Talking Band Premieres CITY OF NO ILLUSIONS at La MaMa
La MaMa presents the world premiere of City of No Illusions, the newest work from seminal theater company Talking Band. Written and directed by four-time Obie winner Paul Zimet, City of No Illusions is a dark comedy set inside a funeral home that has become a refuge for two asylum seekers. Featuring original music by Ellen Maddow and an international cast of 12 performers, City of No Illusions is scheduled to run at La MaMa's Downstairs Theater (66 E 4th St) from February 8 through 24, with an opening night of February 13.
With City of No Illusions, the Talking Band casts a human light on the ever-present and growing refugee crisis. Set near the U.S. - Canadian border in Buffalo, New York, a funeral home run by two twin sisters has inadvertently become a sanctuary for two young immigrants. As agents from ICE close in, the lives of the funeral directors become intimately, farcically, and, at times, dangerously entwined with the refugees they harbor. Soon, the funeral home becomes a vital gateway to a new life. Throughout the play, a mysterious trio of musicians, a shadow band, occupy a permeable space moving across borders and between the living and the dead.
Since its founding in 1974 by Paul Zimet, Ellen Maddow, and Tina Shepard-all former members of Joseph Chaikin's iconic Open Theater-Talking Band has remained a cornerstone of New York City's avant-garde theater community. Over the past 45 years, Talking Band has created over 50 new works illuminating the extraordinary dimensions of ordinary life, each marked by a commitment to radical collaboration and a fusion of diverse theatrical styles and perspectives. Combining richly textured music-theater with striking visual imagery, the Talking Band's elegant, eloquent, profound performance work is infused with creative generosity that makes each show an experience that is as emotionally moving as it is aesthetically rich.
The international cast of City of No Illusions is comprised of downtown luminaries and performers new to Talking Band. They include Will Badgett (Talking Band, Target Margin Theater), Annie Henk (Cute Activist, To the Bone), Sam Khazai, Ellen Maddow (Dance Nation, Talking Band), Colleen O'Neill, Veraalba Santa, Tina Shepard (Talking Band), Jack Wetherall (Skintight), and Eden Zane. Joining them are musicians Goussy Célestin, Dawn Drake, and Marija Kovacevic.
Performances of City of No Illusions will take place February 8-24 at La MaMa's Downstairs Theater, located at 66 E 4th Street. Critics are welcome as of Sunday, February 10 for an opening on February 13 at 8pm. General admission tickets, which are priced $20-$25 plus $1 facility fee, are available at lamama.org and by calling OvationTix at 212.352.3101. The first ten tickets to every performance are available by using the code "10AT10". A $75 benefit performance with a post-show reception will be held on February 13.