Big Dance Theater to Return to BAM with U.S. Debut of ALAN SMITHEE DIRECTED THIS PLAY, 9/30-10/4
Alan Smithee Directed This Play from Big Dance Theater comes to BAM's Harvey Theater (651 Fulton Street), running September 30-October 4, 2014. Tickets start at $20.
Directed by Annie-B Parson and Paul Lazar with choreography by Annie-B Parson and the company, the show also features scenery by Joanne Howard, lighting by Joe Levasseur, costumes by Oana Botez, sound by Tei Blow, and video by Jeff Larson.
Originally conceived as a theatrical triptych using three separate film scripts -- Terms of Endearment, Dr. Zhivago, and Le Circle Rouge -- as source material, Alan Smithee slipped the reins of its structural framework to re-emerge in the form of a performance landscape where 1918 Moscow mingles with 1970s America, film clips converse with live action, and decades merge and blur. An ensemble of seven, including Big Dance Theater co-artistic director Paul Lazar and company veteran Cynthia Hopkins, occupies a stage littered with fur coats, lawn chairs, and telephones where revolutionaries pontificate, tragic lovers bid farewell under the threat of nuclear war, and American suburbanites grapple with abortion, debt, and divorce. The title, which references the pseudonym used for Hollywood directors who disassociate themselves from troubled projects, is a wry comment on the inherent impossibility of asserting any real "control" over the slippery, ever-morphing realm of creative inspiration and live performance.
For ticket information, call BAM Ticket Services at 718.636.4100, or visit BAM.org.
Founded in 1991, Big Dance Theater is known for its adventurous use of music, text, dance, and visual design to expand and refract literary texts, weaving disparate sources and forms into seamless theatrical wholes. Under the artistic direction of Annie-B Parson and Paul Lazar, the company has created more than 20 works-each piece developed over months of collaboration with its associate artists, a longstanding, ever-evolving group of actors, dancers, composers, and designers. In 2000, the company received an Obie Award for its "passionate practice of the most implausible choreographic and literary concoctions." Directors Lazar and Parson were honored in 2002 with a Bessie Award for their "boldly arranged marriage of dance and theater," and Comme Toujours, Here I Stand received a Bessie Award in 2010 for Outstanding Production. The company also received the inaugural Jacob's Pillow Dance Award in 2007. Parson was recently awarded a 2014 Doris Duke Artist Award as well as the 2014 Foundation for Contemporary Art Award. Big Dance Theater has been presented in both dance and theater venues nationally and abroad, in Italy, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, and Georgia.
Annie-B Parson founded Big Dance Theater in 1991 with Molly Hickok and Paul Lazar. She has choreographed and co-created more than 20 works for the company, ranging from pure dance pieces, to adaptations of plays and literature, to original works combining wildly disparate materials. Her work with Big Dance has been commissioned by BAM, National Theater of Paris/Chaillot, Japan Society, and The Walker Art Center, among others.
Outside of the company, Parson has created choreography for David Byrne's Here Lies Love at the Public Theater and for his world tours with St. Vincent and Brian Eno in 2012 and 2008-09 respectively. Parson also created dance for St. Vincent's 2014 world tour and directed and choreographed for the string quartet ETHEL at the Winter Garden. She choreographed for Nico Muhly's opera Dark Sisters, Lucas Hnath's A Public Reading of an Unproduced Screenplay About the Death of Walt Disney, and Sarah Ruhl's Orlando, among others. Her awards include a Doris Duke Artist Award (2014), Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award (2014), USA Artists Grant in theater (2012), Guggenheim Fellowship in Choreography (2007), two Bessie awards (2002, 2010), and three NYFA Choreography Fellowships (2000, 2006, 2013). Parson has been nominated for the CalArts/Alpert Award seven times and has received three Lucille Lortel nominations (2014, 2012, 2011).
Paul Lazar is a founding member and co-artistic director, along with Parson, of Big Dance Theater. He has co-directed and acted in works for the company since 1991, including commissions from BAM, The Walker Art Center, Dance Theater Workshop, Classic Stage Company, and Japan Society. He recently directed the comedy Elephant Room at St. Ann's Warehouse for the company rainpan 43.In Spring 2011 he directed Young Jean Lee's Obie Award-winning We're Gonna Die. Lazar is an associate member of The Wooster Group, and has acted in Brace Up!, Emperor Jones, North Atlantic, and The Hairy Ape. Other stage acting credits include Young Jean Lee's Lear, The Three Sisters and Richard III at Classic Stage Company, Richard Maxwell's Cowboys and Indians at Soho Rep, Svejk at Theatre for a New
Audience, Irene Fornes' Mud at the Signature Theater, and Mac Wellman's 1965 UU. He has acted in more than 30 feature films, most recently in director Bong Joon Ho's acclaimed Snowpiercer; other film credits include Mickey Blue Eyes, Silence of the Lambs, Beloved, Lorenzo's Oil, and Philadelphia. He teaches at New York University.
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.