The Kitchen to Present Andrew Ondrejcak's ELIJAH GREEN

The Kitchen is pleased to present the world premiere of ELIJAH GREEN by Andrew Ondrejcak, a multi-disciplinary artist with a dual career as a writer, director, and designer of theater-based performance works in addition to being a sought-after art director in the fashion industry. His work in both fields is meticulous, wildly imaginative, and laced with deep curiosity. Most recently, Ondrejcak premiered You Us We All, a collaboration with My Brightest Diamond's Shara Worden, at the 2015 BAM Next Wave Festival. Critic Helen Shaw highlighted the work as one of the ten best shows of 2015.

Inspired by August Strindberg's A Dream Play and the work of 16th century Flemish painter Pieter Bruegel, ELIJAH GREEN follows a divine spirit as it wanders through contemporary life. Despite unremarkable existences, the stories of the characters layer into a portrait of the interconnectivity of all humans, with each individual both the center of the world and part of something they cannot comprehend.

With movement by choreographer John Jasperse, ELIJAH GREEN is written and directed by Ondrejcak. The rich visual language will be driven by costumes made by Ondrejcak in collaboration with Alba Clemente and the United Nations' Ethical Fashion Initiative, which pairs artisans in developing countries with jobs in high-end fashion manufacturing. Costumes are a combination of pieces made by international artisans including Maasai beaded neckpieces (Kenya), mud-dyed fabrics (Mali), hand-forged metal jewelry (Haiti), and woven textiles (Burkina Faso), all combined with donated fabrics from brands such as Carolina Herrera and Vivienne Westwood. Completing the creative team are Bradley King (lights), Kristin Worrall (sound), Rick Gradone (wigs), and Marco Campos (make-up). ELIJAH GREEN is produced by Tanya Selvaratnam and Thomas O. Kriegsmann / ArKtype.

ELIJAH GREEN features a multi-generational international cast of 12, ranging in age from 11 to 72, including Meg Harper, Eleanor Hullihan, Yuki Kawahisa, Brian Mendes, Edgar Oliver, Tanya Selvaratnam and Stuart Singer with Fr. Peter Cullen, Tenzin Gund-Morrow, Heather Lang, Mike Melkovic and Imani Simmons. The performers also represent a vast array of experience, including established artists who worked for many years with companies such as Merce Cunningham Dance Company and The Wooster Group and new ones making their professional debut.

Speaking about his process and vision for the production, Ondrejcak says, "Since the protagonist in ELIJAH GREEN is able to traverse the globe, it is important to me that the vignettes we encounter are authentically diverse. This speaks to my interest in working outside of my own society and how deeply other cultures can affect my creative process. My goal is to open my work to new collaborators with different aesthetic priorities than my own. In this way, the show reinforces the main theme: the interconnectivity of all humans."

The American Theatre Wing has produced a short film about the development of ELIJAH GREEN during its July 2015 workshop at The Kitchen. The film can be viewed here.

About the Artists

Born and raised in Mississippi, Andrew Ondrejcak studied architecture and painting at Savannah College of Art and Design and, later, playwriting at Brooklyn College. His work with experimental theater led him to a career in art direction and production design in the fashion industry. He quickly became one of New York's most sought-after designers, known for large-scale environmental installations. He works with Vogue, Bazaar, Italian Vogue, Wallpaper*, W, V, among others. He is currently the art director for Vivienne Westwood's upcoming retrospective.

Ondrejcak's performances have been presented at Guggenheim Museum's Works in Process curated by Robert Wilson, the Under The Radar Festival at The Public Theater (2014) and the BAM Next Wave Festival (2015). Outside of New York, his original performances have been produced at Holland Festival (Amsterdam), SCAD Museum of Art (Savannah), deSingel (Antwerp), and Kampnagel (Hamburg). He reperformed the work of Marina Abramovic at MoMA (2010). In 2013, Ondrejcak was Artist in Residence at the Baryshnikov Arts Center and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council on Governor's Island. As an arts educator, Ondrejcak taught workshops on performance and design at Domaine de Boisbuchet in Lessac, France (2013-2014) and, since 2002, has been a freelance lecturer at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Currently, Ondrejcak is Artist in Residence at the Park Avenue Armory in New York. In 2016, Ondrejcak will begin creating a new performance while in residence at The Watermill Center.

John Jasperse is a dance artist working in New York City since 1989. Jasperse has created sixteen evening-length works for his own dance company, as well as several commissioned from other companies such as White Oak's Dance Project; Batsheva Dance Company in Tel Aviv, Israel; and Lyon Opéra Ballet in France. His work has been presented throughout NYC including BAM's Harvey Theater, Dance Theater Workshop, Danspace Project, The Joyce Theater, The Kitchen, and Performance Space 122; and throughout the U.S. including at Diverseworks, Houston, TX; Museum of Contemporary Arts, Chicago, IL; On the Boards, Seattle, WA; Philadelphia Live Arts, PA; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA; and internationally in Australia, Brazil, Chile, Israel, Japan, Panama, Russia and throughout Europe.

Jasperse's work has received several prestigious awards and fellowships including, most recently, a 2014 Doris Duke Artist Award and a 2014 New York Dance and Performance ("Bessie") Award for Within between in the category of Outstanding Production. In 2001, Jasperse received his first Bessie Award recognition of his body of choreographic work. He has received fellowships from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Tides Foundation's Lambent Fellowship in the Arts, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts and New York Foundation for the Arts. JJP has been supported by grants from Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Arts International, Creative Capital Foundation, Dance Magazine Foundation, Greenwall Foundation, Harkness Foundation for Dance, Jerome Foundation, Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, Meet the Composer, Multi-Arts Production Fund, National Endowment for the Arts, National Performance Network, New England Foundation for the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, and Trust for Mutual Understanding.

Funding Credits

Elijah Green is made possible with support from the New England Foundation for the Arts' National Theater Project, with lead funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Howard Gilman Foundation; The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation; and in part by public funds from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Elijah Green was awarded a 2015 grant from The MAP Fund, a program of Creative Capital supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; a 2015 Creation and Development grant from the New England Foundation for the Arts' National Theater Project; and was developed at residencies at the Baryshnikov Arts Center, The Kitchen, and the Park Avenue Armory.

About The Kitchen

The Kitchen is one of New York City's most forward-looking nonprofit spaces, showing innovative work by emerging and established artists across disciplines. Our programs range from dance, music, performance, and theater to video, film, and art, in addition to literary events, artists' talks, and lecture series. Since its inception in 1971, The Kitchen has been a powerful force in shaping the cultural landscape of this country, and has helped launch the careers of many artists who have gone on to worldwide prominence.

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