Jim Findlay's Botanica Opens at 3LD 1/28
Writer and director Jim Findlay examines our relationship to plant life in the black comedy Botanica.
About the show: "Sealed in a human terrarium, two unorthodox botanists and a janitor unleash a flood of unusual findings and overturn the constraints of science and social norms. With the world premiere of Botanica, Findlay pursues his own unique theatrical vision following over 15 years of collaboration with innovative artists including The Wooster Group, Cynthia Hopkins, Ridge Theater, Bang on a Can, DJ Spooky, Ralph Lemon, and Collapsable Giraffe, among others."
20 performances of Botanica will take place January 28–February 25, 2012 (see schedule above) at 3LD Art & Technology Center. Critics are welcome as of January 30 for an official opening of February 1.
Tickets begin at $20 and can be purchased online at thisisbotanica.com or by phone at 800.838.3006. 3LD Art & Technology Center is located at 80 Greenwich Street in New York City.
Botanica tracks the scientific experiments and the developing relationship between two botanists sealed in a research facility—a human terrarium. They are joined by a janitor who seems unremarkable except for his curious habit of reading aloud to the plants the most salacious sections of erotic literary texts and his own self-penned blue poetry.
Initially the experiments seem to demonstrate an astonishing level of plant consciousness, but eventually the botanists hit a dead end. They decide to bring the janitor into their research. The introduction of this human subject reinvigorates their investigation but leads to unforeseen consequences and unleashes a flood of unusual findings that end in chaos as the constraints of science and social norms are overturned.
Source material for Botanica includes the French surrealist erotic literature of Louis Aragon, George Bataille and Colette Peignot/Laure; The Secret Life of Plants, both the 1973 best-selling book by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird, and the controversial 1979 documentary film adaptation by Walon Green; and the scientific inventions and experiments of the turn-of-the-century Indian botanist Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose.
Findlay has been developing Botanica since October 2009 during workshops at 3LD Art & Technology Center, Invisible Dog, PS 122, CUNY/Martin Segal Theatre Center, and through a Princess Grace Foundation Work-in-Progress Residency at the Baryshnikov Arts Center.
Botanica directed by Jim Findlay and is written by Jeff Jackson and Jim Findlay. The company includes performers Ilan Bachrach, Liz Sargent, and Chet Mazur; Joel Bassin (Producer), Rob Besserer (Plant Design), Jim Dawson (Composer),, Peter Ksander (Set Design), Maurina Lioce (Stage Manager), Jamie McElhinney (Sound Design), Normandy Sherwood (Costume Design), and Jeff Sugg (Light/Video Design).
About the Artists
Jim Findlay (Writer and Director) works across specialties as a creator, director, designer, and performer with a constellation of theater, performance and music groups. He was a founding member and priMary Collaborator in both the experimentally groundbreaking Collapsable Giraffe and the internationally successful music/media performance company Accinosco/Cynthia Hopkins, as well as being an associate artist of The Wooster Group since 1994. Jim lives and works out of a studio in Brooklyn, NY.
Findlay has been involved in every aspect of all of the Collapsable Giraffe’s performance works including Damfino (Performing Garage 1998); 3 Virgins (ShowWorld 1999); Bend Your Mind Off (Collapsable Hole, 2000 and 2001); Witch Mountain/Black Tarantula (Collapsable Hole 2001); Letters from the Earth (Collapsable Hole 2005); and Pee Pee Maw Maw/Last Crash (Collapsable Hole 2008/2009). For Accinosco, and in league with longtime collaborator Jeff Sugg, Findlay has designed sets and video for Cynthia Hopkins' “Accidental Trilogy” -- Accidental Nostalgia (Bessie Award 2005), Must Don't Whip 'Um (2007), and The Success of Failure (Walker Art Center and St. Ann's Warehouse 2009). Jim also performed in all three works. Findlay has been an associate artist of The Wooster Group since 1994. From 1995 to 2003 Findlay led the technical team and designed sets for House/Lights (Bessie for Design 1999, Obie 1999) and To You, the Birdie! (Obie 2002).
Findlay also has worked consistently with Ridge Theater and Bang on a Can since 2001 on such projects as DECASIA (Basel Switzerland 2001 and Brooklyn 2004), Shelter (BAM 2005); Oedipus, composed by Harry Partch (Peak Performances 2005), Difficulty of Crossing a Field (Peak Performances 2006), Lightning at Our Feet (BAM and US tour 2009), Steel Hammer by Julia Wolfe and performed by the Bang on a Can All-Stars (Carnegie Hall and US Tour 2009), and Persephone with songs by Ben Neill and Mimi Goese and text by Warren Leight (BAM 2010). Other notable projects include set design for How Can You Stay in the House All Day and Not Go Out (BAM 2010) and video design for Saving the Princess (Lyric Opera Ballet 2009) both by choreographer Ralph Lemon; set and video design for Brooklyn Omnibus by Stew and Heidi Rodewald (BAM 2010); set and video design (with co designer Jeff Sugg) of cartoonist Ben Katchor's musical Slug Bearers of Kayrol Island (Vineyard Theater 2008, Hewes Design Award, Lucille Lortel Award, Obie Award, and Drama Desk nomination); set design for Red Fly, Blue Bottle (HERE 2009); set design for Riot Group's Switch Triptych (London and Edinburgh UK 2005); and video design for The Tomashefsky Project by Michael Tilson-Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony (2005).
Jeff Jackson (co-writer) is a writer, curator, and editor currently living and working in Charlotte, North Carolina. He writes fiction and plays, as well as film, music, and literary criticism. Jackson’s short fiction “Three Untitled Stories About Smoking” was published in fiction anthology Userlands (Akashic Books, 2007), edited by Dennis Cooper. The book was selected by NPR as one of its Recommended Summer Reads. Jackson’s stories “The Beach” and “Another Layer of Ash” were chosen for the New River Fiction Fall 2009 and Fall 2010 reading series in Los Angeles and New York City. The pieces were performed by renowned actors alongside works by National Book Award winner Denis Johnson, Pulitzer Prize laureate N. Scott Momaday, and Best American Short Story winner Sharon Pomerantz. Jackson has won Dodge Foundation Fellowships to work on his fiction at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. He recently completed a novel entitled Mira Corpora. Jackson is a founding member of Collapsable Giraffe. He worked as writer on productions including Pre-Paradise Sorry Now (1996), Damfino (1997/1998), Witch Mountain/Black Tarantula (2001), and Pee Pee Maw Maw/The Last Party (2007).
Ilan Bachrach (Performer) is a performer and visual artist from New York City. He is a first generation American son of a Colombian father and Israeli mother, and is a company member of the National Theater of the United States of America, Nature Theater of Oklahoma, The Paper Industry, and an associate artist of Collapsable Giraffe. Performance credits include Nature Theater of Oklahoma’s Life and Times, Episode 1 (Kampnagel); The National Theater of the United States of America’s CHAUTAUQUA! (The Public Theater, PS122, Walker Art Center, Long Wharf Theater, The Hole); Phil Soltanoff’s LA Party (HERE Arts Center, The Hole, Ballet Austin, PS122); video appearances in Radiohole’s Whatever Heaven Allows/ WHA?! (PS122, The Warhol, Walker Art Center); Collapsable Giraffe’s THE LAST CRASH (Collapsable Hole); The Paper Industry’s Sine Wave Goodbye (Ontological); The National Theater of the United States of America’s The NTUSA's Moliere's Don Juan (The Chocolate Factory). Bachrach has a BA in English and a BS in Theater from Skidmore College and has trained with Siti Company, Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, Phil Soltanoff, Will Bryan and others.
Liz Sargent (Performer) is the director and costume/installation designer for her performance installations that are mainly made for site-specific spaces. Sargent’s work has been produced by Danspace Project City/Dans, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Sitelines, Dance Theater Workshop, The Chocolate Factory, Piccolo Spoleto, Chez Bushwick, Abrons Art Center, and Mount Tremper Arts. Sargent is a graduate of University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Contemporary Dance. While she has focused particularly on her performance installations she has also been active in education as a movement specialist at Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, and as an arts administrator with Dance Theater Workshop, J Mandle Performance, Noemie Lafrance, Catherine Bay (The Snow White Project), Mount Tremper Arts, and event coordinator for the New York Dance and Performance Awards. Sargent has worked with various artists and companies in NYC as a dancer and set and costume designer including Jim Findlay, Jonah Boaker, Aynsley Vandenbroucke Movement Group, Third Rail Dance / Zach Morris, Stephanie Sleeper / Studio A.I.R., and others.
Chet Mazur (Performer) has previously worked with director Jim Findlay in Collapsable Giraffe’s Witch Mountain/Black Tarantula (2001). Mazur is front man of the NYC punk band The Mobile Homos (1998 – 2000), and is a regular participant in the stage shows of the bands Alice Donut and Thrust, performing throughout New York, the U.S., Canada and Europe, Mazur’s occasional film acting has included several projects with Lewis Klahr. He appears as himself in the documentary Diary of a New York Thief.
Botanica was made possible with support from The Princess Grace Foundation, Baryshnikov Art Center, Bel Geddes Foundation, Nancy Quinn Fund, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council's Swing Space Program, Creative Capital MapFund, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs and New York State Council on the Arts.