REDCAT Will Present The World Premiere of REORIENT THE ORIENT in March

Performances will be held Saturday, March 9 and Sunday, March 10, 2024.

By: Feb. 18, 2024
REDCAT Will Present The World Premiere of REORIENT THE ORIENT in March
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Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theater (REDCAT) will present the world premiere of Reorient the Orient, a career retrospective from renowned Los Angeles choreographer and performer Lionel Popkin on Saturday, March 9 and Sunday, March 10, 2024. Reorient the Orient is Popkin's response to the dubious history of interculturalism. A durational (8 hours) performance event and multimodal installation, which includes video, ephemeral objects, printed matter, historical context, contemporary responses, and scored movement activities as social agitation. Performance tickets include access to the Reorient the Orient installation in the theater and gallery, on view from 2:00pm to 10:00pm. Performance times are 3:00pm and 7:30pm. Taking place at REDCAT in downtown Los Angeles (631 West 2nd Street, 90012), tickets cost $27, with discounts available for REDCAT members, students and the CalArts community ($14-$22). For tickets and more information, please visit: https://www.redcat.org/events/2024/lionel-popkin.

Seeking to expand the discourse on how brown South Asian bodies inhabit contemporary art and performance spaces, Popkin draws from his nearly 30-year archive of dance-making. In REDCAT's theater and gallery, dancers, videos, archival materials, rugs, sculptures, neon yellow wiffle balls, and the headpiece from an elephant costume invite audiences to make their way, choosing where to be and what to see. Popkin's work has been called, “…as farcical as it is dead serious…” by The New York Times and, "Inordinately engaging ... sprinkled with jewels of movement sequences, striking visuals and thought-provoking moments,” by The Washington Post.

Popkin elaborates on the forthcoming experience, “No person will see it all. This is purposeful. The audience can stay as long as they like and arrive whenever they wish. The project unpacks dubious histories and experiences in multiple trajectories. One track traces how orientalism has dictated the way South Asian performers exist in American art spaces, using a series of historical figures to ground the conversation. Another spans my archive of over thirty years of making art in the U.S. as I have wrestled with the quandaries of my mixed diasporic background. A third is how you (the audience) navigate through the complex modes of display present in the theater, the gallery, and the lobby.”

The design team for this project features Meena Murugesan, a 'Bessie' Award-winning video designer who previously collaborated with Popkin, while Marcus Kuiland Nazario, serving as Costume Designer, joins forces with Popkin for their third project together. The music, composed by Tom Lopez, a Professor of Music Composition at Oberlin College, reflects their collaborative history. Popkin and Lopez initially worked together in 1988 reconnecting in 2017 after nearly 30 years, inspiring a synergy of approaches perfectly aligned with this project's vision. Finally, archivist Cori Olinghouse, Popkin's former colleague from the Trisha Brown Company, has a practice dedicated to the archiving and contextualizing of embodied histories and will bring her expertise to the book project.

Cast and Creative Team

  • Performed by Jay Carlon, Lionel Popkin, Arushi Singh, and Wilfried Souly
  • Original Sound by Tom Lopez
  • Video Design by Meena Murugesan
  • Lighting Design by Christopher Kuhl
  • Costume Design and Visual Consultation by Marcus Kuiland Nazario
  • Artist and Archive Consultation by Cori Olinghouse
  • Stage Manager Paige O'Mara
  • Production Assistant Jackie Davis
  • Map Design by Jesse Bonnell, Foghorn & Co

Lionel Popkin

Lionel Popkin was born and raised in Bloomington, Indiana, by an Indian mother and a Jewish father. His work engages people, objects, and media to explore issues of hybridity, archival practices, historical inequities, and the confusions surrounding the representations of the South Asian diaspora in North America. His work has been presented on four continents at venues, including Danspace Project and Abrons Arts Center in New York, the Skirball Cultural Center and the Getty Center in Los Angeles, The Palace Theatre in London, the Guangdong Dance Festival in Guangzhou, China, and the São Carlos Videodan Festival in Brazil.

He performed as a dancer in the companies of Trisha Brown, Terry Creach, and Stephanie Skura. He has been commissioned by San Diego's Lower Left Performance Collective, the Li Chiao-Ping Dance Company, Nejla Yatkin, and Carolyn Hall. Popkin is a teacher of Skinner Releasing Technique, a professor of Choreography at UCLA, a resident artist at the 18th Street Arts Center, and the Interim Dean for the School of the Arts and Architecture at UCLA.

REDCAT | The Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater

REDCAT, CalArts' downtown center for contemporary arts, is a multidisciplinary center for innovative visual, performing and media arts founded by CalArts in the Walt Disney Concert Hall complex in downtown Los Angeles. Through performances, exhibitions, screenings and literary events, REDCAT introduces diverse audiences, students and artists to the most influential developments in the arts from around the world, and gives artists in this region the creative support they need to achieve national and international stature. REDCAT continues the tradition of the California Institute of the Arts, its parent organization, by encouraging experimentation, discovery and lively civic discourse. For current program and exhibition information, visit redcat.org.




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