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The Talking Band's OBSKENE World Premiere Opens at HERE Arts Center, 11/8


The Talking Band presents the world-premiere production of OBSKENE -- a new play comprised of messenger speeches from classical Greek Tragedy and reports from the near future created by 8 playwrights including David Greenspan, Tina Shepard, Marcus Gardley and Deb Margolin -- with an official press opening set for Thursday, Nov. 8 at HERE (145 Ave. of the Americas, one block south of Spring).

“Obskene” is the Greek term for “off-stage” and is the basis for the word “obscene”: it refers to the horrendous and unseen acts of violence that happen off-stage but are never depicted in Greek tragic plays. OBSKENE utilizes both messenger speeches of classical Greek Tragedy (newly adapted by Sidney Goldfarb and Lizzie Olesker) and reports from the near future in a variety of styles creating a multi-layered narrative.

The Talking Band has commissioned a diverse group of award-winning playwrights to write contemporary “messenger” speeches. The Greek messenger speeches contain some of the most disturbing images in the entirety of theater history but they also vividly capture the humor, passion and humanity of their subjects. Similarly the contemporary reports imagine the harrowing, comic, and heartbreaking aspects of our lives in the years to come.

A new play conceived and directed by OBIE Award-winner Tina Shepard, OBSKENE is written in concert with eight playwrights, including fellow Talking Band founders Ellen Maddow and Paul Zimet, as well as acclaimed playwrights Marcus Gardley (2011 PEN/Laura Pels Award recipient), David Greenspan (Guggenheim Playwriting Award recipient), Sidney Goldfarb, John Jesurun (MacArthur "Genius" Award recipient), Deb Margolin (OBIE Award and Kesselring Prize recipient), and Lizzie Olesker.

The cast of OBSKENE includes Talking Band founders Paul Zimet and Ellen Maddow, as well as Andrew R. Butler, NicHi Douglas, Carlos Ibarra, John Kurzynowski, Jake Margolin, Anastasia Olowin and Cinaza Uche.

OBSKENE has lighting design by Lenore Doxsee, set design by Lenore Doxsee and Tina Shepard, sound design by Chris Giarmo, and video by Andrew Lazarow.

Tina Shepard is a founding member of Talking Band. She has appeared in numerous productions with the company, including Walk Across America, and is the recipient of five OBIE Awards for her performances in its The Three Lives of Lucie Cabrol, Painted Snake in a Painted Chair, Tourists and Refugees, Terminal, and The Serpent.

The Talking Band's original interdisciplinary performance work has been a cornerstone of New York City's avant-garde theater community for 38 years. Founded in 1974 by Paul Zimet, Ellen Maddow, and Tina Shepard (all former members of Joseph Chaikin's seminal Open Theater), the company has produced over 40 new works marked by a commitment to radical collaboration and a fusion of diverse theatrical styles and perspectives. American Theater named Talking Band "one of the most exceptional theater companies in the country," and collectively, the founders have earned 11 OBIE awards recognizing their work. At the heart of the Talking Band is its Performance Lab, an ongoing and evolving workshop, which draws new artists and ideas into the company, experiments with theatrical form, and cultivates the seeds of new plays. The company has performed at nearly all of New York City's celebrated downtown venues, including LaMaMa ETC, PS 122, Theater for the new City, Dance Theater Workshop, The Ohio Theater, The Flea Theater and HERE Arts Center, and has toured its works internationally to 14 countries. Talking Band productions of note include: The Walk Across America For Mother Earth, Bitterroot, Radnevsky's Real Magic, Painted Snake in a Painted Chair, Black Milk Quartet and The Three Lives of Lucie Cabrol.

OBSKENE will play a strictly limited run through Saturday, November 17. For more information about the show, click HERE.

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