(via Miguel Mendiola, Sam Rudy Media Relations; Photo of Kevin Augustine by Emily Boland)
La MaMa begins its 55th season of innovative works from around the world – 70 productions in all – with its 2016 Puppet Series featuring a variety of fully-staged productions, a puppet slam, a workshop for kids and conversations with leading artists in the realm of puppetry from September 24 to November 6, occupying La MaMa’s numerous stages in the East Village. The 2016 Puppet Series continues La MaMa’s long-standing tradition of presenting works by leading puppet artists from across the globe, dating back to the theater’s early years under Founder and Artistic Director, the late Ellen Stewart.
THE GOD PROJEKT
A highlight of the Series is THE GOD PROJEKT, a new work by Lone Wolf Tribe, in association with Untitled Theater #61, performed September 30-October 16 at the Ellen Stewart Theatre (66 E. 4 St.) Conceived by Kevin Augustine and co-written and co-directed by Mr. Augustine and Edward Einhorn, THE GOD PROJEKT, is a raucous cosmic exploration featuring Catskill-style comedy and bloody puppetry, depicting God the Father, alone in a barren paradise, struggling with dementia as he tries to manage a flood of prayer requests. In the process, God uncovers an ancient secret he’d rather have forgotten: what happened to the Mother Goddess who once shared his heavenly throne. Haunted by this memory, God now struggles to reconcile his turbulent past, dreaming of a different world where the Mother Goddess is still by his side.
Kevin Augustine has created 7 full-length puppetry works for Lone Wolf Tribe, taking up to 5 years to create a single production. His opus BRIDE was commissioned by PS 122 and received a UNIMA citation. His original stories aim to speak compassionately to our collective human experience and unabashedly embrace art as a catalyst for social change. Edward Einhorn is the artistic director of Untitled Theater Company #61 – a Theater of Ideas. The company’s work has been seen at La MaMa, 3LD, New Ohio, St. Ann’s Warehouse and Bohemian National Hall. THE GOD PROJEKT is presented in association with Untitled Theater Company. In a previous incarnation, THE GOD PROJEKT won a 2014 IT Award for Outstanding Performance Art Production.
THE ADVENTURES OF SEUCY AND BOTO – FOUR SHOW REPERTORY
La MaMa’s resident company, Loco 7 Dance Puppet Theatre, will perform its premiere episodic work THE ADVENTURES OF SEUCY AND BOTO on September 24 and 25 and October 1 and 2 (performance times 11 a.m. and noon) at La MaMa’s Club (74 E. 4 St.. Dance, puppetry and music combine to tell the mythological tales of Seucy and Boto from the Amazon Jungle in which they live with other animals and spirits. Loco 7 has been developing and presenting various episodes of SEUCY AND BOTO for several years, and this La MaMa engagement will feature the world premiere of the newest story in the adventures. SEUCY AND BOTO is created by Federico Restrepo and Denise Greber; the production is directed and designed by Mr. Restrepo.
Under the direction of Federico Restrepo, Loco 7 has been making art since 1985 – 15 productions in all — creating animated stories that address themes of South American culture and history, the immigrant experience and urban life.
All tickets to THE ADVENTURES OF SEUCY AND BOTO are $10 (multi-performance packages also available) and can be purchased online at www.lamama.org or by calling 646 430 5374.
PHANTASMAGORIA; OR LET US SEEK DEATH!
This world-premiere conceived and directed by Randolph Curtis Rand – running October 20-November 6 at the Ellen Stewart Theatre (66 E. 4 St.) — reminds us that ‘the dead walk among us.’ Set on a rainy night in a Genevan castle where too much debauched poetry and wine have been consumed, a teenage girls writes a spooky story. On the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s creation, FRANKENSTEIN, this PHANTASMAGORIA swirls together puppetry, biography and storytelling. Conceived and directed by Randolph Curtis Rand, written by Chana Porter, with puppetry by Benjamin Stuber, PHANTASMAGORIA is an Eric Borlaug Production.
Randolph Curtis Rand is an Obie Award-winning theater artist who has worked with such artists and companies as Joseph Chaikin, Elevator Repair Service, Meredith Monk, The Public Theater, Talking Band, Target Margin and The Wooster Group.
Puppeteer and theater artist Jane Catherine Shaw curates a 2-night puppet slam featuring contemporary short-form puppet and object theatre from both emerging and established puppet artists on Oct. 21-22 at La MaMa’s First Floor Theatre (74 E. 4 St.) Ms. Shaw is a co-founder of the Voice 4 Vision Puppet Festival.
MUNTERGANG AND OTHER CHEERFUL DOWNFALLS!
Created and performed by the renowned Great Small Works company members, with a script by Jenny Romaine and music by Jessica Lurie and Hannah Temple, MUNTERGANG AND OTHER CHEERFUL DOWNFALLS! will perform Oct. 27-November 6 at the First Floor Theatre (74 E. 4 St.)
This new production revisits the work of radical 20th century New York puppeteers Zuni Maud and Yosl Cutler. MUNTERGANG is a meditation on historical models for changing power relationships, and uses a bilingual Yiddish-English play that incorporates Maud and Cutler’s trademark satirical puppet skits and original graphics with Great Small Works’ own puppets and projections, with a touch of The Dybbuk and Mae West thrown in. Great Small Works has a 20-year history of engaging in all aspects of puppet theatre, with roots in the Bread and Puppet Theater.
COFFEEHOUSE CHRONICLES #136: THEODORA SKIPITARES
JoAnne Akalaitis will moderate this conversation with Theodora Skipitares, a resident puppet artist at La MaMa, on October 8 at 3 pm at La MaMa.
One of the country’s top puppet masters, Ms. Skipitares has been creating works for the stage since 1970, to date creating 25 works featuring as many as 300 puppet figures, live music, film and video: BODY OF CRIME, HELEN, ODYSSEY, IPHEGENIA, THE CHAIRS and last season’s SIX CHARACTERS, a response to Luigi Pirandello’s classic play.
La MaMa’s ongoing COFFEEHOUSE CHRONICLES series is an educational performance series that explores the history and development of Off-Off-Broadway, from its inception in the Village “coffeehouse theatres” of the 60’s through today, featuring personal oral accounts from artists.
LA MAMA KIDS: HEATHER HENSON’S CRAFT & STORYTELLING WORKSHOP
On Saturday, Oct. 8 at 11 a.m., the legendary puppet master Heather Henson and Ibex Puppetry will present a workshop that playfully explores the endangered Whooping Cranes of North America. Children will learn how to create their own crane puppets and gain insights into the ecosystem shared by cranes and humans.
Heather Henson is a puppet artist and producer and founder of IBEX Puppetry, an entertainment company dedicated to promoting the fine art of puppetry in film, stage, exhibitions and workshops.
La MaMa Kids is the ever-popular series of creative workshops for the young and young at heart. Master artists from the La MaMa company perform family-friendly shows and teach theatre crafts.
Admission to the October LA MAMA KIDS event is $10 for children; free for adults.
ABOUT LA MAMA
La MaMa is dedicated to the artist and all aspects of the theatre. The organization has a worldwide reputation for producing daring performance works that defy form and transcend barriers of ethnic and cultural identity. Founded in 1961 by award-winning theatre pioneer Ellen Stewart, La MaMa has presented more than 5,000 productions by 150,000 artists from more than 70 nations. A recipient of more than 30 Obie Awards and dozens of Drama Desk, Bessie, and Villager Awards, La MaMa has helped launch the careers of countless artists, many of whom have made important contributions to American and international arts milieus.
La MaMa’s 55th season celebrates the creative and collective histories of La MaMa’s local and global communities Since its beginning, La MaMa has forged creative partnerships with artists based in different parts of the U.S., Europe, Asia, Africa and South America. In recent years, these long-term relationships have taken on new life through distance collaborations over the Internet. The 55th season embraces new pathways forged in performance and technology to connect the myriad experiences, politics, conflicts, aesthetics, intimacies and dreams of people and communities participating in an increasingly globalized world.