GHOST CARD Comes to Socrates Sculpture Park This September
Culture shock. Loss of a parent. Gambling addiction. A psychedelic gnome. These and other stories will come to life this September in Hassan Christopher and Megan Weaver's tribute to the mundane and epic moments that occur at tables, in a site-responsive dance theater collage of crowdsourced true stories presented free to the public at Socrates Sculpture Park. Ghost Card will play September 17 from 2:00-4:00PM.
Ghost Card was originally inspired by and premiered upon Allan and Ellen Wexler's public art sculpture Two Too Large Tables at Hudson River Park. The adaptation of Ghost Card at Socrates Sculpture Park presented on September 17 will be the first of a series of neighborhood-specific adaptations, to be staged throughout the boroughs of New York City.
Conceived by director/choreographer Hassan Christopher and director/playwright Megan Weaver, Ghost Card features 28 true crowdsourced stories, half of which are new additions contributed by Socrates Sculpture Park visitors. Together these stories represent over 200 collected over the past year, all prompted by the word "table." In performance the stories are revealed in chance order through an interactive game of cards played between a band of "hungry ghosts" and the audience. The ghosts "feed" on the stories through movement, improvisation and spoken text. The experience is augmented by a digital deck of cards and immersive story soundscape accessible via smartphone.
Audience feedback for the premiere of Ghost Card was overwhelmingly positive. "I felt surrounded by the warmth of a memory," recalled one audience member. "That feeling stayed with me for days after the performance." Another described the performance as "mesmerizing. Part StoryCorps, part miming, and part Walking Dead."
Ghost Card is the first collaboration between Megan Weaver and Hassan Christopher, who have individually created original contemporary performance across the country. These include Weaver's Cause of Failure, a magic-realist play heralded as "buoyant, truthful and devastating" by the New York Theater Review and counted among NYTheater.com's Best of FringeNYC 2012, and Christopher's Move Your Meet: Strange Encounters in Public Spaces, which earned the Lester Horton Innovator Award and whose "skill, charm and appetite for creative adventure" were lauded by the LA Times.
"It is a gift for an artist to experience their work through the eyes of another," said visual artist and educator Ellen Wexler. "Megan Weaver and Hassan Christopher, translating our public sculpture Two Too Large Tables into Ghost Card is one of these gifts. Most artists prefer to create alone, but the most interesting works often come from collaborations between art forms. This interaction between Dance - fluid and fleeting - and Sculpture - solid and enduring - enriches both."
"Ghost Card uses our project Two Too Large Tables as a generator for personal stories," added her collaborator, the architect, designer and fine artist Allan Wexler. "We are reminded of past table events: the family Seder at Passover, closing the deal at a conference table, building a bird house with your grandchild at the basement workbench...The table can stir memory and activate language. It can absorb identity and reveal secrets."
"The unity and fragmentation inherent in Two Too Large Tables inspired us to explore diverse individual stories as a frame for a shared human condition," said Hassan Christopher. "In adapting the performance to Socrates Sculpture Park we have the opportunity to evolve the piece from physical sculpture to a more abstract form of social sculpture, exploring the idea of "tableness" as a repository for gathering, communion and sharing diverse perspectives." Added co-creator Megan Weaver, "By adapting not only the choreography but the content itself to the Socrates Sculpture Park community, Ghost Card becomes a reflection of its own audience - or rather a refraction, a performance collage of the private perspectives and experiences that make up a group of strangers."
"There's no better platform than Socrates Sculpture Park to collect and share stories from Queens," said John Hatfield, Socrates Sculpture Park Executive Director. "From the artists who are working in our studio to the local residents who are visiting their neighborhood park to the kids in our workshops and audiences of our exhibitions, there are literally thousands of stories flowing from the park that could be imagined as performance for this unique opportunity."
Ghost Card will be performed at Socrates Sculpture Park on September 17 from 2:00-4:00PM. Admission is FREE (RSVP required). RSVP to reserve a spot at ghostcardshow.com/rsvp or www.artful.ly/ghostcard.
Audience is advised to bring a fully charged smartphone and headphones in order to access the online soundscape that accompanies the performance.
The production will feature Alexander Bianchi, Yuki Fukui, Beth Griffith, Naomi King, Katrina Leung, Lorenzo Sariñana, and Skye Van Rensselaer. The creative team will include costume designs by enfant gâté, props design by Adam Wile and sound design by Noel Nichols.
About Hassan Christopher: Hassan is a director, choreographer, writer, visual artist and performer. He creates experimental and cross-disciplinary movement driven works informed by contemporary/urban movement aesthetics investigating the relationship between arts, culture and social ecology. His most recent projects include collaborating and performing in Kelly and Gerard's Timelining (2015) at the Guggenheim, ANIMIS Movement (2013) a cross-disciplinary collaboration exploring the impact of globalization on indigenous cultures and Echo Body, an ongoing work of visual art, new media and solo movement improvisations based on his original series of digital movement illustrations. Other credits include co-directing and choreographing Sable and Battalion's groundbreaking J.O.B. the Hip-Hopera, and work for Comedy Central as a choreographer & movement director. He has received the Lester Horton Innovator Award, an NACCP award for best stage choreography, a New York Musical Festival Award for excellence in direction and choreography, and numerous nominations including LA Drama Critics award, an Ovation award and Dance Magazine's 25 Companies to Watch for his upstart Company of Strangers Project (2003-2007). His original works have been performed / screened at festivals and venues including REDCAT, Grand Performances, Highways, Anatomy Riot, Dance Moving Forward Festival, Garden Series at UCLA, Dixon Place Underexposed Festival NYC, Dance Camera West, Dances Made to Order, One to Echo and other alternative / site-specific locations. Additionally, he has created over 30 original works as a guest choreographer and teaching artist for Southern California college dance programs including LMU, UCLA, California Institute of the Arts, California State University Los Angeles, Scripps University and the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in Hollywood and New York.
About Megan Weaver: Megan is a director specializing in devised, multimedia, and site-specific theater. She facilitates rigorously physical collaborations with cross-disciplinary ensembles, integrating digital media, mask, puppetry, live music and unconventional spaces to create new works. Recent directing credits include An Apple Today (Communal Spaces/site specific), Twelfth Night, Eurydice (George Fox University); Ile, The Long Voyage Home and others (Mystic Seaport), The 7 Layers of Bastian Bachman (site specific, The Phoenix Icehouse); Nation, The Fall of the House of Escher, POVV [prisoner of view/point of war], ¡Bocòn! (Arizona State University). Recent playwriting: The Belief Project (FullStop Collective/IRT); POVV (devised; lead writer); Cause of Failure (FullStop Collective/Kraine Theater; Indie Theater Now's Best of Fringe2012). Her works have been recognized by the AriZoni Theatre Awards, New York Innovative Theater Awards, KCACTF Meritorious Achievement Awards and the Connecticut Council on Culture and Tourism. She has served as Artistic Director of Performance at Mystic Seaport and is currently the Executive Artistic Director of FullStop Collective. Training: O'Neill Theater Center National Theater Institute, The Wooster Group, Siti Company, and Sojourn Theatre. BA Theatre, George Fox University; MFA Directing, Arizona State University.
Allan and Ellen Wexler are a collaborative team involved in interdisciplinary projects that have included architecture, public and private art commissions and museum education environments. They cultivate new ideas and innovation by dissolving the boundaries between the fine arts and the applied arts, between furniture design, architecture and theatrical performance, between sculpture and interactive exhibition design, and between the practice and the research of architecture.
About Allan Wexler: Allan has worked in the fields of architecture, design and fine art for 45 years. He is represented by the Ronald Feldman Gallery in New York City and teaches in the School of Constructed Environments at Parsons the New School for Design in New York City. Allan's works explore human activity and the built environment. He works as an investigator using series, permutations and chance rather than searching for definitive solutions. He makes buildings, furniture, vessels and utensils as backdrops and props for everyday, ordinary human activity. The works isolate, elevate, and monumentalize our daily rituals: dining, sleeping, and bathing. And they, in turn, become mechanisms that activate ritual, ceremony and movement, turning these ordinary activities into theater.
About Ellen Wexler: Ellen is a visual artist and art educator. Her recent works utilize ink, pencil, and oil to explore shadow, light, surface, texture, memory and souvenir. Wexler also develops art curriculums and installations. Projects include: IN-SITES Lower East Side Artists Re-Think Neighborhood Spaces for the Abrons Art Center in NYC, A Year of Thinking Visually for NYC Board of Education, ARTWALLS for Chase Bank partnering with New York City Board of Education, The Changing Face of American Portraiture for the Whitney Museum, Aesthetic Close-Ups for NYC Board of Education and design curriculum for public schools with the Abrons Art Center. Clients include Arts for Transit in NYC, New York City Board of Education Percent for Arts, Central Park Conservancy in NYC, Cleveland Public Art, Santa Monica Department of Cultural Affairs in Santa Monica CA and the Albany Institute of History and Art.
About Socrates Sculpture Park: Founded in 1986, Socrates Sculpture Park is t only site in the New York Metropolitan area specifically dedicated to providing artists with opportunities to create an exhibit large-scale sculpture and multi-media installations in a unique outdoor environment that encourages strong interaction between artists, artworks and the public. The park's existence is based on the belief that reclamation, revitalization and creative expression are essential to the survival, humanity and improvement of our urban environment.
For more, visit www.ghostcardshow.com.
Check out a trailer for Ghost Card below!