LUSH VALLEY Plays HERE September 7-24
Lush Valley is set to play September 7- 24 at HERE (145 Sixth Avenue), this highly interactive guided journey is shaped nightly by real-time audience feedback. Lush Valley invites audience members to abandon their spectator hats and become key players in fashioning an alternative of-the-moment national ethos through live video interviews, citizenship tests, lectures, voting procedures and historical hallucinations while creating an ad hoc community within the show. This HERE Resident Artist Production kicks off HERE's 2011-12 Season.
Lush Valley is hatched by the following artists: HERE Artistic Director Kristin Marting, dramaturg Mahayana Landowne and video artist Tal Yarden, writers Robert Lyons and Qui Nguyen, designers Oana Botez Ban, Christopher Kuhl, Clint Ramos and Jane Shaw, and performers Marc Bovino, Karyn De Young, Matthew Lewis, Irene Longshore, Rudy Mungaray, Mariana Newhard, Abigail Ramsay, Suzi Takahashi, Dax Valdes and Reed Whitney. Created by this diverse ensemble of collaborators, Lush Valley takes the pulse of contemporary culture while stripping away assumptions about the American Dream that have been embraced, consciously and unconsciously, for generations.
Lush Valley is set in a government office staffed by eight immigration officers who process audience members nightly for citizenship to Lush Valley. The Lush Valley experience features everything from intimate monologues delivered to individual audience members to surreal comic book group scenes and choreographed sequences of bureaucratic alienation performed by the entire company. Within this complex framework, a narrative built around the hopes and worries of a cadre of immigration officers transpires as they question each other's motives and ethics in granting and denying citizenship. During the show each night, real-time audience feedback shared through person-to-person interaction, texting, on-site kiosks and online social media is incorporated into the proceedings. This production has evolved through a very open, public collaboration that helped define the project through online dialogue (via blog and facebook), in-person community think tanks, video interviews and public art actions.
This production was developed through 8 public think tanks, various retreats and workshops including: a retreat at NACL in the Catskills, a participatory session at CUNY's PRELUDE, a workshop at Baruch College, the art action Picket Dreams (where the Lush Valley team invited 1,000 passers-by to paint their personal American Dream onto a plank and add it to a growing white picket fence of 1,000 American Dreams). An excerpt from Lush Valley was presented as a work in development at HERE's Culturemart festival in January 2011. Most recently, the creative team enjoyed a weekend at the Figment Festival on Governor's Island with a project called Identity Politics (during which they roamed with ballot boxes enticing citizens to vote on elements of Lush Valley's national identity) and a developmental residency at the Playwrights Center in Minneapolis.
Creative Team Biographies:
Kristin Marting (Director) has constructed 24 works for the stage, including 10 original hybrid works, 8 adaptations of novels & short stories and 5 classic plays. She works in a collaborative, process-driven way to fuse different disciplines into a cohesive whole. Recent projects include Orpheus, a collaborative alt-musical; James Scruggs' solo work Disposable Men and his recent new play (RUS)H. She also directed Sounding and Dead Tech (collaborative hybrid works inspired by Ibsen texts), both of which received MAP Fund awards. Her works have toured the US. She has collaborated on several large-scale political action art events, including The Line (2004). For 15 years, she has been developing a unique hybrid directorial/choreographic form that features a "gestural vocabulary" used both as an emotional signifier and as a choreographic element. This vocabulary, though specific to each project, is in a state of constant development with an ever-growing set of permanent gestures being added to the repertoire. She is a co-founder and the Artistic Director of HERE, where she cultivates artists and programs all events for two performance spaces-including 14 OBIE-award winners - for an annual audience of 45,000. She created and co-curates HARP, HERE's Artist Residency Program. For 19 years, she curated The American Living Room, an annual summer festival featuring over 30 new works by emerging artists; and for 8 years, QUEER@HERE, an annual festival of LGBT work. She regularly serves on grant panels for NEA, NYSCA, DCA and TCG among others. In 2005, she was honored with a BAX10 Award for Arts Managers. Previously, Marting co-founded and served as co-artistic director of Tiny Mythic Theatre Company for nine years. She served as Robert Wilson's assistant for Hamletmachine and Salome, and as a director for Childrens Theatre at the Berkshire Theatre Festival. She graduated from NYU with honors in 1988. She has lectured at NYU, Harvard, Columbia and Williams College, among others.
Mahayana Landowne (Dramaturg) has worked as a director for over 15 years and served as dramaturg on many of her productions. Her love of research and dramatic structure has drawn her focus to new work. She creates imaginative and dynamic support for collective dramatic visions that transcend daily life. Recent productions directed include: Fairytale Experiment (Rubulad), MIXED (Baruch), This is Way Beyond My Remote Control (at The Wild Project), Picasso Project (Luna Stage), Blue. (Vital Theater), Carcass (Diaspora Drama), Baby Dance (Schoolhouse Theater), The Heiress (The Roundtable Ensemble at the Mint), Machinal (U. of Rochester) and Terrible Infant (Fringe Festival). Musicals include: Spring Bling, Summer in the Hummer and The Dick Cheney Holiday Spectacular (Ace of Clubs), Western Unidad (Ice Factory Festival, Ohio Theater), Post-Code (American Living Room, HERE), Woman's Voices of Union Square (Tenement Museum). Past productions include The Skriker, Antony and Cleopatra, The Seagull, brass logic, Streetcar Named Desire, Obgynt, King Lear and Mud. Affiliations/Fellowships include: Drama League, Lincoln Center Director's Lab 04, Directors Lab West 06, Woman's Project, Second Stage, Playwrights Horizon's Theater School, NYU and Yale School of Drama (NYU, BFA-acting / YSD, MFA-directing). She is also a social political activist. She served as Resident Director for Billionaires for Bush 04-08, Co-executive Production Director of Dance Parade 08,09. Core member Metropolis in Motion 06-. Founder of Radiant Axis, leading workshops in creative expression.
Tal Yarden (Video Designer) has created video designs for numerous shows including Sounding (HERE) and Zoom (ZviDance). He is a frequent collaborator with director Ivo van Hove. Their current projects include Mozart's Idomeneo (La Monnaie, Brussels), Little Foxes (New York Theater Workshop), The Misanthrope (Shaubuhne, Berlin) and Children of the Sun (Toneelgroep Amsterdam). Other recent productions include Cries & Whispers, The Antonioni Project, Angels in America and Roman Tragedies (Toneelgroep Amsterdam) and Wagner's Ring Cycle (Vlaamse Opera). Other work includes Pop! (Yale Repertory), The Night Watcher (Primary Stages), Distracted (Roundabout Theater) and Beast & Liberty City (NYTW). Previous design work includes Pavel Zustiak's Le Petit Mort and Martha Clarke's Kaos in New York and Ivo van Hove's productions of Mourning becomes Electra and Rent, MarK Wing-Davey's Monkey in the Middle and Stephen Petronio's The King is Dead (with Cindy Sherman) and Not Garden. He has also designed for Reza Abdoh's Tight Right White and Quotations from a Ruined City and Tim Feldmann's Twin-Project. In New York he has collaborated with John Jesurun, Jim Simpson, Mikel Rouse, DD Dorvillier, Mia Lawrence, Kyle de Camp, Conway and Pratt, and Margarita Guergue. With Patricia Fox he created the original productions of Corpus Exquisitus and A Dog and Pony Show. In 1994, he co-founded the theater company Chashama for which he created the site-specific shows Jr. Black's Office and Disease Machine. Born in Israel, Yarden grew up in Red Hook, NY. He studied film at Bard College with Adolfas Mekas, Paul Arthur, P. Adam Sidney, Bruce Bailey, Tom Brenner and Ken Ross. He also studied documentary filmmaking with the founder of Cinema Verite, Jean Rouche, at Harvard. During the 80s he made music videos for bands including the Silos, 10,000 Maniacs and Barkmarket. He also designs video installations for commercial events and concerts.
Robert Lyons (Text) is a playwright, director, and the Artistic Director of the two-time OBIE Award-winning Soho Think Tank @ the Ohio Theatre. His most recent play, Nostradamus Predicts the Death of Soho was THE final production at the Ohio Theatre as it closed its doors on 66 Wooster Street after 22 years (soon to reopen as Ohio West in the West Village). Nostradamus Predicts the Death of Soho was also the last play in Robert's NYC trilogy, which included the critically acclaimed Red-HairEd Thomas ("a sweetly fractured fairy tale," The New York Times) and Doorman's Double Duty ("a gem," The New York Times). Lyons' other full-length and short plays include, PR Man, No Meat No Irony, The Naked Anarchist, Dream Conspiracy, Creature of the Deep, No Thanks/Thanks, Vater Knows Best and Floor Boards, which have been presented in NYC by Soho Think Tank, HERE, Project III Ensemble, Clubbed Thumb, The Foundry, Synapse Productions, among others. Commissioned adaptations range from The Possessed by Dostoevsky (with Kristin Marting), to How it Ended by Jay McInerney. He is a MacDowell Fellow, and has an MFA from Brooklyn College (program dir. Mac Wellman). He is also the Artistic Director at Sarah Lawrence College.
Qui Nguyen (Text) is a playwright, screenwriter and Co-Artistic Director of the OBIE Award-winning Vampire Cowboys. Recent scripts include the critically acclaimed Vampire Cowboys productions of The Inexplicable Redemption of Agent G (soon-to-be produced Off-Broadway by Ma-Yi Theater, February 2012), Soul Samurai, Alice in Slasherland, Fight Girl Battle World, Men of Steel and Living Dead in Denmark. Other scripts include Bike Wreck (Ensemble Studio Theatre); Aliens versus Cheerleaders (Keen Teens) the hip-hop musical Krunk Fu Battle Battle (East West Players) and the upcoming She Kills Monsters (commissioned & produced by The Flea in November 2011). Qui is a proud member of New Dramatists, the Ma-Yi Writers Lab, Ensemble Studio Theatre and The Playwrights Center.
Oana Botez-Ban (Costume Design) is a native of Romania. She has designed for major theater, opera and dance companies including The National Theater of Bucharestand and was involved in different international theater festivals such as the Quadrennial Scenography Show in Prague. She is part of the first Romanian theater design catalogue, Scenografica. Since 1999, when she moved to New York, her collaborators in theater, opera, film and dance include RoBert Woodruff, Richard Foreman, Maya Beiser, Richard Schechner, Blanka Zizka, Brian Kulick, Zelda Fichlander, Annie-B Parson & Paul Lazar, Razvan Dinca, Karin Coonrod, Jay Scheib, Evan Ziporyn, Eduardo Machado, Gus Solomon Jr. & Paradigm, Carmen de Lavallade, Dusan Tynek, Rania Ajami, Gisela Cardenas, Tony Speciale, Pavol Liska & Kelly Copper, Matthew Neenan, Molissa Fenley, Zishan Ugurlu, Michael Sexton, Pig Iron Company, The Play Company, Charles Moulton & Janice Garrett, Ripe Time. MFA in Design from NYU/Tisch Schoolof the Arts. Princess Grace Recipient, NEA/TCG Career Development Program 2009-2011.
Christopher Kuhl (Lighting Design) is a lighting, scenic, installation and conceptual designer for new performance, theater, dance and opera. Recent work includes ABACUS (Early Morning Opera. EMPAC), The Elephant Room (Rainpan 43. Philly Live Arts, CTG), Under Polaris (Cloud Eye Control. REDCAT, EXIT Festival Paris, Fusebox Festival Austin), Motherhood Out Loud (Primary Stages), Watch her not know it now (Meg Wolfe. REDCAT), The Author, Eclipsed (Center Theatre Group), Everyone Who Looks Like You, My Mind Is Like A Open Meadow (Hand2Mouth Theatre); Into The Dark Unknown (Holcombe Waller). He also collaborated on the national tours of Ralph Lemon's How Can You Stay in the House All Day and Not Go Anywhere, Victoria Marks' Not about Iraq, David Rousseve's Saudade. Kuhl has worked and made art at REDCAT, On the Boards, The Walker, UCLA Live, BAM, Jacob's Pillow, The Krannert Center, YBCA, Portland Center Stage, Hartford Stage, Dallas Theatre Center, Los Angeles Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Opera Boston, Beijing Music Festival, The Bumbershoot Festival, Queer Zagreb, MAC France, Reed Collage, Columbia College and Duke University. Originally from New Mexico and a graduate of Calarts, Kuhl is the recipient of the 2011 Sherwood Award.
Clint Ramos (Set Design) has recent set and/or costume design credits including The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide...(Public Theater), the New York revival of Angels in America at the Signature Theater, The Winter's Tale in Central Park, Measure for Measure for Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Ruined for Berkeley Rep, Huntington Theater and La Jolla Playhouse. Upcoming projects include Hamlet: Prince of Cuba for the Asolo, Much Ado About Nothing at Shakespeare DC, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom at Huntington and Party People for OSF. He is the recipient of the 2010 Craig Noel Award, 2010 Lucille Lortel Award, 2009 TDF Irene Sharaff Award, 2007 and 2009 ATW Henry Hewes Award, and two Drama Desk nominations. MFA from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.
Jane Shaw (Composition & Sound Design) has recent credits including Sounding at HERE and others Off-Broadway: Hamlet, Merchant of Venice (TFANA/RSC/National Tour/Elliot Norton Nomination), Wife to James Whelan, A Little Journey, Widowing of Mrs. Holroyd (Lortel nom. - Mint), The Coward (Lincoln Center 3), The Sneeze (The Pearl), Liberty City (NYTW), among others. Other New York work: Wind-up Bird Chronicles (Ohio Theater, Edinburgh International Festival 2011), The Wonder (Queen's Company), Rise and Fall of Annie Hall (Theatre Row), CROOKED (Women's Project), As You Like It, Book of Days, Moundbuilders (Juilliard Drama Division), Mariposas, No hay major amigo, ni peor enemigo (Repertorio Español). Credits for Dance include Big Dance Theater (Bessie Award, 2010), Susan Marshall and Company and Regional theater credits include Denver Center Theatre Company (Henry Award Nomination for The Catch), City Theater (Pittsburgh), Capital Rep (Albany), Yale Repertory, Dorset Theater Festival, Merrimack Repertory Theatre. Graduate of Harvard and Yale School of Drama.
Since 1993, the OBIE-winning HERE, Kristin Marting, Artistic Director and Kim Whitener, Producing Director, has been one of New York's premier arts organizations and a leader in the field of producing and presenting new, hybrid performance viewed as a seamless integration of artistic disciplines-theater, dance, music and opera, puppetry, media, visual and installation, spoken word and performance art. Standout productions include Basil Twist's Symphonie Fantastique and Arias with a Twist, Hazelle Goodman's On Edge, Trey Lyford & Geoff Sobelle's all wear bowlers, Young Jean Lee's Songs of the Dragons Flying to Heaven, Corey Dargel's Removable Parts Taylor Mac's The Lily's Revenge and Yoav Gal's Mosheh, among many others. HERE's work is challenging and alternative and offers audiences the opportunity to feel that they are part of something new and fresh.
HERE's core program is the HERE Artist Residency Program (HARP), through which HERE commissions, develops and produces new hybrid theater performances, which are cross-disciplinary works that challenge existing boundaries among media and forms of expression, creating a seamless integration aimed at reflecting the complex age of imagery and information in which we live. As part of the HERE community of artists and audiences, the mid-career Resident Artists show works-in-progress and develop workshop productions (shown in CULTUREMART) over a three-year developmental period, finally mounting full-scale productions. Through HARP, HERE grows innovative artistic work, while offering artists resources and hands-on training in areas such as production planning, marketing, budgeting, grantwriting and touring. Each season, HERE produces four-to-six Resident Artist productions as mainstage works.
Lush Valley plays September 7 - 24 as follows: Wednesday through Monday at 8:30 PM (no show on Tuesday). Tickets are $18 and may be purchased at www.here.org, (212) 352-3101 or at the HERE Box Office (5PM until curtain on show days). HERE is located at 145 Sixth Avenue, one block below Spring Street. For more info, visit www.here.org.