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Bold Works in Performance, Film and Art Set for MASS LIVE ARTS, 7/7-26

Bold Works in Performance, Film and Art Set for MASS LIVE ARTS, 7/7-26

Mass Live Arts, a summer festival of contemporary and experimental performing arts, returns for its second year to Bard College at Simon's Rock in the Berkshires, July 7 - 26. This year's festival presents three New England Premieres of critically-acclaimed, new and remounted works by choreographer Faye Driscoll, theater artists Sibyl Kempson and Mike Iveson Jr, along with two media based performances by director Phil Soltanoff.

In addition to works of live performance, this year's offerings have been expanded to include a Monday night film series July 7, 14, 21 of the Bogeyman Trilogy by seminal theatre director Reza Abdoh (1963-1995), as well as a rotating gallery showcasing visual works by established American theater artists Andrew Schneider (of The Wooster Group), Anne Gridley and Nature Theater of Oklahoma This year will also be the first of an annual benefit dance party on July 20th to raise funds for year-round residencies to commission and develop large-scale new works.

Mass Live Arts 2014 takes place July 7-26, 2014 at The Daniel Arts Center [Bard College at Simon's Rock] 84 Alford Road, Great Barrington, MA 02130. Tickets are on sale now and range $10-30 with $150 all-inclusive Festival Passes.

Combining the abundant cultural appetite of the Berkshires with the world's finest contemporary and experimental theater artists and performers, Mass Live Arts is envisioned by Boston-bred, and Berkshire resident Ilan Bachrach (performer and collaborator with Nature Theater of Oklahoma, The National Theater of the United States of America, Jim Findlay).

"Our inaugural festival last year was more successful than we ever could have hoped for. We brought three major American companies to the Berkshires, sold out more shows than not, and learned that there is a fierce demand in the Berkshires for cutting edge performance. This summer Mass Live Arts is vastly expanding our programming and reach. Audiences begged for more artists, more shows, more hamburgers and we are fully committed to bringing it this summer." -Founder and Artistic Director, Ilan Bachrach


Faye Driscoll kicks off the festival with her newest dance piece Thank You for Coming: Attendance, July 10-12. Thank You For Coming is a series of works which heighten how we experience ourselves in relation to other bodies, other stories, and the spaces we all inhabit. MLA / 14 will present Attendance, the premiere iteration of the series. Individual bodies come together to make something bigger than the sum of their parts - a series of entanglements exploiting how dance and performance have been used as tools to embody knowledge, to pass on experience, and to liberate the id, the erotic, and the fantastical. By imagining a society in which we are all participants in the co-creation of our reality, Attendance asks how performance can create a ritual space of group action and transformation.

Revisiting, refreshing and creating anew, playwright/performer Sibyl Kempson and composer/musician/performer Mike Iveson Jr. bring their critically-acclaimed play, Crime or Emergency, to the second week of MLA, July 16-18. Assuming a post-logical incoherence as the basis for human motivation, feeling, and violence; Crime or Emergency threatens our conceptions of contemporary American theater and identity as we safely understand it. Iveson, with his demonic arrangements of the indigenous music of their native New Jersey, joins Kempson in a rapturous and obsessive melodrama of consciousness. Their dual performance pits them in a life-or-death struggle for the right to devour the soul of the play.

Phil Soltanoff closes out the festival July 24 - 26 with two of his distinctive new media theatrical works, L.A. PARTY and AN EVENING WITH WILLIAM SHATNER ASTERISK. Soltanoff, an award-winning director, challenges familiar forms, build links among seemingly incompatible media and materials, and employs new technologies in surprising and human ways.

In L.A. PARTY, a fanatical vegan falls off the purity wagon one night, plunging head first into a wild, drug-induced bender in the City of Angels. Six performers take the stage to produce a compelling composite human being recounting this hilarious short story, mixed with live video.

AN EVENING WITH WILLIAM SHATNER ASTERISK meticulously catalogues and remixes everything William Shatner ever said on the original Star Trek series. Phil Soltanoff with Joe Diebes (writer) and Rob Ramirez (systems designer) create a dynamic video oracle of the lead commander on the USS Enterprise - expanding our universe on contemporary arts and science as only Captain Kirk can.

"Hilarious yet eerie, playful yet purposeful, oblique yet precise, conceiver-director Phil Soltanoff's An Evening with William Shatner Asterisk proved a dialectical was, pardon the expression, fascinating." - Robert Avila, San Francisco Bay Guardian

All performances begin at 8pm and are $30. Info and Tickets on sale at


A new initiative for 2014, Mass Live Arts will present Monday night performance films from influential experiential theater artists and companies. This year will focus on three seminal works by acclaimed playwright/director, Reza Abdoh: The Hip-hop Waltz of Eurydice (Los Angeles Theatre Center 1990), Bogeyman (Los Angeles Theatre Center,1992) and The Law Of Remains (The Hotel Diplomat, NYC, 1993) which make-up the Bogeyman Trilogy. Screenings will be on three consecutive Monday nights beginning July 7th at 7pm, followed by discussions with former Abdoh company members and collaborators.

Reza Abdoh (1963-1995) was an Iranian-born American director and playwright known for his large-scale, experimental theatrical productions. A prolific artist even in his short creative life, Mr. Abdoh died of AIDS in 1995 at the age of 32 having created an impressive body of stage spectacles known for their sensory overload, ferocious energy and hallucinatory dreamscapes. With his company Dar A Luz, formed in 1991, Abdoh created plays that have made a major impact on American experimental theatre.

All film screenings take place on Mondays (July 7, 14, 21) at 7pm and are $10. Full Schedule and Tickets on sale at


Acting Stranger by Wooster Group video designer/performer Andrew Schneider (on display July 7-13) is the evolving document of an ongoing project exploring intimacy, relationship, and experience between strangers. The project is the process. Schneider writes short scenes - no exposition, no inciting incident, no denouement - then advertises a need for participants via craigslist. Schneider and the stranger enact the scenes, which are video documented, without rehearsal, a discussion or oftentimes having ever met. Previous scenes will be on display at the Mass Live Arts Gallery housed in the Daniel Arts Center for a week with new scenes being created around the Berkshire community. Project descriptions and ways to participate can be found online:

Empire! by Nature Theater of Oklahoma (on display July 22-26) is a project inspired by Andy Warhol's 1964 silent black-and-white 16mm film Empire, a slow motion (8hrs. 5 minutes in length) static shot of the Empire State Building from late afternoon into night. Nature Theater will remaking the Warhol original - all eight plus hours of it - by creating an animated version from literally thousands of 4"x6" individual drawings on index cards of the Empire State Building from local participants all around the world. Mass Live Arts will display what Nature Theater has collected and processed up until this point at the Mass Live Arts Gallery housed in the Daniel Arts Center for a week and also ask audience members, students of Simon's Rock and community members to take part by contributing drawings. Full project details and how to participate can be found online at

All exhibitions are free of charge and take place at the Mass Live Arts Gallery at the Daniel Arts Center at Bard College at Simon's Rock, 84 Alford Road, Great Barrington, MA 01230. Details and ways to participate online at

About Mass Live Arts: Mass Live Arts (MLA) is a festival of experimental theater and performance taking place at the Daniel Arts Center [Bard College at Simon's Rock] in Great Barrington. Founded by performer/visual artist Ilan Bachrach, MLA is dedicated to presenting bold new works of contemporary and experimental performance in the Berkshires. Mass Live Arts offers works created by key American companies and artists that are pushing the boundaries of live performance. | | Twitter & Instagram: @MLA #MLA14

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