Bard SummerScape 2017 Presents the World Premiere of
A PINK CHAIR (IN PLACE OF A FAKE ANTIQUE) The Wooster Group’s Homage to Polish Artist and Director Tadeusz Kantor
“Nobody beats The Wooster Group at the top of its game.” – New York Times
This summer, the Bard SummerScape festival presents the world premiere of a new theater production from The Wooster Group, the internationally recognized Obie and Bessie Award-winning experimental theater company. Titled A PINK CHAIR (IN PLACE OF A FAKE ANTIQUE), the new work is an homage to the late visionary Polish artist and director Tadeusz Kantor, whose daughter, Dorota Krakowska, serves as A PINK CHAIR’s dramaturge.
The piece is directed by company founding member Elizabeth LeCompte, whose string of honors includes the 2016 Dorothy & Lillian Gish Prize, a MacArthur Fellowship, and a National Endowment for the Arts Lifetime Achievement Award. A PINK CHAIR will be performed by Wooster Group company members and associates including Kate Valk, Ari Fliakos, Suzzy Roche, Jim Fletcher and Zbigniew Bzymek, in ten performances between July 13 and 23 in the LUMA Theater of the Frank Gehry-designed Fisher Center on Bard’s glorious Hudson Valley campus. As New York Arts declares: “Bard summer drama has been consistently of the highest order.”
As in previous seasons, SummerScape follows the theme of the Bard Music Festival, which this year explores “Fryderyk Chopin and His World.” Like Chopin, Tadeusz Kantor (1915 – 90) was one of Poland’s trailblazing visionaries. The stage director, set designer, creator of happenings, writer, and artist behind such revolutionary theatrical works as The Dead Class (1975) and Wielopole Wielopole (1980), Kantor was an iconic postwar artist whose influence continues to resonate. When productions by Kantor’s legendary company Cricot 2 traveled to New York City in the ’80s & early ’90s, they created a sensation and excited a community of auteur directors working across artistic disciplines.
Drawing inspiration from European Expressionism, Dadaism, Russian constructivism and the Bauhaus – as well as from American avant-garde movements such as happenings – Kantor became best-known in the West for his “Theater of Death”: a series of surrealistic works in which, in the shadow of Poland’s experience of war and totalitarianism, he sought to create what he called “a bridge between the audience and the kingdom of death.” In 1985, he explained:
“The dead are strangers who fascinate us, who invade our sphere when we least expect it. In everyday life, when we speak to one another, enter into biological contact with each other, we are hardly conscious of what man is. We reach this awareness at the sight of a corpse. There’s something eloquent about a dead man’s silence and stillness.”
He continued: “There are no heroes in my plays. I prefer to show the detritus of civilization, to express the ultimate by means of the poorest discarded objects, of people and things deprived of status and dignity. I don’t attempt to re-create a historical period, or translate so-called reality. We are never a single entity, although we’d like to think we are. I am the child I was and now this 70-year-old man. I am also the books I read and the family and friends I cannot forget. I am one and many.”
Kantor conceived of theater as a total artwork that “embraces and comprehends all modern art and its ideas, themes, and conflicts.” Indeed, describing him as “a theater conceptualist – director, playwright, painter, scenic designer and theoretician,” the New York Times concluded: “This creative interrelationship of artistic disciplines within a single individual may help explain the spellbinding impact of [his work]. … He is a sorcerer entreating us to enter his subconscious.”
The Wooster Group
Known for the creation and production of original multimedia works for theater, The Wooster Group is “one of the country’s foremost and most storied experimental theater groups” (Daily Beast). Under Elizabeth LeCompte’s direction, the New York-based company has worked, since 1975, as a consistent, full-time ensemble of performers and technical artists. According to the New York Times: “Throughout its almost 40, unceasingly fertile years of existence, this genre-bending troupe has taken theatergoers through twisting labyrinths of productions, in which reality and its representations are splintered by technology and irony.”
A PINK CHAIR (IN PLACE OF A FAKE ANTIQUE) was co-commissioned by Poland’s Adam Mickiewicz Institute as part of its international program celebrating the 100th anniversary of Kantor’s birth. The Wooster Group was chosen for this prestigious project because of the Group’s international reputation and the Institute’s appreciation of its work.
In A PINK CHAIR, The Wooster Group pays homage to Kantor’s work through an exploration of ecstasy, despair, and memory: themes that recur throughout his oeuvre. Weaving together live performance, music, and video with material from Kantor’s archives, the new piece takes the form of a conversation among the company, Kantor’s ghost, and his daughter, Dorota Krakowska, who is collaborating with The Wooster Group on this piece. Through her personal commentary, documentary footage of Kantor’s productions and rehearsals – focusing on his penultimate piece I Shall Never Return (1988) – and a sound score that includes the music of Chopin, The Wooster Group has created a new work that integrates Kantor’s vision with its own.
Directed and designed by: Elizabeth LeCompte
Performers: Zbigniew Bzymek, Enver Chakartash, Jim Fletcher,
Ari Fliakos, Gareth Hobbs, Erin Mullin, Suzzy Roche,
Danusia Trevino, and Kate Valk
Dramaturge: Dorota Krakowska
Set: Eric Dyer
Lighting: Jennifer Tipton and Ryan Seelig
Sound and Original Music: Eric Sluyter, Omar Zubair
Musical Director: Gareth Hobbs
Video and Projections: Robert Wuss
Additional Video: Zbigniew Bzymek
Costumes: Enver Chakartash
Assistant Director: Matthew Dipple
Stage Manager: Erin Mullin
Scene Shop: Joseph Silovsky Studios
Production Manager: Bona Lee
For full schedule, more information and for tickets go HERE
New York City Round-Trip Coach Transportation:
To make a reservation on the round-trip SummerScape coach provided exclusively to ticket holders for specific performances indicated by * in the listings above, call the box office at 845 – 758-7900 or select this option when purchasing tickets. The round-trip fare is $40 and reservations are required. The coach departs from behind Lincoln Center, on Amsterdam Avenue between 64th and 65th Streets. Find additional details HERE