Ryan Conarro's SAINTS OF FAILURE To Play Limited Run At Lafayette Ave Presbyterian Church
Interdisciplinary artist Ryan Conarro (ALAXSXA | ALASKA, this hour forward) will premiere his work Saints of Failure as a site-specific production inside Lafayette Ave Presbyterian Church (85 South Oxford St, Fort Greene, Brooklyn) on October 24, 2019, with additional dates through November 9, 2019. Weaving storytelling, rich soundscape, and live makeup transformations, Conarro shares a series of histories and memories to explore deep questions about LGBTQ identity and the American Christian experience and what ensues when these identities collide.
Conarro tackles these questions with humorous and brutally honest anecdotes while painting his body with direction from makeup designer and performance coach Risha Rox (Random Acts of Flyness, The Paris Project), an interdisciplinary artist working in the mediums of painting, performance installation and sculpture. The show began as an immersive performance installation in residency at Goddard College's Interdisciplinary Arts Program, presented at the Fort Worden State Park Pitkin Gallery, in Port Townsend, WA. This was followed by a development residency at Gainesville Theatre Alliance Guest Artist Program in Gainesville, GA, a performance and artist talk at Claflin University's Arts & Letters Annual Bash in Orangeburg, SC, and a workshop presentation at Dixon Place's HOT! Festival of Queer Culture.
Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church has a long history of social justice and advocacy which engages a diverse range of Brooklyn community members in terms of race, ethnicity, age, gender, and other identities; presenting the project in a Christian religious space will bring a visceral potency to the stories and histories in the piece. Saints of Failure will inspire and challenge the audience to confront their own belief systems and identities.
Saints of Failure includes community engagement initiatives with community partners including Brooklyn Community Pride Center, The Door, and the Brooklyn Intergenerational Community Arts Council. Brooklyn Community Pride Center is seeking new ways to invite interaction between its Queer constituents and faith communities, to explore the complex intersections of spiritual and LGBTQ+ identity. Saints of Failure will collaborate with the Pride Center to help fulfill that mission, including a special performance on Wednesday, October 30 at 7pm targeted to audiences from Brooklyn Community Pride Center and other local organizations.
"This piece is about getting honest and vulnerable, and inviting our audiences to do the same," said Conarro. "It's full of surprises, both in its form and its stories, and it's a transformative experience in the Lafayette Ave Church space, with Andrew's live organ accompaniment. We hope that audiences and community members will leave the show feeling inspired to dig into big questions with us and with each other."
"The performance of makeup in this piece isn't quite like anything you've seen before," said Rox. "The body paint represents both the layers of identity that we accumulate through life, and the creation of iconographic images that become a sort of new, personal pantheon of saints over the course of the storytelling."
Saints of Failure is directed by Ellie Heyman (Beardo, Longyarn), with composer and organist Andrew Drannon (Naught, I Make You), sound designer Eric Sluyter (The B-Side, Early Shaker Spirituals ), costume and scenic designer Haydee Antuñano (Mojada, Playing Hot), lighting designer Mary Ellen Stebbins (A$AP Rocky's Lab Rat, Dropping Gumballs on Luke Wilson), technical director Dylan Friedman (New World Stages, Lincoln Center Education), production stage manager Chiara Johnson (Downtown Urban Arts Fest, Utah Shakespeare Festival), and associate producer Ayana Parker Morrison (Eureka Day). The production is presented by Generator Theater Company, with support from the Brooklyn Arts Council.
Tickets are $25, with $20 tickets available for students and seniors, and can be purchased by visiting bit.ly/SaintsOfFailureTix. Performances are Thursday, October 24-Saturday, October 26 at 7pm, Wednesday, October 30 at 7pm, Fridays, November 1 and November 8 at 7pm, Saturdays, November 2 and November 9 at 2pm and 7pm.