing a finger at you, we realized we were pointing three at ourselves...(American Premiere)
A piece by Robyn Orlin
January 24-February 1
Times: January 24, 31 at 8:00pm; January 25, February 1 at 3:00pm; January 29, 30 at 7:30 pm
Robyn Orlin's exuberant imagination will be front and center in her newest work, "At the same time we were pointing a finger at you, we realized we were pointing three at ourselves...," which is set to premiere at the Avignon Festival this month and will receive its American premiere at Peak Performances. The dance, created for and with the Compagnie Jant-Bi dancers at École des Sables in Dakar, Senegal, celebrates the body: its beauty, value and importance-something Orlin, a South African native, believes is often overlooked, if not berated, in Africa.