Lebanese Theater Artist Rabih Mroue to Return to the US with 33 RPM AND A FEW SECONDS, 4/29-30
Asia Society, PEN World Voices Festival and Performance Space 122 present the New York City premiere of 33 RPM and a Few Seconds, a brave new work by Lebanese theater artists Rabih Mroué and Lina Saneh, as part of the 10th Annual PEN World Voices Festival. A multi-media theater performance devoid of actors, 33 RPM and a Few Seconds reconstructs the final moments of a life after the suicide of a young Lebanese man.
On the occasion of Mroué's 2012 U.S. debut, The New York Times said, "This is Mr. Mroué's long overdue and too brief American debut; he should come back, and soon." 33 RPM and a Few Seconds marks his eagerly anticipated return to the U.S. as part of a tour that includes Chicago, Austin, Cincinnati and Troy, NY prior to the New York City engagement.
In 33 RPM and a Few Seconds, a young Lebanese man takes his own life, and in a farewell letter, declares that his reasons are personal and have nothing to do with politics. The man is dead but everything lives on, vibrating with transmissions in his bedroom: a television, an answering machine, a computer - fragments of communication. As time pauses and begins anew, a history of the man is pieced together, though never fully constructed.
Three performances of 33 RPM and a Few Seconds will take place April 29 at 8pm and April 30 at 7pm and 9pm. Tickets are $20 ($17 for students, seniors, $15 for PEN and Asia Society Members) and can be purchased online at asiasociety.org or by phone at 212.288.6400. The Asia Society is located at 725 Park Ave in New York City.
Rabih Mroué lives and works in Beirut. He is an actor, director, playwright, and visual artist who began putting on his own plays, performances, and videos in 1990. His unique interdisciplinary work exists at the crossroads of theater, performance, and the visual arts. Mroué's storytelling pits facts against made-up truths and propaganda that are imbued with a peculiar sense of humor. He is contributing Editor to Kalamon (Lebanon) and TDR (New York), one of the founders and Executive Board of the Beirut Art Center Association (BAC) and a 2013/14 fellow at The International Research Center in Berlin. In Beirut, he is known for controversial work that reflects his country's political climate. The Lebanese Interior Ministry banned his 2007 performance piece about that country's civil war, How Nancy Wished That Everything Was an April Fools' Joke. The ban was later reversed. In 2008, he starred alongside Catherine Deneuve in the film I Want to See, which detailed the effects of the Lebanese Civil War. In 2010, he was awarded the PS122's Spalding Gray Award. A respected visual artist, Mroué made his UK debut in 2011 with the solo exhibition, The People Are Demanding, at Iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts) at the Rivington Place gallery. Previous theater works include: Riding On A Cloud, 33 tours et quelques second, The Pixelated Revolution, The Inhabitants of images, Who's Afraid of Representation, among others.
Lina Saneh is a Lebanese actress, director, playwright and member of Home Workspace Curricular Committee-Ashkal Alwan. She was a professor at Haute Ecole d'Art et de Design in Geneva (2008-13) and a fellow at the International Research Center "Interweaving Performance Cultures"/ Freie Universität in Berlin (2009/10) Her theater works include: 33 RPM and a Few Seconds, Photo-Romance, Lina Saneh Body-P-Arts Project (a website project and installation), Someone Must Have Been Telling Lies About Me (vidéo-installation), Appendice, I Had A Dream, Mom (vidéo), Biokhraphia, Extrait d'Etat Civil, among others.
Credits: 33 RPM and a Few Seconds is presented by PEN World Voices Festival and Performance Space 122, in association with Asia Society.
About PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature: More than 100 writers from 30 nations will gather in New York City to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature, April 28-May 4. The 2014 Festival takes its inspiration from a long line of writers who have dared to step out on the edge, risking their positions, careers, and sometimes their lives to speak out against the status quo. "Many of the finest writers in the world, the ones whose voices speak most eloquently to us, are also, all too often, the most exposed and vulnerable, because they are so prominently visible," said Festival Chairman Salman Rushdie. "Yet these are the voices we must listen to, the voices that show us how the world joins up."
The Festival was founded in 2005 by Salman Rushdie as a means to encourage cross-cultural dialogue. A program of PEN American Center, the Festival promotes meaningful conversation between authors, thought-leaders, and New Yorkers on issues central to individual rights and freedoms. Participants in this year's Festival include Adonis, Boris Akunin, Martin Amis, Sebastian Barry, Lydia Davis, Timothy Garton Ash, A.M. Homes, Ivan Klíma, László Krasznahorkai, Adam Michnik, Paul Muldoon, Shirin Neshat, Luc Sante, Colm Tóibín, Sjón, and Tracy K. Smith. www.penworldvoices.org.
About Asia Society: Asia Society is the leading educational organization dedicated to promoting mutual understanding and strengthening partnerships among peoples, leaders and institutions of Asia and the United States in a global context. Across the fields of arts, business, culture, education, and policy, the Society provides insight, generates ideas, and promotes collaboration to address present challenges and create a shared future.
Founded in 1956 by John D. Rockefeller 3rd, Asia Society is a nonpartisan, nonprofit educational institution with offices in Hong Kong, Houston, Los Angeles, Manila, Mumbai, New York, San Francisco, Seoul, Sydney and Washington, DC. Visit asiasociety.org for more information.
About Performance Space 122: For over 3 decades, Performance Space 122 has been a hub for contemporary performance and an active member of the cultural community in N.Y.C. and across the globe. In 1980, the organization was founded by Charles Moulton, Charles Dennis, Tim Miller and Peter Rose to offer artists rehearsal and performance opportunities in the revamped cafeteria of a former New York City public school (PS 122) at the corner of First Avenue and Ninth Street in New York's East Village. In 1986, under the artistic direction of Mark Russell, the organization doubled its programming by converting the gymnasium on the first floor of the school building into a second performance space. Over the past 30 Years, PS122 has brought forward not only artists, like John Leguizamo, Jonathan Ames, Eric Bogosian, the Blue Man Group or Annie Dorsen who have gone on to make waves in commercial arenas on Broadway or at HBO, but also artists who have triggered national debate about political and ethical issues, like the original "NEA 4", Ethyl Eichelberger (HIV/AIDS activist), or more recently Young Jean Lee and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (contemporary social critiques), as well as artists who have radicalized aesthetic form like Meredith Monk, Spalding Gray, Ron Athey, Richard Maxwell, Elevator Repair Service, Radiohole, Adrienne Truscott, Verdensteatret (Norway), Rabih Mroué (Lebanon), Philippe Quesne (France), and Maria Hassabi (Cyprus).
In the past 7 years, under the curatorial vision of Artistic Director Vallejo Gantner, PS122 has developed a set of Presenting Programs that include commissions and presentations of New York, national and international artists working in contemporary performance, theater, dance, multi-disciplinary, new music, media and installations. All of the programs at PS122 have been designed to further the creative process for our artists and launch them into more sustainable careers. In the last two years PS122 has shifted focus to better serve audiences, both locally, nationally and internationally by advocating and building partnerships across the globe. The results of these efforts have benefited our artists by increasing their local exposure and earning capacity, and by expanding their touring opportunities and therefore also the life-span and reach of their works.
Beginning this season, PS122 has embarked on one of the most unusual and potentially radical shifts in the 30-year history of Performance Space 122, its artists, and its community, including a re-structuring of our artist support, a business model overhaul, and the renovation of our building. As PS122's East Village home undergoes a much-needed interior renovation supported primarily by the City of New York, DCA and DDC, PS122's core activity continues to be providing audiences with contemporary live performance. Visit ps122.org for more information.