The Nerve Tank's THE MAIDEN Makes World Premiere at La MaMa Tonight
A modern-day Hades gets more than he bargained for from a precocious Persephone in this spring's world premiere of "The Maiden," a rowdy reboot of the ancient Greek abduction myth by acclaimed genre-bending theater company The Nerve Tank. From tonight, March 28th to April 13th, The Nerve Tank will adapt the raw, downtown ambiance of The Club at La MaMa to the immersive production's setting: a dark trailer-park disco, replete with original music by multidisciplinary artist Admiral Grey.
Mirroring the act of performance itself, Persephone will give up trying to live in her memories and embrace the present. While Hades, commanding a wildly designed chariot, parties himself into a lustful frenzy, his kidnapped queen will evolve from innocent abductee to a real ruler in her own right.
The Nerve Tank's fascination with Persephone took root last fall, when the company enthralled audiences at midtown's Grace Plaza with "Glory Road," a site-specific exploration of the Sisyphus myth. In "The Maiden," the nature goddess takes center stage just in time for spring, which according to lore marks her annual reprieve from underworld confinement.
Founded in 2006 by director/choreographer Melanie S. Armer and writer/conceptualist Chance D. Muehleck, The Nerve Tank was named one of New York Theatre Experience's People of the Year in 2011. The company has won acclaim for its upending of
traditional performance methods, resulting in works like "The Attendants" and "Opal" that cross genres and challenge audiences to move beyond conventional theatrical mores.
"The Maiden" combines choreographed movement by Armer with Muehleck's original and found text, culled from sources ranging from Mary Shelley to P. Diddy. Armer, who has previously directed The Black Party, The Saint at Large's annual bacchanal at the Roseland Ballroom, currently serves as creative director of the Cosmic Opera, the massive dance spectacle series at the Hammerstein Ballroom. Costumes are designed by the acclaimed designer Miodrag Guberinic, who has collaborated with Armer on The Black Party and Cosmic Opera.
"The Club at La MaMa offers a perfect backdrop for our vision of a raw, low-budget nightclub haunted by lost souls," said Armer. "While addressing larger questions regarding power and the nature of performance, 'The Maiden' will serve up a dazzling late-night spectacle where audience members can lose themselves in the visceral impact of the piece."
An original score will be composed and performed live by Admiral Grey, accompanied by the play's Chorus. A musical and theatrical iconoclast, Admiral Grey first gained acclaim in 2009 for her bizarro cabaret Poppy! An Enchanted Evening with Poppy Bulova, which she wrote, composed, directed, and performed. With a style ranging from singer-songwriter to no-wave noise and everything in between, she has been called "the anti-Karen O" by avid fan Lydia Lunch.
"It will be one part hot digital rave and one part electro-folk mad-hatter peanut gallery," said Admiral Grey.
Credits for The Maiden are as follows:
Concept/Text: Chance D. Muehleck
Direction/Choreography/Scenic Design: Melanie S. Armer
Composer/Lead Chorus: Admiral Grey
Persephone: Robin Kurtz
Hades: Mark William Lindberg
Chorus: Brandt Adams
Chorus: James "Face" Y u
Demeter: Karen Grenke
Lighting Design: Solomon Weisbard
Costume Design: Miodrag Guberinic
Contraption Design: Greg Henderson and Melanie S. Armer
About The Nerve Tank: Named One to Watch in 2010 by BroadwayWorld, The Nerve Tank is a world-class innovator in theatrical performance. Founded by Melanie S. Armer and Chance D. Muehleck, the company collaborates with actors and designers in a spirit of artistic adventure and remodels traditional performance methods. The company combines elements of popular culture, mediated image, and physical presence to test lines of engagement between spectator and live event.
Based in New York, they have staged works at chashama, FringeNYC, Dixon Place, University Settlement, Incubator Arts Project, Brookfield Place Winter Garden, the Grace Building Plaza, and Pittsburgh's Flux Festival. From 2008 to 2010, they were the resident theatre company of the Brooklyn Lyceum. In 2011, The Nerve Tank was named a Person of the Year by the New York Theatre Experience.
About La MaMa: Dedicated to the artist and all aspects of the theatre, La MaMa provides a supportive home for artists and takes risks on unknown work. An integral part of New York City's cultural landscape, La MaMa has a worldwide reputation for producing daring work in theatre, dance, performance art, and music that defies form and transcends boundaries of language, race, and culture. Founded in 1961 by theatre pioneer and legend Ellen Stewart, La MaMa is a global organization with creative partners and dedicated audiences around the world.
La MaMa presents an average of 60-70 productions annually, most of which are world premieres. To date, over 3,500 productions have been presented at La MaMa with artists from more than 70 nations. Honored with more than 30 OBIE Awards, dozens of Drama Desk and Bessie Awards, La MaMa's programming is culturally diverse, cross-disciplinary and draws audiences from all walks of life.