REDCAT, CalArts' downtown center for contemporary arts, presents The Wooster Group Production The B-Side: "Negro Folklore from Texas State Prisons," A Record Album Interpretation, Wednesday, January 30 to Sunday February 3,2019 for 5 performances only.

The B-Side is an original performance based on the 1965 LP "Negro Folklore from Texas State Prisons," a recording of work songs and spoken text from inmates on Texas' then-segregated agricultural prison farms. In The B-Side, performer Eric Berryman plays the album and transmits the material live via an in-ear receiver, channeling the voices of the men on the album. He is joined by Jasper McGruder and Philip Moore. Berryman also provides context from the book Wake Up Dead Man: Hard Labor and Southern Blues by Bruce Jackson, the folklorist who recorded the album at the prison in 1964.

Berryman brought the album to The Wooster Group after he saw their piece Early Shaker Spirituals: A Record Album Interpretation, which REDCAT presented in 2015.

The New York Times Critics Pick review of the work, which the company first staged at the Performing Garage in 2016 and opened in 2017, says: "The act of listening somehow becomes a process that extends to and heightens all the senses ... Performed a cappella, the songs spin tales of mythologically mean prison guards, and loves and lives lost, and the backbreaking purgatory of unendingly repetitive physical tasks... [The performers] become conduits for the songs of prisoners who were themselves conduits for an oral tradition that stretches back to at least the early days of slavery in this country.

The B-Side is directed by Kate Valk and designed by Elizabeth LeCompte. Lighting by Ryan Seelig, sound by Eric Sluyter, video by Robert Wuss, costumes by Enver Chakartash, musical director Gareth Hobbs, stage manager Erin Mullin, technical director Jacob Bigelow, production manager Bona Lee.

Following its performances at REDCAT, The Wooster Group will stage The B-Side at St. Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn, New York, from March 1-24, 2019.

The Wooster Group is a company of technical and performing artists who work together to make theater. Under the direction of Elizabeth LeCompte and associate director Kate Valk, the company integrates visual media, sound, architectonic design, and classic and found texts with live performance. Founded in 1975, it has charted the path for experimental theater for decades.

The Group's major works include: Rumstick Road (1977), Nayatt School (1978), L.S.D. (...Just The High Points...) (1984), Frank Dell's The Temptation of St. Antony (1988), Brace Up!(1991), The Emperor Jones (1993), The Hairy Ape (1996), House/Lights (1999), To You, The Birdie! (Phèdre) (2002), Poor Theater (2004), Hamlet (2007), the opera La Didone(2009), Vieux Carré (2011), Early Shaker Spirituals: A Record Album Interpretation (2014), The Town Hall Affair (2017), and A Pink Chair (In Place of a Fake Antique) (2018). The B-Side is the Group's twelfth appearance at REDCAT.

The Group's founding members were Spalding Gray (1941-2004), Elizabeth LeCompte, Jim Clayburgh, Ron Vawter (1948-1994), Willem Dafoe, Kate Valk, and Peyton Smith. Wooster Group director Elizabeth LeCompte has been honored with the Dorothy & Lillian Gish Award, the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, an Anonymous Was A Woman Award, the French Chevalier des Artes et Lettres, a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, and a United States Artists Fellowship, among others. Associate director Kate Valk has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Performing Artist Award, and served as a Rolex Arts Initiative mentor.

The Performing Garage in Soho is The Wooster Group's permanent home and performance venue. The Group regularly tours its productions throughout the United States and internationally.

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