CalArts Center for New Performance Announces 2019-20 Season

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CalArts Center for New Performance Announces 2019-20 Season

The CalArts Center for New Performance (CNP) announces its current season for the 2019-2020 year. The professional producing arm of California Institute of the Arts, CNP provides a unique artist- and project-driven framework for the development and realization of original theater, music, dance, media, and interdisciplinary projects. Extending the progressive work carried out at CalArts into a direct dialogue with professional communities at the local, national, and international levels, CNP offers an alternative model to support emerging directions in the performing arts.

"This season brings exemplary artists from around the world together to create thrilling work," says CNP Artistic Director Travis Preston. "The depth, quality, diversity, and breadth of our season expresses the truly singular place CalArts has become in expanding the language, discourse, and boundaries of contemporary performance."

The season kicks off with the American premiere of WITKACY / Two-Headed Calf, a co-production between CalArts Center for New Performance (CNP)and Studio Teatrgaleria in Warsaw. Artistic Director of Warsaw's Studio Teatrgaleria, Natalia Korczakowska is recognized as one of the most exciting theater artists emerging from Eastern Europe. Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz(popularly known as Witkacy) was a Polish playwright, painter, novelist, philosopher, and avant- gardist. In WITKACY / Two-Headed Calf, a company of Polish and CalArts artists explore Witkacy's work against the endless and wild California nature. The plot unfolds through the journey of a neurotic boy and his family from New Guinea through Sydney to the desert. Witkacy believed that nature can be a source of metaphysical experience that gives us a chance to protect our individuality from the soulless social machine of Western civilization. WITKACY / Two-Headed Calf is a journey from Poland to the California desert - and also a journey into the depths of oneself. Supported by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, Trust for Mutual Understanding, and Polish Consul General Jarosław Łasiński, this is the latest stage of a long-term collaboration between CNP, Korczakowska, and Studio Teatrgaleria. (REDCAT, October 18-25)

CNP presents the latest project from Brazilain multidisciplinary artist and CalArts alumni Peter Mark. HA-M-LET is a multi-lingual, multimedia performance housed within a projection cube. Sourcing material from Shakespeare, pop internet culture, home videos, and 3D animation, the projected image becomes landscape, body, narrative, and biography -- shifting at a rate in homage to Hamlet's own velocity of thought. Filming his own Brazilian parents in the roles of King, Queen, and Ghost, Mark renders the conflict as both textual and real, simultaneously liberated and confined by the layers of media. (Hauser & Wirth, November 8)

Mexican based company Lagartijas Tiradas al Sol (Lizards Lying in the Sun) brings their latest project to Los Angeles. In El Camino Donde Nosotros Lloramos (The Road Where We Weep), the artists investigate the migration of people from the Mixtec Region in Oaxaca to the state of California. Why - and since when - do certain human beings have the right to cross certain borders while others cannot? How much does migration have to do with economic poverty? What are the existing factors causing many people to leave the Mixtec Region? How is California and the Mixtec Region reconfigured with the presence or absence of migrants? How do Mixtec children perceive this phenomenon from their communities in Mexico? This project is supported through Duende CalArts, a CNP initiative dedicated to developing and producing innovative work emerging from Latinx and Latin American communities and sources. (CalArts, February)

CalArts alumna and playwright Virginia Grise premieres her new project rasgos asiáticos, about the fluidity of borders, time, and the historic confluence of China, Mexico, and the United States. A multimedia performance installation, this work aims to re-present a history of Chinese settlement in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands that's been (imperfectly) erased through music, letters, poems, photographs, and a stack of old records. Grise was the winner of the 2010 Yale Drama Series Award for her play blu. This project is supported through Duende Duende CalArts. (Los Angeles, March)

CNP also hosts its ongoing Artist-in-Residence series. Acclaimed theater-makers from around the world collaborate on projects in various stages of development with current CalArts students, faculty, staff, and alumni -- infusing the work of such transformative artists with the talent, vitality, and impulses of emerging artists in the CalArts community.

Director Roberta Uno and writer/performer Dahlak Brathwaite return to CalArts to continue the development of Try/Step/Trip (formerly Spiritrials), inspired by Brathwaite's hip-hop album, which layers characters, poetic verse, and dialogue over the content of songs to create a theatrical piece that blurs the lines between hip-hop and dramatic performance. In Try/Step/Trip, addiction, religion, and the law intersect at a state sponsored rehabilitation program. The piece examines the factors that have misplaced young Black men in a rite of passage through the criminal justice system, chronicling the journey of criminalization and the struggle for vindication and decriminalization in the eyes of the law and society. (CalArts, September)

In association with Loose Change Productions, CNP presents an Artist-in-Residence workshop of When This War Is Over, You're Going to Get ItGeorge written by Emilo Cruz and directed by Juli Crockett. The play is a '60s-style, political, Artaud-inspired "open theatre" meditation on the brutal logic of warfare and the capacity of humankind to endure (or exploit) the most depraved and hopeless of circumstances. An African-American born of Cuban descent, Emilio Cruz continued deliberation on the mythic dimensions of human experience and expression carried through his multiple identities and activities as a visual artist, poet, playwright, and musician. (CalArts, November)

Award winning playwright Octavio Solis (Mother Road, Dreamlandia) returns to continue developing his original interdisciplinary piece based on Jean Sibelius' orchestral work, Scene with Cranes. A low-income Mexican-American family suffers the loss of the youngest Son, who now moves like a ghost through the house. The Mother puts on her Son's earphones and listens to the last piece of music he played before he died. The lighting is altered, and time slows down. The characters move in super slow-motion, in a kind of Butoh dance of gunfire and distress. One can almost see bullets strike the walls, which shatter like glass, but the only sound is the music from Scene With Cranes. This project is supported through Duende CalArts. (CalArts, April)

The CNP/Duende CalArts documentary Finding Shelter explores the development and aftermath of Shelter, the critically acclaimed 2016 play about unaccompanied Central American youth making the hazardous journey to the United States. Based on extensive interviews with undocumented Central American youth and those around them, Shelter was written and conceived by the film's director, Marissa Chibas. The documentary focuses on the young asylum-seekers whose real-life experiences informed the play, their two-year involvement in the project, the impact on the creative team involved, and performances in East LA's Lincoln Park and Washington DC's Kennedy Center. (Various screenings)

More information on current, upcoming, and touring CNP projects is available on the CalArts Center for New Performance website.

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