A.C.T. to Present West Coast Debut of William Kentridge's Chamber Opera REFUSE THE HOUR
Following sold-out performances around the world, American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) will present the West Coast premiere of Refuse the Hour, the critically acclaimed multimedia chamber opera conceived by and starring renowned South African artist William Kentridge.
Refuse the Hour is a theatrical companion piece to Kentridge's five-channel video installation, The Refusal of Time, a meditation on different historical conceptions of time and the complex legacies of colonialism and industry. Entirely original in its conception and presentation, Refuse the Hour interweaves an astonishing range of stylized visuals and eclectic soundscapes, setting dance, live music, projections, drama, and dynamic scenic design against one another on stage.
At the center of this unique universe is Kentridge himself, delivering a fully scripted and fragmented "lecture," as elements of motion and sound collide around him: dancer and choreographer Dada Masilo enters into a taut physical interaction with the artist and set; singers and musicians perform composer Philip Miller's riveting score; strange musical machines clatter intermittently to life; while Catherine Meyburgh's video design animates the entire theatrical event. In the midst of this Dadaistic landscape, Kentridge acts as a contemporary storyteller, recounting a tale that begins with the myth of Perseus and ends with Einstein's visionary findings. Audiences are transported to the fringes of science, theatre, and art, a journey both playful and profound that could only have sprung from the mind of this singular artist.
There will be three performances only of Refuse the Hour in Northern California, taking place at A.C.T.'s Geary Theater (415 Geary St.) on Friday, November 10 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, November 11 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Single tickets ($30-$120) are available at the A.C.T. Box Office at 415.749.2228 or online at www.act-sf.org. A limited number of VIP tickets ($225) are available for Saturday, November 11 at 8 p.m. and includes premium seating and a post-show wine reception with William Kentridge, Philip Miller and the company of Refuse the Hour. Ticket prices are subject to change without notice.
Says A.C.T. Artistic Director Carey Perloff: "Ever since I saw William Kentridge's astonishing retrospective at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 2009, I have been avidly studying his work and attending performances he has created across the country. When the opportunity arose to present the exquisite Refuse the Hour, I leapt at it. Kentridge's vast imagination, deep humanity, and relentlessly curious mind have made him one of the seminal artists in the world today, an artist of both formal beauty and profound social conscience. It is thrilling to me that in my final season at A.C.T., this brilliant South African artist will grace the Geary stage. In the tradition of works like The Black Rider, The Overcoat, and Needles and Opium, I hope the piece will attract not only theater-goers, but visual arts lovers and all those who relish artistic risk-taking."
William Kentridge's work has been seen in museums and galleries around the world since the 1990s, including at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and La Scala in Milan. His production of Mozart's The Magic Flute was presented at Théatre de la Monnaie in Brussels, Festival d'Aix, and in 2011 at La Scala. He directed Shostakovich's The Nose for the Met Opera in New York in 2010 to coincide with a major exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art. Also in 2010, the Musée du Louvre in Paris presented Carnets d'Egypte, a project conceived especially for the Egyptian room at the Louvre.
In the same year, Kentridge received the prestigious Kyoto Prize in recognition of his contributions in the fields of art and philosophy. In 2011, he was elected an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. More recently, he presented the Charles Eliot Norton Lectures at Harvard University, was elected a member of the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and was awarded the Dan David Prize by Tel Aviv University. He also was named as Commandeur de l'ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication. In 2013, he received an honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts from Yale University.
Led by William Kentridge, the performers of Refuse the Hour include Dada Masilo (Dancer), Ann Masina (Vocalist), Joanna Dudley (Vocalist), Thato Motlhaolwa (Actor), Adam Howard (Musical Conductor, Co-Orchestration, Trumpet, and Flugelhorn), Tlale Makhene (Percussion), Waldo Alexander (Violin), Dan Selsick (Trombone), Vincenzo Pasquariello (Piano) and Thobeka Thukane (Tuba).
The creative team for Refuse the Hour includes William Kentridge (Conception and Libretto), Philip Miller (Music), Dada Masilo (Choreography), Catherine Meyburgh and William Kentridge (Video Design), Peter Galison (Dramaturgy), Sabine Theunissen (Scenic Design), Luc de Wit (Movement), Greta Goiris (Costume Design), Christoff Wolmarans, Louis Olivier, and Jonas Lundquist (Machine Design), Felice Ross (Lighting Design), Gavan Eckhart (Sound Design), and Kim Gunning (Video Orchestration).
The production team for Refuse the Hour includes Richard Pierre (Technical Director), Marine Deballon (Lighting Operator), Laurens Ingels (Sound Engineer), Kim Gunning (Video Controller), and Carol Blanco (Company Manager).
Refuse the Hour was originally co-commissioned by Holland Festival (Amsterdam), Festival d'Avignon, RomaEuropa Festival/Teatro di Roma (Rome), and Onassis Cultural Center (Athens), with additional support provided by Marian Goodman Gallery (New York, Paris, and London), Lia Rumma Gallery (Naples and Milan), and The Goodman Gallery (Johannesburg and Cape Town). The Refusal of Time was originally commissioned for dOCUMENTA 2012. Created with the physicist Peter Galison, the installation is a meditation on different historical conceptions of time and the complex legacies of colonialism and industry.
Refuse the Hour is a coproduction with UCLA's Center for the Art of Performance.
Photo Credit: John Hodgkiss