Pier Paolo Pasolini's PYLADE to Make U.S. Premiere at La MaMa This Fall

By: Nov. 19, 2015

La MaMa presents PYLADE -- a play by the late, celebrated Italian film director Pier Paolo Pasolini -- in its U.S. premiere 40 years after the author's murder. The production directed by Ivica Buljan, director of the Croatian National Theatre, begins performances beginning December 3 at La MaMa's Ellen Stewart Theatre (66 E. 4 St.) with the press opening set for December 6, it has been announced by Mia Yoo, La MaMa's Artistic Director. This contemporary adaptation of the Greek myth, PYLADE will be performed by La MaMa's Great Jones Repertory Company (GJRC), a multi-faceted company of artists created 35 years ago by Andrei Serban, Elizabeth Swados and La MaMa's founder Ellen Stewart.

The PYLADE Cast features guest Slovenian actor, Marko Mandi? as Pylade with Great Jones Rep company members Mia Yoo, Perry Yung (The Knick), Cary Gant, Eugene Chai, Maura Donahue, Valois Mickens, John Gutierrez, and Tunde Sho as Orestes. La MaMa Artistic Director, Mia Yoo who will play the role of Electra remarked, "It is so important for Great Jones Rep to be able to collaborate with artists like Ivica Buljan and Marko Mandic. Their experience and artistic influences exert a profound and positive impact on our work as an ensemble, and the relevance of Pasolini's work to the politics of today has real resonance -- it's very exciting to be part of this project!"

Ivica Buljan, "one of the most successful exports of Croatian drama" (TimeOut) applies the techniques of Antonin Artaud in his work as a director. Although PYLADE marks his first time working with GJRC, Mr. Buljan has long held an interest in working with the company based on the experience of their work and his own significant history at La MaMa.

Pasolini's PYLADE, a contemporary reinterpretation of the relationship between Pylades and Orestes from Greek mythology and the ORESTEIA, is a poetic, tragic meditation on democracy, consumerism, and the struggle for real social change. The rhythm and emotion of Pasolini's text, translated into English by Adam Paolozza and Coleen MacPherson, is heightened by the music and movement incorporated into this production by Buljan and GJRC, to create a total theatre of movement, text, spectacle and music. "The re-construction" of democracy was of principal interest to Pasolini," stated Mr. Buljan.

PYLADE is one of six little-known plays written by Pasolini, best-known for his groundbreaking film work in the 60's and 70's: THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. MATTHEW, OEDIPUS REX, THE CANTERBURY TALES, ARABIAN NIGHTS and SALO, OR THE 120 DAYS OF SODOM. Little has been written about his work as a playwright.

It is generally accepted that Pasolini was killed by a male prostitute in November, 1975. However, forensic evidence presented during the murder trial concluded that "Pasolini was the victim of an attack carried out by more than one person." Political conspiracy theories persist surrounding his death. What is indisputable is that Pasolini was a poet, playwright, novelist, journalist, actor and political figure who created a provocative and controversial body of work. He invariably created a sensation as he expressed his controversial views on fascism, Catholicism, homosexuality and capitalism. In an interview in L'Espresso magazine shortly before his murder, Pasolini spoke about his favorite theme, "I consider consumerism to be a worse form of fascism than the classic variety."

Formerly under the direction of La MaMa's late founder, Ellen Stewart, GREAT JONES REPERTORY COMPANY is an OBIE-winning company known for their experimental productions of Greek tragedy that employ classical elements, unique visual, design and performance styles, world music, and movement. Started in 1972 by Ellen Stewart, Andrei Serban, and Elizabeth Swados, GJRC is an intergenerational, racially and ethnically diverse ensemble of artists, actors, designers, and musicians whose landmark works remain a significant part of La MaMa's history, most notably, FRAGMENTS OF A GREEK TRILOGY (1972), which ushered in a new movement in American ensemble theatre and was noted as one of the most brilliant works of its time. Great Jones Repertory Company's numerous New York productions and international tours include MEDEA, ANTIGONE , SEVEN AGAINST THEBES, ELECTRA, MYTHOS OEDIPUS, and DIONYSUS: FILIUS DEI, ANGELS OF SWEDENBORG, and FRAGMENTS OF A GREEK TRILOGY. MIA YOO has been a member of GJRC since 1995. Her many roles have included Medea, Electra, Andromache, and Jocasta. She created GERANOS for the GJRC which toured internationally. She worked very closely with Ellen Stewart as her artistic associate, and became La MaMa's Artistic Director in 2011.

MARKO MANDI is a leading actor of the Slovenian National Theatre known for his portrayals of Hamlet, Caligula, Platonov, and MacBeth. He works extensively in film and theater in both classical and contemporary art projects. He has received a number of national awards for his work: the Sever Foundation Award, four (4) Borštnik Awards and the Prešeren Foundation Award. As a film actor, he is known for, Landscape No.2 (2008), Gold (2013), and Inferno (2014) by acclaimed director, Vinko Moderndorfer winner of Best Full Length Feature at the Brooklyn Film Festival.

IVICA BULJAN, acclaimed Croatian director, combines movement, writing, spectacle and music to reinterpret old classics and create dynamic contemporary theatre. He has worked in institutions large and small, both in Croatia and abroad. At the beginning of his career he was director of the Croatian National Theatre in Split (1998-2002) and in 1999 he co-founded Ljubljana's Mini-theatre. Buljan is known for choosing collaborators from the non-theatre world to push the boundaries of modern theatre, and he compares his theatre to "a mixture of Patti Smith, Roberto Bolaño and GW Sebald."

As a guest lecturer, he has taught at theatre academies in Rennes and Saint-Etienne, France. He is a several time winner of the Borštnik Award for the best plays in Slovenia. He received the City of Havana Award. In 2012, Buljan was awarded the highest accolade of the Republc of Slovenia in the field of art, the Prešern Foundation Award for performing arts. He is the holder of the Republic of France's Order of Arts and Letters. Since 2014. he is Programme Director at Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb.

An integral part of New York City's cultural landscape, La MaMa has a worldwide reputation for producing daring work in theatre, dance, performance art, and music that defies form and transcends boundaries of language, race, and culture. Founded in 1961 by theatre pioneer and legend Ellen Stewart, La MaMa is a global organization with creative partners and dedicated audiences around the La MaMa presents an average of 60-70 productions annually, most of which are world premieres. To date, over 3,500 productions have been presented at La MaMa with artists from more than 70 nations.

PYLADE runs Thursday, December 3 - Friday, December 18, 2015, playing Thursdays - Saturdays at 7pm; Sundays at 4pm. Tickets $25 Adults; $20 Students/Seniors; ten tickets priced at $10 are available for every performances as part of La MaMa's 10@$10 ticketing initiative (advance sales only). For tickets go to www.lamama.org or call 646-430-5374. The Ellen Stewart Theatre is located at 66 East 4th Street (between Bowery and Second Avenue), New York, NY 10003.

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