Abrons Arts Center Announces Lineup for 100th Anniversary Season

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Abrons Arts Center Announces Lineup for 100th Anniversary Season

On February 12, 1915, the Abrons Arts Center's Henry Street Settlement Playhouse opened its doors on the Lower East Side. Since that day, it has remained a vital cultural resource, providing audiences with artistically bold work while offering artists opportunities to dynamically grow. Since becoming Abrons Director in 2006, Jay Wegman has done much more than maintain "one of the last standing locations for avant-garde performance downtown" (The New York Times, 2009). He has created an arts venue that is unique on the city's cultural landscape, presenting an international mix of cutting-edge performing and visual artists, both established and emerging, from across the country and around the world, as well as from New York City.

Now an OBIE Award-winning institution, Abrons has drawn a diverse audience to its historic home at the Henry Street Settlement on the Lower East Side, and has garnered a wealth of critical acclaim in various disciplines. Abrons Arts Center's 2014-15 Centennial season underscores the organization's increasing stature and its unique programmatic profile. The lineup, comprised almost entirely of premieres, includes:

The Queer New York International Arts Festival (September 17-27), a multi-venue festival curated by Zvonimir Dobrovi?, returns to New York. Artists presenting U.S. premieres at Abrons Arts Center include Ivo Dimchev, Jan Martens, Mark Tompkins and Jeremy Wade. The New York premiere of the Edinburgh Festival runaway success story Forest Fringe MicroFestival (October 3-5), a building-wide micro-festival of live performance featuring performances and installations by Brian Lobel, Tim Etchells, Made in China, Deborah Pearson, Andy Field, Ira Brand and a number of New York-based artists. Aaron Landsman will present Republic of New York: Perfect City Discussions?(October 6), a performed public meeting, which attempts to reimagine urban life outside of commerce. This is a co-production with Crossing the Line Festival and A Blade of Grass.

Abrons Arts Center and Mark Dendy Projects present the world premiere of Labyrinth (October 9-26). A new tragicomic, autobiographically inspired retelling of the Theseus myth by OBIE and Bessie Award-winning choreographer Mark Dendy.

Dublin-based company Dead Centre return to Abrons Arts Center with the U.S. premiere of their award-winning show LIPPY,(October 15-November 2) a haunting investigation into why we tell stories in the face of tragedy.

Sister Sylvester will present The Maids' The Maids, (October 30-November 9), a performance project that reimagines Jean Genet's The Maids for two professional housekeepers and two professional actors.

2013 Bessie Award-winner Jaro Vinarsky returns to Abrons with ANIMALWITHIN, (November 13-15). Inspired by Hungarian novelist László Krasznahorkai and German painter Max Neumann's book AnimalInside, this work for two dancers investigates the extreme states of a man's relationship to his own body, to another man and to viewers. Abrons Arts Center will present 1 this useless tool [this folded flower], (November 20-22) whichis the first chapter in Enrico D. Wey's new series of works centered around the myths of Narcissus and Querelle and influenced by the works of Gengoroh Tagame, James Bidgood, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Masaki Koh, and the Athletic Model Club.

Findlay / Sandsmark will present the U.S. Premiere of biograph, last year was pretty/shitty (December 3 - 6)a performance piece that meditates on the tension between nostalgia and technology that was developed through conversations with Young Jean Lee, Victor Morales, Jean Vincent Kerebel and Claudia La Rocco.

New York icon Joey Arias will reprise the role of Mommie Dearest in the camp holiday classic, Christmas with the Crawfords,(December 11-21). American Realness, (January 2015) the festival of contemporary performance that The New York Times calls "a stronghold of forward-thinking, category-defying performance" returns to Abrons for its sixth anniversary. The International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) will partner with Abrons Art Center to bring its OpenICE initiative to New York in 2015. In this season long residency (January-June 2015) ICE will present free concerts of brand new music as a part of the Abrons' Centential season..The Civilians will present the world premiere of Pretty Filthy, (January 30 - March 1) a delicious verbatim musical exploration of the porn industry. David Greenspan will present the world premiere of I'm Looking for Helen Twelvetrees (March 19 - April 4). Captivated by her tragic life, a young man seeks out Helen Twelvetrees, (the real-life star of the early talkies) during her run as Blanche DuBois at a summer stock theater in 1951, directed by Leigh Silverman and featuring Brooke Bloom and Greenspan. David Neumann will present the world premiere of I Understand Everything Better(April 9-18), an expansive meditation on traumatic change and one's proximity to dying. Created and performed by Neumann with text by Sibyl Kempson and a sound score by Tei Blow. Sibyl Kempson's will present the world premiere of Let Us Now Praise Susan Sontag, (April 28-May 17), an irrational musical contemplation of the ethical pitfalls of poetic reporting, featuring music by Ashley Turba. Cecilia Bengolea + François Chaignaud present the U.S. premiere of Dub Love, (May 28-30), a dance investigation that clashes dub music with ballet, punk and reggae movement, and the soft religious dances of Brazilian candomblé. Mabou Mines will present Glass Guignol: The Brother & Sister Play,(April 22-May 10)at Abrons, a new work inspired by the writings of Tennessee Williams and his relationship to his sister Rose.

Will Rawls will premiere his tentatively titled new work Based on Real Events,(June 4-6),a performance celebration of role The Henry Street Settlement has played in the history of dance.

Co-commissioned and presented with The Chocolate Factory the world premiere of Rebecca Patek's the future was looking better in the past: my family herstory: or from religious prosecution to american greed to murderous infamy to denial, repression and the slow dissolution into moral confusion, financial ruin and karmic retribution, (May 20-23), will take place at The Chocolate Factory.

Show-by-show descriptions are below. Abrons Arts Center is located at 466 Grand Street, on Manhattan's Lower East Side. Tickets can be purchased by calling 212.352.3101 or visiting www.abronsartscenter.org.

ABRONS ARTS CENTER 2014-15 SEASON

Queer New York International Arts Festival
September 17-27
Abrons Arts Center and other venues.

The festival was created to expand the parameters of reading all that queer performance can be and mean. The concept proposes a reinvented definition of queer that can serve as a wider platform for excellence in the arts, one that is capable of tracking, discovering, and interpreting new trends. Queer New York International will present artists from Croatia, Bulgaria, The Netherlands, Spain, India and the US. Some of the artists who will present U.S. premieres at Abrons Arts Center are Ivo Dimchev, Jan Martens, Mark Tompkins and Jeremy Wade.

Forest Fringe MicroFestival? (New York Premiere)
October 3-5

"One of the Edinburgh Festival's brightest success stories." - The Times (UK)

"Whatever the next decade holds, the seeds of the next wave of theatre...lie in the expansive, inexpensive miracle that is Forest Fringe." - The Telegraph's Dominic Cavendish in his Peter Brook Award speech

Forest Fringe began in 2007 as a totally independent, not-for-profit space in the midst of the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland. Co-directors Andy Field, Deborah Pearson and Ira Brand sought to build an artistic community around a space in which experimentation and adventure were cherished. Despite coming from a variety of backgrounds and artistic contexts, the group shares a radical, independent approach to performance-making. Since 2007 they have won numerous awards and continued to explore how this space/idea/spirit of experimentation can move outside of the Edinburgh Festival format. Versions of Forest Fringe have taken place throughout the UK and internationally - at Fusebox Festival in Austin, in an old cinema in the center of Bangkok, as a series of performances on night buses across London and as a traveling library of audio experiences. Forest Fringe now comes to the New York for the first time. In collaboration with local artists they will take over Abrons to curate the entire building, scene shop and all. Featuring performances and installations by Brian Lobel, Tim Etchells, Made in China, Deborah Pearson, Andy Field, Ira Brandand local artists that are yet to be confirmed, this micro-festival of live performance will kick off Abron's 2014 season with an iridescent bang. http://www.forestfringe.co.uk

Aaron Landsman
Republic of New York: Perfect City Discussions
Monday, October 6 at 7:30pm
Free with RSVP at abronsartcenter.org

How can we make a place to live that reflects our values? Who are we as a group, anyway?

Forward-thinking, New York-based theater artist Aaron Landsman invites us to reimagine urban life outside of commerce in a performed public meeting. Considering the role of the creative class in gentrification alongside international examples of community alternatives, the conversation will lay the foundation for Landsman's next work, Perfect City. Co-presented with Crossing the Line Festival 2014 and A Blade of Grass.

Aaron Landsman is a writer, performer and teacher based in Brooklyn, NY and Urbana, IL. His current project, City Council Meeting, was presented this year in Houston, Tempe, and New York, with additional engagements in San Francisco and Keene, NH in 2014-15. His previous works have been commissioned, produced or presented by The Foundry, PS 122, and other venues in New York, Texas, Cleveland, Minneapolis and Tempe, and internationally in Belarus, Norway and the UK. As an actor, Aaron has appeared in the work of Richard Maxwell, Julia Jarcho and Elevator Repair Service, among others. Landsman's work is funded by the NEFA National Theater Pilot, Jerome Foundation, MAP Fund and NPN.

Mark Dendy
Labyrinth (World Premiere)
October 9-12

A tragicomic, autobiographically inspired retelling of the Theseus myth, Dendy's Labyrinth is set in present-day New York City and performed by a cast of four in multiple roles. In Labyrinth, Dendy interweaves character portraiture, myth, autobiography, and fantasy. Set in New York City, with Theseus hailing from Athens, Georgia, and aided by a transgender Ariadne, the hero quest is given a picaresque spin. En route to choreograph a Rockettes number, an artistically conflicted Theseus washes down anti-anxiety pills with absinthe just as Superstorm Sandy is approaching the city. His journey through the mythic labyrinth is peopled with a Jungian underworld of colorful, disenfranchised characters, and pits him against multiple forces including a mechanical bull at the Bellevue Psych Ward. With Dendy's signature wit, intense physicality, and searing social commentary, Labyrinth explores a world of inner demons and, ultimately, redemption by way of midlife crisis. The play is performed by Mark Dendy, Heather Christian, Stephen Donovan, and Matthew Hardy, with sound, music, and video created live on stage by the performers amid an ever-changing set of found objects.

Dead Centre
LIPPY (U.S.Premiere)
October 15 - November 2

"We may never be able to interpret an unfathomable tragedy, but LIPPY has extraordinary things to say about it... Uniquely arresting and unsettling, LIPPY is like nothing else you'll see." - The Irish Times

"Startling and extraordinary." - Irish Theatre Magazine

This is a true story. Fourteen years ago in County Kildare, Ireland, an aunt and her three nieces boarded themselves in their home and starved themselves to death. Their mysterious hunger strike is the starting point for a theatrical investigation that is both social and metaphysical.

"We weren't there. This is not their story. We don't know what they said. We are only putting words in their mouths."

A haunting investigation into why we tell stories in the face of tragedy, LIPPY was widely acknowledged as the most extraordinary piece of theatre to emerge from Ireland in 2013. LIPPY premiered at Dublin Fringe Festival 2013 where it was awarded the Irish Times Theatre Award for Best Production. www.deadcentre.org.

Created by Dead Centre, directed by Ben Kidd and Bush Moukarzel with text contributed by acclaimed Irish playwright Mark O'Halloran and performed by Joanna Banks, Bush Moukarzel, Gina Moxley, Catriona Nu Mhuirci, Liv O'Donoghue, Dan Reardon and Adam Welsh. The creative team also includes set design by Andrew Clancy, lighting design by Stephen Dodd and music by Adam Welsh.

Bush Moukarzel (Writer and Performer), Born in London, of Lebanese descent, Bush trained originally at the University of Nottingham and then completed a Masters Degree in Psychoanalysis at Trinity College, Dublin. Upon finishing his degree he began to work as a performer and theatre maker in Ireland. He has a long collaborative relationship with Pan Pan Theatre, and has performed with them throughout the world, including BAM in New York and the Time-Based Art Festival in Portland, Oregon. He has also worked for the BBC, RTE1 and Druid Theatre.

Ben Kidd (Director), completed a degree in English and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham, and then trained as an actor at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. After working as an actor briefly, he moved into directing. Recent directing outside of his work with Dead Centre includes: David Mamet's The Shawl (Young Vic, London), Anne and Zef (Salisbury Playhouse) and Richard III (Riverside Studios London, and UK Tour). He has worked as assistant director at the National Theatre, Young Vic and Shakespeare's Globe. He has developed new work at the National Theatre Studio and The Gate, and regularly runs workshops at the Young Vic with young directors. He is an Associate Artist with London-based Company of Angels, one of the UK's leading theatre companies making work for a young adult audience.

Sister Sylvester
The Maids' The Maids
October 30-November 9

The Maids' The Maids is a project involving Jean Genet's The Maids with two professional housekeepers and two professional actors. It is a play about labor, language and power, parallel worlds and the possible violence of contact. Directed by Kathryn Hamilton?with dramaturgy by Jeremy Barker and featuring: Isabel Sanchez, Terence Mintern, Laudiceia Calixto and Glenda Sanchez. The creative team also includes set design by Juan Betancurth and video design by Brian Oh.

Sister Sylvester makes ensemble-based work that uses performance (movement/ music/ theater) to create stories based in contemporary reality. Since 2008, they have made work in both site-specific venues as well as in theaters, keeping an investigation of the audience-performer relationship at the heart of our practice. The content of their work is concerned with power, how it is wielded within society at all levels, and how language becomes a weapon in enforcing those hierarchies. They invite disruption into both the performance and the process, and look for dissonance and difficulty in text, image and sound.

Jaro Vinarsky
ANIMALWITHIN (US Premiere)
November 13-15

Talking about ANIMALWITHIN Vinarksy says: "Each of the 14 chapters in Krasznahorkai's text is almost one long sentence full of rhythmical shifts, tempos and images. His language dances, images surface that provide a window into emotions and states of mind that exist beyond language. His text therefore offers direct impulses to begin making movement: Krasznahorkai is concerned with limits; what happens if language is pushed further than its own decorous rules might suggest? What happens if the body is pushed further than its own decorous rules? Together with Krasznahorkai we too are fascinated by extremes, by the cosmos itself, by the possibility of apocalypse." Direction and choreography by Jaro Vinarsky in collaboration with performer, Marek Menšík. The creative team also includes lighting design by Tomáš Morávek and an original score by Jan Burian.

Jaro Vinarsky is a Slovakia based dancer and choreographer. He studied choreography in Bratislava and Prague. He is a long time collaborator of Karine Ponties of Dame de pic Ensemble and Pavel Zustiak's company, Palissimo. In 2013 he was awarded a Bessie for his performance in Bastard the first part of Palissimo's Painted Bird trilogy. In 2004, Vinarsky, while performing in Prague, was awarded the Sazka Award for the Newcomer of The Year.

Enrico Wey
1, this useless tool [this folded flower] (World Premiere)
November 20-22

1, this useless tool [this folded flower] is part of Wey's ongoing research into Asian American identity politics, aesthetics, whiteness, neutrality, internalized phobias, masculinity, sexuality, classical mythology, stasis and the work of Jean Genet.

Enrico D. Wey has been making work since 2006. He has had the pleasure of working with choreographers: Milka Djordjevich, Trajal Harrell, Yvonne Meier, and for Ishmael Houston-Jones in his Bessie Award-winning reconstruction of THEM. Wey also served as a co-curator for the 2012 Movement Research Spring Festival. Other credits include Adam Goldman's acclaimed webseries, The OUTS. He has been a member of Handspring Puppet Company (South Africa) since 2004, puppeteering in Tall Horse, William Kentridge's Il Ritorno d'Ulisse, and originating the lead role of Joey on Broadway in the Tony Award-Winning production of War Horse.

Findlay / Sandsmark
biograph, last year was pretty/shitty (U.S. Premiere)
December 3-6

biograph, last year was pretty/shitty meditates on nostalgia and its opposite in technology, making memory movements and attempting to erase everything that has come before and been recorded. With a passing nod to Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape, and a swipe at the age of 'selfies', it turns out that 'the good old times' are not so good anymore. Created by Iver Findlay and Marit Sandsmark in collaboration with Pål Asle Pettersen, Joey Truman and Ruud van den Akker and in conversation with Young Jean Lee, Victor Morales, Jean Vincent Kerebel and Claudia La Rocco.

Findlay / Sandsmark is a Norway based performance company working across the disciplines of dance, theater, live music, and video art. At its core, F//S is Marit Sandsmark, Iver Findlay and Pål Asle Pettersen, who have made two large scale performances-now and nowhere else (U.S. Premiere: Performance Space 122, 2010) and fractured bones/ let's get lost which was presented by Oslo's Black Box Teater as part of the Ultima Festival, as well as Tou Scene in Stavanger and Teaterhust Avant Garden in Trondheim, Norway.

Iver Findlay is a theatre and video artist and previous member of American theatre companies such as Collapsable Giraffe, Wooster Group and Radiohole. He is now based between Norway and New York. Marit Sandsmark is a Norwegian choreographer and artist, who along with Findlay is the force behind the company Findlay/Sandsmark. Pål Asle Pettersen is a musician and composer with a number of releases to his name, and is the one behind Zang:records. Joey Truman is an actor, writer, musician, and Klaus Kinski look-a-like and has performed in several Collapsable Giraffe productions. Young Jean Lee's film 'Here Come the Girls' was made and is used as part of this performance. The acclaimed film has been shown at Sundance, Lacarno and BAM film festivals.

Joey Arias
Christmas with the Crawfords
December 11-21

New York icon Joey Arias will reprise the role of Mommie Dearest in the camp holiday classic, Christmas with the Crawfords, and the holidays will never be the same again! In conjunction with San Francisco's Artfull Circle Theatre, Abrons Arts Center presents the magic, mayhem and music of the hit show based on the infamous Christmas Eve radio broadcast from the Crawford family Brentwood mansion. Featuring Joan and the children and a stellar line up of Hollywood icons, Christmas with the Crawfords is a hilarious parody of - and homage to - the "Golden Age" of Hollywood. The production is directed by Donna Drake and features Chris March (Project Runway, Season 4) in the role of darling daughter Christina. March, a Drama Desk Nominee for his costuming of the previous New York production of Crawfords also designs the wigs and costumes. The show marks Joey Arias' third star turn on the Abrons' main stage following his critically acclaimed performance in the off-Broadway revival of Arias With A Twist in 2011 and headlining two weeks of sold out concerts in 2010. Christmas with the Crawfords is a delightful alternative to the typical holiday fare. It's also guaranteed to make any audience member feel a whole lot better about their own family at Christmas!

American Realness Festival
January, 2015

The festival of contemporary performance that The New York Times calls "a stronghold of forward-thinking, category-defying performance" returns for its 6th anniversary.

ICE at Abrons
2015 Residency
January-June 2015

The International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) will partner with Abrons Art Center to bring its OpenICE initiative to New York in 2015. OpenICE breaks down the barriers to the creation and presentation of new music, with free concerts of brand-new music developed at Abrons, accompanying educational programs and discussions, and open access to everything in high-quality video and audio through ICE's media portal, Digitice. This season of musical celebration and experimentation features world premieres of new works by Christian Wolff, George Lewis, John Zorn, Cory Smythe and Forrest Pierce.

The Civilians
Pretty Filthy (World Premiere)
January 30-March 1

"Watching people have sex on camera is far less sexy and far more ridiculous than you might think."
- Nina Hartley, pornographic actress and film director

Armed with their notepads and recorders, artists from the intrepid investigative theater company The Civilians crossed the mountain range that divides Hollywood from the "other Hollywood"--the San Fernando Valley, world capital of porn. The Civilians' crew listened and learned, conducting interviews and visiting sets to get an insider's glimpse into a world that is far more than the sum of its (very) visible parts. The Civilians' time in the Valley captured a singular time in our culture; this present era in which the intersection of sex and the web is changing everything for everybody, certainly for the porn professionals but also for everybody else. In the end, Pretty Filthy (directed by Steve Cosson with music and lyrics by Michael Friedman and book by Bess Wohl)takes us behind the scenes into the lives of these sexual performers to reveal a bigger picture, one that strikes much closer to home than anyone might have imagined.

The Civilians is the center for investigative theater, boldly exploring the intersections of theater and society. Led by Artistic Director Steve Cosson and working with a multi-disciplinary group of Associate Artists, the company commissions, develops, and produces new plays for audiences in New York, nationally, and internationally; creatively engages communities through artistic and educational programs; and stimulates the field to broaden the scope of the theater in all aspects: subject matter, audience, use of online media, and more. All of these efforts serve to advance theater as an engine of artistic and social innovation and as a critically vital part of our social fabric.

David Greenspan
I'm Looking for Helen Twelvetrees (World Premiere)
March 19th - April 4th

"A theatrical conjurer of rare gifts." - The New York Times

"No one is like Greenspan. His captivating, surgically precise 'narratage' makes passages of daunting opacity shine and dense concepts open like bumblebee-ready flowers. Anybody can build a stage picture, but few can so bedazzle the minds eye." - Time Out New York

Captivated by her tragic life, a young man seeks out Helen Twelvetrees, (the real-life star of the early talkies) during her run as Blanche DuBois at a summer stock theater in 1951. Greenspan's soft and elliptical text has a lilting quality interweaving time frames of the young man's life and that of Helen Twelvetrees, the play finds beauty in the sadness of lives gradually narrowing towards despair - and comfort in the recall of their moments of transcendent artistry.

Featuring Brooke Bloom in the title role (Mary Antoinette at A.R.T., Somewhat Fun at The Vineyard; Film: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close) and five-time OBIE recipient David Greenspan (The Myopia with The Foundry, Go Back to Where You Are at Playwrights Horizons, The Patsy with Transport Group), the production is directed by Mr. Greenspan's long-time collaborator, OBIE recipient and Tony nominee Leigh Silverman (Go Back to Where You Are at Playwrights Horizons; B'way: Violet, Chinglish, Well).

David Neumann
I Understand Everything Better (World Premiere)
April 9-18

"Mr. Neumann [proves] once again to be an astute, sensitive observer of the human condition in all its funny and desperate and, finally, beautiful frailty." - The New York Times

I Understand Everything Betteris dance-based performance by Bessie-Award winning David Neumann with text by Sibyl Kempson and a sound score by Tei Blowthat explores our impulse to report on calamity, the consciousness of traumatic change, and one's proximity to dying. Using a combination of personal narratives, traditional Japanese theater and Neumann's own poetic approach to performance making the piece presents a movement landscape in which figures move in and out of focus - a man on his death bed, a meteorologist reporting from within a storm, a great actor who might be performing a Kabuki play about a dying man in a great storm. Performed by Neumann, Andrew Dinwiddie and Jesse Heffler I Understand Everything Better expands and contracts with Advanced Beginner Groups trademark tumult, delicacy, humor, and virtuosic grace. The creative team also includes lighting design by Christine Shallenberg and Chloe Brown.

David Neumann/advanced beginner group believes in making multi-disciplinary dances from scratch, bringing to gesture, word and proximity a delighted embrace of our contradictory lives; engaging in surprising ways, always a valuable effort in trying to bend the habitual gestures around new shapes. In spite of his proclivity toward complicated ideas and structures in dance, Neumann is saying something very simple through this blessedly varied and adaptable art form: "As a species, this is what we're doing right now, and this is what I think about it."

Sibyl Kempson
Let Us Now Praise Susan Sontag (World Premiere)
April 28-May 17

Let Us Now Praise Susan Sontag, written by Sibyl Kempson with music byAshley Turbaisan irrational musical contemplation of the ethical pitfalls of poetic reporting. When two journalists writing about the abject conditions of poverty merge art and journalism they become two makers of earliest poverty porn. This is a story of an over-related family of sharecroppers mired in desperate poverty who are visited, interviewed and photographed by two live-in reporters from the "big city." Kempson wrote Let Us Now Praise Susan Sontag with a little help from the journals of Symbolist painter Odilon Redon, The NEW American Machinists Handbook, and ancient Assyrian mythology, and then shoved it into the strict alchemical procedure of the Broadway musical.

Rebecca Patek
the future was looking better in the past: my family herstory: or from religious prosecution to american greed to murderous infamy to denial, repression and the slow dissolution into moral confusion, financial ruin and karmic retribution (World Premiere)
Co-commissioned and presented with The Chocolate Factory
Presented at The Chocolate Factory in Long Island City
May 20-23, 2015 Wednesday thru Saturday at 8pm

Rebecca Patek's new performance invokes the story of Leopold and Loeb to hold a mirror to her own "crimes" and investigate a personal history involving familial guilt, tainted blood and bad karma. Created and performed by Rebecca Patek in collaboration with Sam Roeck with music by Louise Dierker.

Cecilia Bengolea + François Chaignaud
Dub Love (U.S. Premiere)
May 28-30

Dub Love is a collaboration between Cecilia Bengolea + François Chaignaud and Dubplates DJ from the Reunion island HIGH ELEMENTS, whose musical experimentations draw from dub roots in order to create upbeat solar sound that is defined by a tension between deep bass sounds characteristic of dub and bright melodies. Dub is performed for massive social gatherings in Europe and Jamaica (Nothing Hill Carnival, One Love Rave Festival) with powerful sound systems. Their intense vibrations, their physical impact and their unifying power turned these musical styles into spiritual or even religious events, going way beyond mere entertainment.

In Dub Love HIGH ELEMENTS mixes live while Cecilia Bengolea + François Chaignaud together with dancer Ana Pi carry out hybrid choreographic research that clashes punk and reggae movement with the soft religious dances of Brazilian candomblé and classical ballet, namely pointe choreography. The pulsing beats of HIGH ELEMENTS' mix is juxtaposed against the expressive and ethereal lines of pointe work and the elliptical motions of candomblé to create an abstract and detailed performance landscape.

Mabou Mines
Glass Guignol: The Brother & Sister Play (World Premiere)
April 22-May 10

Mabou Mines' production of legendary writer/director Lee Breuer's Glass Guignol: The Brother & Sister Play, featuring OBIE Award-winners Greg Mehrten (Mabou Mines Lear; Wooster Group) and Maude Mitchell (Nora in Mabou Mines DollHouse), is a new work inspired by the writings of Tennessee Williams. Co-conceived by Breuer and Mitchell, with a set by Alison Yerxa (Gospel at Colonus),Glass Guignol explores the many permutations of the relationship between Williams and his sister Rose - a complex thread that runs throughout Williams' writings. This new multi-media tour de force follows the sold-out 6 month Paris run of A Streetcar Named Desire,directed by Breuer for the world renowned La Comédie-Française. The New York Times, in their rave review, called Breuer's last production, La Divina Caricatura "... strange, singular, perfectly self-contained and so wondrous that it may leave you in a daze."

Will Rawls
Based on Real Events (World Premiere)
June 4-6

Will Rawls will premiere his tentatively titled new work Based on Real Events at the Abrons Arts Center's Historic Playhouse during its 100th Anniversary season. Presently, Will is researching the history of the theater and the origins of settlement ethics, as well as the choreographers, dancers and community groups that have made use of the Settlement. From this research he will reconstruct a new work exploring dance, music, storytelling, and folklore. To quote Mr. Rawls: "My goal is to work with older performers or community members who have participated in programs at Henry Street as well as with younger dancers and create a work of choreography exploring architectural space, bodies, characters and layers of history." Based on Real Events will point out the traffic between personal and cultural lineages, in addition to celebrating the Abrons role in New York City dance history.

The Abrons Arts Center is the OBIE Award-winning performing and visual arts program of Henry Street Settlement. The Abrons supports the creation and presentation of innovative, multi-disciplinary work; cultivates artists in all stages of their practice with educational programs, mentorships, residencies and commissions; and serves as an intersection of engagement for local, national and international audiences and arts-workers.

Each year the Abrons offers over 250 performances, 12 gallery exhibitions and 30 residencies for performing and studio artists, and 100 different classes in dance, music, theater, and visual art. The Abrons also provides New York City public schools with teaching artists, introducing more than 3,000 students to the arts.

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