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The Ko Festival of Performance is delighted to announce:

2011-06-04T06:35:10-04:00

“Real People. Real Lives. Real Theater.”

The Inaugural
PING CHONG & COMPANY SUMMER THEATRE INSTITUTE

July 31 – August 7, 2011 at the Ko Festival of Performance,
on the Amherst College campus in Amherst, MA

Undesirable Elements is designed to help individuals and communities confront and overcome cultural insularity by fostering a greater understanding of the commonalities that bind us all.”


Photo by Adam Nadel


The Ping Chong & Company (PCC) Summer Institute has been designed to engage and inspire artists, activists and community organizations interested in developing unique performance projects that explore oral history and art and social justice engagements. We are looking for a diverse group of participants: arts practitioners, students, educators, teaching artists, social justice advocates, and community organizers are encouraged to apply. This intensive week-long workshop will explore the innovative community-based performance and documentary theatre practices behind Ping Chong’s award-winning Undesirable Elements series:

(more…)

The Ko Festival of Performance is delighted to announce:2011-06-04T06:35:10-04:00

2009 Performers

2016-03-01T20:40:06-05:00

2009 ARTISTS

DREW THE DRAMATIC FOOL (Drew Richardson)

Drew the Dramatic Fool reinvents the ancient art of brilliant bumbling. Inspired by a thousands-of-years old tradition of royal jesters, vaudeville eccentrics, silent film comedians, animated cartoons, theatrical clowns, absurd theatre, and imperfect humans everywhere, Drew offers high-stakes amusement desperately demanded by today‘s audiences, giving them laughter built on a range of human emotions, from joy to fear to despair and back to joy again.

Youth
As a youngster, Drew began performing magic and juggling to compensate for his shyness. Now he plays the fool to take advantage of his increasing baldness.

Training
Drew’s life-long personal tension between drama and foolishness gelled while studying Theatrical Clowning with John Towsen 25 years ago at Ohio University, where Drew received a B.F.A. in Theatre. He continued his studies in physical theatre with Jacques Lecoq in Paris. Since then, Drew has sought out numerous learning opportunities by taking workshops with master teachers in Commedia dell’Arte, clown, improv, movement, mask, circus skills, and puppetry.

Stage Solos
Drew the Dramatic Fool has performed his solo stage shows in theaters and festivals all over the United States and abroad, from Austin to Austria. Drew has created five one-man shows including The Psychology of Clumsiness (twice picked as “Critic’s Choice” by The Chicago Reader) and the current “Help! Help! I Know This Title Is Long, But Somebody’s Trying to Kill Me!” directed by Avner Eisenberg (Broadway’s “Avner the Eccentric”).

Devised Theatre
Drew has been involved in ensemble created theatre and performance pieces as an actor/ creator in groups such as Brazen Theatre (Madison, WI), 89 Fighters (Philadelphia, PA),The Clownarchists (Chicago, IL), and Night at the Fights (Chicago). Drew has also toured with Squonk Opera and The Daredevil Opera Company.

Filmmaking
Drew is best known as the first person in the 21st century to have new silent movies shown in major motion picture theaters across the United States (“If Drew Richardson was born 100 years ago, there’s a good chance he’d be a household name today.”—DVDTalk.com). Drew’s first short silent moving picture, The Guy Who Lived on a Chair, was screened at The Chicago Short Comedy Video and Film Festival, Pittsburgh Film Kitchen, and The Silent Film Society of Chicago. His Theatre Etiquette 101 movies are currently being shown in various performing arts centers.

Teaching and Residencies
Drew has taught classes and workshops in physical theatre for colleges, universities, conferences, and theater companies. Drew has been a guest teaching artist at such institutions as Point Park Conservatory, the University of Michigan, Roosevelt University, Columbia College, and The Art Institute of Chicago; Drew also taught “Improvising Physical Comedy” at The Big Stinkin’ Improv Festival in Austin, Texas, and “Creating Visual Comedy” at MotionFest in Baltimore. In Chicago, he served as clown consultant/instructor for 500 Clown Macbeth, Strawdog Theatre, and Powertap Productions/Next Theatre Lab.

Drew served as Artist in Residence for the Chicago Park District and Free Street Theatre, where he combined circus skills, movement, and poetry writing to create performances with atrisk youths. At Little City Foundation in Palatine, Illinois, he worked with residents with mental, emotional, and physical disabilities. He also taught medical students at Northwestern University where to find their funny bones and how to use humor as a healing tool. Most recently, Drew collaborated with high school students in Virginia and Maryland to make their own silent movies.

“If Teller of ‘Penn & Teller’ had ever become pregnant by Harpo Marx, Drew Richardson would be the one to arrive out of that strange scientific amalgamation.” —Film Threat

WANT TO KNOW MORE? Visit www.dramaticfool.com

•To watch a clip of the show or one of Drew’s short silent movies click HERE

•Read Drew’s blog at ThinkFoolishly.com

 

DAVID FERNEY

has performed in over 20 countries around the world as a member of the comic acrobatic street theatre troupe, Los Payasos Mendigos and as a current company member the Dell’Arte Company of Blue Lake, CA.  Performing credits with the Dell’Arte Company include Tartuffe, Malpractice, Road Not Taken, The Bacchae, Original Instructions, Journey of the Ten Moons, Slapstick, Out of the Frying Pan and Wildcard. Ferney is best known for his outlandish comic characters which are influenced by his work in clown theatre, commedia dell’arte and mask performance.  As a graduate of the Dell’Arte School of Physical Theatre David has studied physical performance styles as well studying shadow puppetry and mask carving in Bali.

Ferney is a company member and co­founder of Four on the Floor Theatre Ensemble, a community based theatre company that creates spectacle pageants using giant puppets, stilt walkers and fire performers, as well as producing and presenting original work at the Arcata Playhouse, an exciting new space in Arcata, CA where The Misunderstood Badger is premiering in April. Earlier this year Ferney opened Crawdaddy’s Odditorium. Set in the 1930s Depression era and centered around a traveling freak show. The piece explored the discrimination, individuality, and the sensationalism of the bizarre within the internal relationships of a family of performers, all of whom have physical oddities.

Regional credits inlculde Red Noses at San Diego Repertory Theatre and David Rabe’s Streamers at the Full Circle Theatre Collective of San Francisco.

 

NICK TROTTER

has been active in music and theatre since childhood. At the Dell’Arte School, Nick specialized in Clown, Bouffon, and Commedia, and was one of the school’s noted mask and prosthetic designers. Before attending Dell’Arte, he lived in New York City and performed extensively with the theatre/music group Bonejesters, which he co-founded with David Leicht. Their original show Bonejesters was performed at La MaMa. Their adaptation of Gogol’s The Nose was alos performed in NYC at HERE Arts Center. Other original repertory included Round and Obscurity Knocks. As a musician, he has performed as a solo singer/songwriter and as a guitar accompanist for National Champion mandolinist Charlie Provenza; as guitarist with the Celtic trio The Crooked Road; and as a member of the Brazilian percussion ensemble Maracatu New York. As his clown Ferdinand the Magnificent, he toured Chiapas, Mexico in January 2008 with Rudi Galindo and Clowns Without Borders. He has worked extensively with Four on the Floor/The Arcata Playhouse on their outdoor spectacle Elemental, as a clown, musician, composer and shadow puppeteer, performing in Blue Lake, Cloverdale and Pender Island, British Columbia.

 

THE METTAWEE RIVER THEATRE COMPANY

The Mettawee River Theatre Company, founded in 1975, creates original theater productions which incorporate masks, giant figures, puppets and other visual elements with live music, movement and text, drawing on myths, legends and folklore of the world’s many cultures for its material. The company is committed to bringing theater to people who have little or no access to live professional theater. Each year Mettawee presents outdoor performances in rural communities of upstate New York and New England as well as performing in the New York City area. For more information visit http://www.mettawee.org

 

RALPH LEE

Ralph Lee first created puppets as a child growing up in Middlebury, Vermont. He graduated from Amherst College in 1957, and studied dance and theater in Europe for two years on a Fulbright Scholarship. Upon returning to the United States, Lee acted on Broadway, off-Broadway, in regional theaters and with the Open Theatre. During that period he started creating masks, unusual props, puppets and larger-than-life figures for theater and dance companies, including the New York Shakespeare Festival, Lincoln Center Repertory Theatre, the Living Theatre, the Erick Hawkins Dance Company, Shari Lewis and Saturday Night Live (he created the Land Shark).

In 1974, while teaching at Bennington College, Ralph Lee staged his first outdoor production, which took place all over the college campus, and featured giant puppets and masked creatures. That same year he organized the first Greenwich Village Halloween Parade, which he directed through 1985. For his work on the parade Mr. Lee received a 1975 Village Voice OBIE Award, a 1985 Citation from the Municipal Arts Society, and in 1993 he was inducted into the CityLore People’s Hall of Fame.

In 1976 Ralph Lee became Artistic Director of the Mettawee River Theatre Company, which has been a center of his creative activity ever since. Mettawee’s productions are based on creation myths, trickster tales, Sufi stories, legends and folklore from the world’s many cultures. In addition to annual tours to rural communities, Mettawee has presented Ralph Lee’s work at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the New York Botanical Garden, Provincetown Playhouse, the Henson Foundation’s International Festival of Puppet Theater, La MaMa E.T.C., INTAR, Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors, Central Park Summerstage, The Bowery Poetry Club, and many other locations.

Ralph Lee is the recipient of a 2003 Guggenheim Fellowship in Drama. Two of Ralph Lee’s Mettawee productions have been honored with American Theatre Wing Design Awards: The Popol Vuh in 1995 and Wichikapache Goes Walking in 1992. Under Mr. Lee’s direction, Mettawee has also received a 1991 Village Voice OBIE Award and two Citations for Excellence from UNIMA, the international puppetry organization. Additional awards to Mr. Lee include a 1996 Dance Theatre Workshop Bessie Award for “sustained achievement as a mask maker and theatre designer without equal” and a 1996 New York State Governor’s Arts Award in recognition of his many contributions to the artistic and cultural life of New York State. In 1999 Ralph received an award for “excellence in theater” from the New England Theater Conference.

Since 1989 Ralph Lee has made annual trips to San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico, to develop plays and a performing ensemble with the Mayan writers group Sna Jtz’ Ibajom. He is an artist-in-residence at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, where he has staged special events with masks and giant puppets since 1984. In addition, he has produced parades and pageants featuring his giant figures for celebrations in Central Park, the Bronx Zoo, the New York Botanical Garden, the Ringling Museums in Sarasota, Florida and the International Festival of Arts and Ideas in New Haven, Connecticut.

From February through May, 1998, the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center presented a retrospective exhibition of Ralph Lee’s work that attracted record-breaking crowds to the gallery. As part of the Henson Foundation’s International Festival of Puppet Theater, the Children’s Museum of the Arts featured an exhibition entitled “The Masks and Magic of Ralph Lee” in September, 1998. During 2000 there were three exhibits in New York City featuring creations designed by Ralph Lee for Mettawee productions. Masks and puppets from THE WOMAN WHO FELL FROM THE SKY were on exhibit in the ambulatory of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine; an array of giant figures were display in the Courtyard Gallery of the World Financial Center, and an exhibit of sketches and models were in the gallery of The Kitchen.

Lee has taught at Amherst College, Smith College, Bennington College, Hampshire College, Hamilton College, Colgate University, the University of Rio Grande and the University of North Carolina. He is currently on the faculty of New York University, and teaches puppetry at the Boys and Girls Republic on New York’s Lower East Side.

 

SARA FELDER

is a solo theater artist, playwright and juggler. While the themes of her plays and performances are serious, her form is comic, engaging, and vaudevillian. She strives to integrate personal experiences with the urgency of this moment in history. Out of that mix she creates funny and provocative theater.

Sara began performing in 1984 with San Franciso’s beloved Pickle Family Circus. She has also toured with Jugglers for Peace in Cuba, the Women’s Circus in Nicaragua, Joel Grey’s Borscht Capades and at Festivals of Jewish/Yiddish Culture in Berlin, London, Amsterdam, New York, Los Angeles and Toronto. Through juggling, she has been able to find her theatrical voice, create compelling performance, teach alternative populations and pursue social justice.

Sara’s body of work, including radical solo circus theater and witty multi-actor plays, explores political and social frictions: a lone cellist playing defiantly on the war-ravaged streets of Sarajevo; the scientists who – in a gargantuan effort to save the world from Hitler – ended up making the bombs that annihilated the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; a gender-bending cross-dressing 19th-century vaudevillian; two urban neighbors who confront racism; victims of radioactive fallout from U.S. nuclear tests in the Marshall Islands; and women named Joan.

Her newest solo play, Melancholy, a Comedy probes the dark corners of mental illness in this radical solo comedy about Abraham Lincoln, a woman on the bus, and the civil war within ourselves. She continues to tour her highly-acclaimed June Bride, which tells the story of a traditional Jewish lesbian wedding. In its hundreds of performances over the last 13 years, June Bride has become part of the grass-roots effort to keep same-sex marriage on the national agenda and has given audiences a way to talk about this controversial issue.

Sara has received fellowships in performance from the Pennsylvania Council for the Arts and the Independence Foundation, and has been awarded the Philadelphia Theatre Initiative. She has been an artist-in-residence at Intersection for the Arts, the Headlands Center for the Arts and the California Arts Council, the latter for teaching juggling and performance in California’s prisons. She has been commissioned by the San Francisco Art Commission, the National Performance Network and the Irvine Foundation for New Plays. She has received a playwriting fellowship from the California Arts Council. Her work has received nominations from the Bay Area Critics Circle (The Lady Upstairs, best play) and the Cable Car Awards (best performer.) She was part of the Animating Democracy Initiative in Anchorage, Alaska, where, with two other artists, she created performance pieces to encourage civic dialogue about same-sex marriage. She is on the roster of PennPAT: Pennsylvania Artists on Tour.

“Felder is a master story-teller and social satirist whose gentle but incisive humor recalls Lily Tomlin or Jerry Seinfeld — if they could juggle.”
— Santa Cruz Sentinel

“Out Of Sight needs to be seen. Not just by Philadelphia audiences, either.”
–Edge Philadelphia

“A charming night with a charismatic performer…”
— Philadelphia City Paper

 

ERIC DAVIS

currently resides in New York. His original creations have won him both critical and audience acclaim. He performs and teaches internationally. Lauded as one of the premiere clowns of our time, Davis is a master improviser, clown and bouffon, his work ranges from subtle and realistic to the absurd. His work has been described by critics as “genius” “subversive” and “very, very funny”.

In 2007, Mr. Davis was nominated for a Golden Nose for Clown of the Year in New York. In addition, he was a Finalist for the NY Comedy Festival’s Andy Kaufman Award, and the award winning director and co-writer of The Bouffon Glass Menajoree which was nominated for Best Director, Best Script, Best Ensemble and Best Production by the NY Innovative Theatre Awards.

Mr. Davis is a Founder and Co-Director of the NY Clown Theatre Festival, an international festival celebrating and promoting the art of contemporary theatrical Clown. (www.bricktheater.com) Oct 5-28, 2007.

Performance credits include the clown in Cirque du Soleil’s highly celebrated production: Quidam, as well as being contracted for developmental workshop of Cirque du Soleil’s Kooza, under the direction of Tony Winner, David Shiner and Cirque’s 2009 Touring Production.

Mr. Davis has trained in Pochinko clown technique, a Native American form of performance, and Bouffon with masters Sue Morrison as well as Phillipe Gaulier. He has also been a practitioner and teacher of improvisation, movement, Lecoq technique, and mask for over 15 years.


ABOUT BOUFFON PERFORMANCE

Bouffon, is a bold style of performance that has proved to be an excellent form for deconstructing and commenting on societal ills!

Grotesque in nature, often physically deformed, the bouffon is the outcast shunned by society and told to live outside of the village. On rare occasions, he is asked to perform for the pleasure of those who previously persecuted him. On these occasions the bouffon willingly accepts. (What choice does he have? Perform or be killed!) Thus this hideous creature enters the circle of society once more, light on his feet, eternally smiling with hateful eyes. Charming, entertaining and smart, he plans to take the piss out of you all!

According to Eric Davis, “Bouffon is a joke told by a nightmare. He is smart, entertaining and like the most brilliant idea, or deadly of viruses- utterly infectious.”

DAVID FERNEY

has performed in over 20 countries around the world as a member of the comic acrobatic street theatre troupe, Los Payasos Mendigos and as a current company member the Dell’Arte Company of Blue Lake, CA. Performing credits with the Dell’Arte Company include Tartuffe, Malpractice, Road Not Taken, The Bacchae, Original Instructions, Journey of the Ten Moons, Slapstick, Out of the Frying Pan and Wildcard. Ferney is best known for his outlandish comic characters which are influenced by his work in clown theatre, commedia dell’arte and mask performance. As a graduate of the Dell’Arte School of Physical Theatre David has studied physical performance styles as well studying shadow puppetry and mask carving in Bali.

Ferney is a company member and co founder of Four on the Floor Theatre Ensemble, a community based theatre company that creates spectacle pageants using giant puppets, stilt walkers and fire performers, as well as producing and presenting original work at the Arcata Playhouse, an exciting new space in Arcata, CA where The Misunderstood Badger is premiering in April prior to its performances at the Ko Festival on July 17-19. Earlier this year Ferney opened Crawdaddy’s Odditorium. Set in the 1930s Depression era and centered around a traveling freak show. The piece explored the discrimination, individuality, and the sensationalism of the bizarre within the internal relationships of a family of performers, all of whom have physical oddities.

Regional credits inlculde Red Noses at San Diego Repertory Theatre and David Rabe’s Streamers at the Full Circle Theatre Collective of San Francisco.

 

SARA FELDER

is a solo theater artist, playwright and juggler. While the themes of her plays and performances are serious, her form is comic, engaging, vaudevillian. She strives to integrate personal experiences with the urgency of this moment in history. Out of that mix she creates funny and provocative theater.

Sara began performing in 1984 with San Franciso’s Pickle Family Circus. She has also toured with Jugglers for Peace in Cuba, the Women’s Circus in Nicaragua, Joel Grey’s Borscht Capades and at Festivals of Jewish/Yiddish Culture in Berlin, London, Amsterdam, New York, Los Angeles and Toronto. Through juggling, she has been able to find her theatrical voice, create compelling performance, teach alternative populations and pursue social justice.

Sara’s body of work, including radical solo circus theater and witty multi-actor plays, explores political and social frictions: a lone cellist playing defiantly on the war-ravaged streets of Sarajevo; the scientists who – in a gargantuan effort to save the world from Hitler – ended up making the bombs that annihilated the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; a gender-bending cross-dressing 19th-century vaudevillian; two urban neighbors who confront racism; victims of radioactive fallout from U.S. nuclear tests in the Marshall Islands; and women named Joan.

Her newest solo play, Out of Sight, which is being performed at the Ko Festival this summer, uses the relationship between a blind mother and her adult daughter to examine invisibility, family loyalties and the Israel/Palestine conflict. She continues to tour her highly-acclaimed June Bride, which tells the story of a traditional Jewish lesbian wedding. In its hundreds of performances over the last 13 years, June Bride has become part of the grass-roots effort to keep same-sex marriage on the national agenda and has given audiences a way to talk about this controversial issue.

Sara has received fellowships in performance from the Pennsylvania Council for the Arts and the Independence Foundation, and has been awarded the Philadelphia Theatre Initiative. She has been an artist-in-residence at Intersection for the Arts, the Headlands Center for the Arts and the California Arts Council, the latter for teaching juggling and performance in California’s prisons. She has been commissioned by the San Francisco Art Commission, the National Performance Network and the Irvine Foundation for New Plays. She has received a playwriting fellowship from the California Arts Council. Her work has received nominations from the Bay Area Critics Circle (The Lady Upstairs, best play) and the Cable Car Awards (best performer.) She was part of the Animating Democracy Initiative in Anchorage, Alaska, where, with two other artists, she created performance pieces to encourage civic dialogue about same-sex marriage. She is on the roster of PennPAT: Pennsylvania Artists on Tour.

“Felder is a master story-teller and social satirist whose gentle but incisive humor recalls Lily Tomlin or Jerry Seinfeld — if they could juggle.” 
— Santa Cruz Sentinel

“She has chutzpah up the wazoo.”    
— San Francisco Weekly

For more information visit www.sarafelder.com

 


2009 Performers2016-03-01T20:40:06-05:00

2008 Performers

2016-03-01T20:39:33-05:00

2008 ARTISTS

DARK DINING PROJECTS

Enormously successful in New York City and elsewhere, Dark Dining Projects has won raves from diners and has appeared in such diverse media as ABC News, NY 1 News, Univision, Time Out, USA Today, New York Times, Village Voice, Metromix, Cool Hunting, Toxic Pop, Theatre Journal and Contact Quarterly Dance Journal.

DANA SALISBURY

Dana Salisbury, winner of New York Dance and Performance Award (a “Bessie”), is a multi-disciplinary artist whose investigations span dance, video, language, site-specific performance/installation and visual art. Her work, Dance Insider has reported “evidences her acute consciousness, her keen multi-disciplinary attention to detail.” The Village Voice described her work as offering “trenchant dispatches from a life of keeping eyes and mind wide open.” Her dances and videos have been seen in New York at PS 122, Judson Church, Dance Theater Workshop, Dixon Place, University Settlement and the 92nd Street Y. She has created site-specific works for Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum and the Old American Can Factory in Brooklyn. Her visual art has been exhibited widely in museums and galleries.

For the last several years, inspired by the sensate and imaginative life of the blind, Salisbury has been exploring non-visual perception. Her dance production, “Whole-Body-Seer” (2004) offered experiential equivalents of vision without sight. A quotation from John Hull’s, Touching the Rock: An Experience of Blindness helped shape her thinking: “I do not think of myself so much as a blind person, which would define me with reference to sighted people and as lacking something, but simply as a whole-body-seer. A blind person is simply someone in whom the specialist function of sight is now devolved upon the whole body, and no longer specialized in a particular organ.” Dark Dining Projects celebrates “whole-body-seeing”.

CHEF ALAN HARRIS of NOBLE FEAST CATERING in Shelburne Falls

The Noble Feast was created in 1975 as a community restaurant in Turners Falls providing innovative foods, in a unique setting geared toward people wanting vegetarian cuisine as well as those desiring meat and seafood. It became well known as a place in which to relax, and find food that was healthy and tasted fabulous. Although it did not make it through the eighties, Alan Harris reinvented it for the mid nineties. The name Noble Feast means that you can expect a conciousness of quality, integrity of production, and artistry in presentation. Harris notes “I’ve been committed to serving foods that reflect my love and respect for the world’s great cuisines and support for those involved in local, sustainable agriculture. These local friends make it possible for me to offer a quality and taste that is unique.”

THE METTAWEE RIVER THEATRE COMPANY

The Mettawee River Theatre Company, founded in 1975, creates original theater productions which incorporate masks, giant figures, puppets and other visual elements with live music, movement and text, drawing on myths, legends and folklore of the world’s many cultures for its material. The company is committed to bringing theater to people who have little or no access to live professional theater. Each year Mettawee presents outdoor performances in rural communities of upstate New York and New England as well as performing in the New York City area. For more information visit http://www.mettawee.org/

RALPH LEE

is a company Ralph Lee first created puppets as a child growing up in Middlebury, Vermont. He graduated from Amherst College in 1957, and studied dance and theater in Europe for two years on a Fulbright Scholarship. Upon returning to the United States, Lee acted on Broadway, off-Broadway, in regional theaters and with the Open Theatre. During that period he started creating masks, unusual props, puppets and larger-than-life figures for theater and dance companies, including the New York Shakespeare Festival, Lincoln Center Repertory Theatre, the Living Theatre, the Erick Hawkins Dance Company, Shari Lewis and Saturday Night Live (he created the Land Shark).

In 1974, while teaching at Bennington College, Ralph Lee staged his first outdoor production, which took place all over the college campus, and featured giant puppets and masked creatures. That same year he organized the first Greenwich Village Halloween Parade, which he directed through 1985. For his work on the parade Mr. Lee received a 1975 Village Voice OBIE Award, a 1985 Citation from the Municipal Arts Society, and in 1993 he was inducted into the CityLore People’s Hall of Fame.

In 1976 Ralph Lee became Artistic Director of the Mettawee River Theatre Company, which has been a center of his creative activity ever since. Mettawee’s productions are based on creation myths, trickster tales, Sufi stories, legends and folklore from the world’s many cultures. In addition to annual tours to rural communities, Mettawee has presented Ralph Lee’s work at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the New York Botanical Garden, Provincetown Playhouse, the Henson Foundation’s International Festival of Puppet Theater, La MaMa E.T.C., INTAR, Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors, Central Park Summerstage, The Bowery Poetry Club, and many other locations.

Ralph Lee is the recipient of a 2003 Guggenheim Fellowship in Drama. Two of Ralph Lee’s Mettawee productions have been honored with American Theatre Wing Design Awards: The Popol Vuh in 1995 and Wichikapache Goes Walking in 1992. Under Mr. Lee’s direction, Mettawee has also received a 1991 Village Voice OBIE Award and two Citations for Excellence from UNIMA, the international puppetry organization. Additional awards to Mr. Lee include a 1996 Dance Theatre Workshop Bessie Award for “sustained achievement as a mask maker and theatre designer without equal” and a 1996 New York State Governor’s Arts Award in recognition of his many contributions to the artistic and cultural life of New York State. In 1999 Ralph received an award for “excellence in theater” from the New England Theater Conference.

Since 1989 Ralph Lee has made annual trips to San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico, to develop plays and a performing ensemble with the Mayan writers group Sna Jtz’ Ibajom. He is an artist-in-residence at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, where he has staged special events with masks and giant puppets since 1984. In addition, he has produced parades and pageants featuring his giant figures for celebrations in Central Park, the Bronx Zoo, the New York Botanical Garden, the Ringling Museums in Sarasota, Florida and the International Festival of Arts and Ideas in New Haven, Connecticut.

From February through May, 1998, the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center presented a retrospective exhibition of Ralph Lee’s work that attracted record-breaking crowds to the gallery. As part of the Henson Foundation’s International Festival of Puppet Theater, the Children’s Museum of the Arts featured an exhibition entitled “The Masks and Magic of Ralph Lee” in September, 1998. During 2000 there were three exhibits in New York City featuring creations designed by Ralph Lee for Mettawee productions. Masks and puppets from THE WOMAN WHO FELL FROM THE SKY were on exhibit in the ambulatory of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine; an array of giant figures were display in the Courtyard Gallery of the World Financial Center, and an exhibit of sketches and models were in the gallery of The Kitchen.

Lee has taught at Amherst College, Smith College, Bennington College, Hampshire College, Hamilton College, Colgate University, the University of Rio Grande and the University of North Carolina. He is currently on the faculty of New York University, and teaches puppetry at the Boys and Girls Republic on New York’s Lower East Side.

LIGHTBOX

LightBox creates bold, kinetic plays that speak to issues of our time. Collaboration is at the heart of everything LightBox does. The company extends this culture of collaboration to its audience through community outreach programs including the After Show Café, the Youth Workshop Program, and the interactive website for the Food Theater Project. ghtBox creates bold, kinetic plays that speak to issues of our time. Collaboration is at the heart of everything oes. The company extends t

MILK-N-HONEY premiered in October 2007 in New York City where it featured scenic design by Narelle Sissons, who designed the Broadway revival of ALL MY SONS and has worked with many prominent companies including, LAByrinth, The Public, The Vineyard, CSC, Mabou Mines, NYTW, Primary Stages, and Signature. MILK -N-HONEY also features sound design by Bray Poor; lighting design by Justin Townsend; costume design by Meghan Healey; video design by Nicole Betancourt (also the Producing Director of LightBox) and C. Andrew Bauer.re of collaboration to its audience through community outreach programs including the After Show Café, the Youth Workshop Program, and the in

ELLEN BECKERMAN

is the Producing Artistic Director of LightBox where she has directed Milk-n-Honey, Week 17 of 365 Days /365 Plays by Suzan-Lori Parks, Ajax: 100% Fun, Shutter, Gull, Fanatics, Charles Mee’s Orestes, Hamlet, Embarkation and Mother Courage and Her Children. Other directing credits include The Public Theater, Soho Rep, the Ontological Theatre, New Dramatists, Chicago Dramatists Center, the Playwrights’ Center, New Georges, New York Theatre Workshop, Louisiana State University, New Dramatists, Syracuse University. Ellen is a recipient of the NEA/TCG Career Development Program for Directors, a Drama League Directing Fellow, a member of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab, a 2005 member of the Soho Rep writer/director lab, and a New York Theater Workshop Usual Suspect. Ellen spent 8 months living in Thailand creating new Thai language plays and teaching at Patravadi Theatre and Chiangmai University. Ellen performed in Richard Foreman’s I’ve Got the Shakes and worked with Mabou Mines on The Mother. Drawing from her experiences in Asia, India, Europe, and South America, and working in collaboration with the artists of LightBox, Ellen has developed the LightBox Approach, a physical actor training method which has been taught at Princeton University, the Lincoln Center Directors Lab, New York Theatre Workshop, LSU, Syracuse University, Chiangmai University, St. Paul’s School, and The Artists’ Crossing. Ellen’s article, Finding the Boy Band in Chekhov’s The Seagull, will be published this year by Slavica Press. She has an A.B. in history from Princeton University.

MADELEINE GEORGE

worked on the text for MILK-N-HONEY. Her plays have been developed or staged at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, New York Theatre Workshop, The Playwrights’ Center, New Dramatists, the Cherry Lane Alternative, HERE, Playwrights Horizons, and The Public Theater. Her play THE MOST MASSIVE WOMAN WINS is included in the anthologies PLAYS FOR ACTRESSES and BEST AMERICAN SHORT PLAYS 1997-1998 and has had over 100 productions. Support includes a MacDowell Fellowship, the Princess Grace Playwriting Award, a Manhattan Theatre Club Playwriting Fellowship, and the Jane Chambers Award.

TEMPLE CROCKER

is a performer and educator currently residing in Baltimore, Maryland. She has worked extensively in the San Francisco Bay Area performing with multiple companies including Art Street Theater, Campo Santo, Torque Dance Theater and Pearl Ubungen Dancers and Musicians. In 1996 she co-founded the experimental performance ensemble STRANGEFRUIT with Annie Kunjappy and Rowena Richie. STRANGEFRUIT has created six original performances including The Heat Death of the Universe based on the science-fiction story by Pamela Zoline and Sewing Lessons, a surrealist lifecycle based on the lives and art of Remedios Varo and Leonora Carrington (nominated for best direction and costume design by the Bay Area Critics Circle). Since her move to the east coast she has presented work at spare room, CHELA, Creative Alliance and the Baltimore Theatre Project. For the past three years she has had an ongoing relationship with the Ontological-Hysteric Theater in New York presenting new work at the Summer Series in 2005 and acting in Richard Foreman’s ZOMBOID in the spring of 2006. Temple is currently a member of the theater faculty at Towson University and University of Maryland, Baltimore County

ANNIE KUNJAPPY

has been devising original theatre since 1995 as Artistic Director of Strangefruit Theatre Ensemble in San Francisco, and in various collaborations with Temple Crocker and Daniel Nelson at the Ontological Theatre in New York. She was nominated for best direction and costume design by the Bay Area Theatre Critics’ Circle for Sewing Lessons, and was awarded best costume design for Funnyhouse of a Negro. Annie has performed and taught Motion Theatre, a physical impulse-based improvised narrative form, with its founder Nina Wise, in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York, and is also part of Big Apple Playback Theatre. She works as a chef and teaches at the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts.

SABRINA HAMILTON

is the Artistic Director of the Ko Festival of Performance in Amherst, MA. For many years she worked with the New York theatre company Mabou Mines as Lighting Designer, Production Manager, Stage Manager, Performer, and Assistant Director. Other credits include work at the New York Shakespeare Festival, the Goodman Theatre, the Mark Taper Forum and 6 years as Route Lighting Designer for New York’s Village Halloween Parade under the direction of Ralph Lee. International lighting credits include work in Bologna, Florence, Milan, London, Grenada, Geneva, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Amsterdam, Brussels, Cardiff, Edinburgh, at the Bristol Old Vic, the Theatre Academy in Tampere, Finland, and at the International Theatre Festival in Havana, Cuba. She has been touring as the Lighting Designer for LOW, written an performed by Rha Goddess, directed by Chay Yew, most recently as part of the Under the Radar Festival at the Public Theatre in NYC.

Sabrina’s directing work, primarily original pieces, has been seen in New York, Berlin and throughout New England. Hamilton has served on the Editorial Board of Theatre Topics . She is on the Lighting Commission of the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT), for whom she serves as head of their Portfolio Review program and as the International Liaison. She was recently named as the USITT representative to the Lighting Design Working Group of OISTAT, the international parent body of USITT and served as part of the international team that put together the Scenofest at the Prague Quadrennial. In addition, Hamilton has served on a N.E.H. panel, the “New Forms” panel for Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the NEA/TCG Career Development Program for Designers panel. She was elected this year to the Board of Directors of the Network of Ensemble Theatres.

Hamilton holds a B.A. from Hampshire College and double M.F.A. in Directing and Lighting Design from the UMASS/Amherst. She has been on the faculties of Hampshire, Williams and Trinity Colleges, and Long Island University, and served as the Program Director of the M.F.A. Theatre Program at Towson University for 2006-7.

BELLE LINDA HALPERN

has performed as a cabaret singer and actor at clubs and theatres in New York, Boston, San Francisco, Paris, Munich, Jerusalem, and Bombay. Each summer she sings cabaret concerts in the villas and castles of Northern Italy. A graduate of Harvard/Radcliffe, she performs in French and Italian as well as Yiddish and Hebrew. Her theater roles include Esther in Elizabeth Swados’ rock opera Esther, Alice in her Alice in Concert, Josephine in Laura Harrington’s N Bonaparte and Sally in Cabaret. Belle’s other theatre credits include work with Robert Wilson and Andrew Serban at the American Repertory Theatre. She has taught singing and performance since 1986 at Harvard University and each summer in Italy through the Tuscany Project. She has co-created Moon Over Dark Street, a Brecht/Weill Cabaret with Pilgrim Theatre and Cutting Crosstown: From 2nd Avenue to Broadway with fellow performer Jeffrey Korn. Her interest in Weill and Yiddish music was inspired by the generous spirit of her teacher, Martha Schlamme. She has also co-authored Leadership Presence: Dramatic Techniques to Reach Out, Motivate, and Inspire published by Penguin Putnam about the leadership development work she does with her company, The Ariel Group.

RON ROY

Pianist and Musical Director Ron Roy was most recently arranger and musical director for the Off-Broadway production “Disappearing Act” at the 47th Street Theatre. Other credits include “Forbidden Hollywood” at Steve McGraw’s. He was pianist and assistant conductor for the Gershwin musical “Crazy For You” (National Tour and Berlin, Germany), and pianist and musical director for Boston’s long running hits “Forever Plaid” and “Forbidden Broadway. He was last seen at the Ko Festival two summers ago accompanying Belle Linda Halpern and Kermit Dunkelberg in selections for Moon Over Dark Street for the Ko Festival’s 15th anniversary celebration, The Ko Cabaret.

PETER LOBDELL

Peter Lobdell is a senior resident artist in the Department of Theater and Dance and is presently Chair. He has directed and/or performed on, off and off-off Broadway in New York, on national tours, at regional theaters, and international venues. Most recently he was director of movement for the Hartford Stage Company’s Our Town last September.

BARBARA LANCIERS

is a company member and the resident choreographer for The Theatre of a Two-Headed Calf in New York City. She has trained extensively with Anne Bogart and the SITI Company. Barbara performed in the SITI Company production of Hay Fever (Actors Theatre of Louisville) and served as Anne Bogart’s assistant on Death and The Ploughman. Barbara is an Anne Bogart endorsed teacher the Viewpoints training method for theatre practitioners. She holds her MFA in Theatre from Towson University. Barbara is currently living and working in Budapest, Hungary on a Fulbright Scholarship. This is her 3rd season at the Ko Festival.

KATIE DOWN

is a sound artist, composer, performer and sound designer for theatre, film, and dance. She performs regularly with the infamous ukulele group The Ukuladies (www.myspace.com/theukuladies), and was the director of the Sephardic ensemble Adelantre, which appeared at the Ko Festival’s 15th Anniversary Celebration, the Ko Kabaret. She also wrote the music for and performed in The House Not Touched by Death in the 2000 Ko Festivval

Katie has traveled extensively throughout Eastern Europe and the Balkans and most recently South Africa with different theatre artists as a performer, sound designer, and teacher in voice, improvisation, and clown. She plays several instruments including flute, ukulele, guitar, didjeridu, and glass harmonica as well as a host of homemade instruments, percussion, and found objects. Katie works regularly as a sound designer in New York City and regionally and has created numerous sound scores and original music for Off, and off-Off Broadway productions for Target Margin, The Hourglass Group, Ripetime, New Georges, Ensemble Studio Theatre, SoHo Rep and others.

Internationally, Katie has performed at the Ohrid Summer Festival in Macedonia, Trn Festival in Ljubljana, Slovenia, and the Malta Festival in Poznan, Poland. She has toured twice with chashama’s international program where she co-conducted voice, movement, and clowning workshops with young people from Media Artes in Macedonia, the Up-Beat Hvar Music Festival in Croatia and Trn Fest in Slovenia.

Katie has also created sound installations for several gallery shows including Homebase II (Broadway Gallery, 2007), And Suddenly….(Ohio Gallery, 2005), Vision Whisper (chashama Gallery, 2002). She will be the guest curator at the arts colony Music Omi in August, 2008, and has been an artist in residence at The Watermill Arts Center, Music/Omi, Makor Artist Network, chashama AREA Space Grant, and The Composer Librettist Studio at New Dramatists.

Katie is deeply committed to the power of deep listening and sound healing and is currently working towards a Masters degree in music therapy at NYU.  For more information on Katie Down go to www.katiedown.com or www.myspace.com/katiedownmusic

DELETTA GILLESPIE

Deletta is a performing artist, playwright, and educator with nearly twenty years in the entertainment industry.

Deletta was born into a show business family. Her mother played piano and organ in backing bands for artists such as the Ink Spots, the Shirelles, and others. Her father played bass in the Army and in jazz bands on the West Coast. Deletta made her professional debut at age six, when her mother gave her a cameo in her nightclub act.

She has performed in a myriad of situations; clubs, theatres, casinos, cruise ships, and resorts as a singer, dancer, actress, choreographer, and entertainment coordinator. Highlights include performing for Michael Jackson, and opening for jazz legends Al Jarreau and Patti Austin. She has performed as a voice over artist, and a television and radio presenter. Additionally Gillespie served as entertainment coordinator for Destination Dockyard, a seasonal street festival jointly produced by The Bermuda Chamber of Commerce, RF Communications, and Royal Caribbean International.

She wrote and directed two critically acclaimed revue shows: The Time Tunnel Show, and Rufus’ Rhythm and Blues Revue. Her play, What a Girl Wants, produced by Healing Stage Productions in June 2006 raised over $15,000 for the Women’s Resource Center in Bermuda. And in October 2007, Atlanta-based theatre organization Alternate Roots, whose mission includes supporting artists that create theatre for social change, invited Gillespie to perform a staged reading of her upcoming musical, The Magic City Massacre during the Creative Convergence Festival in Baltimore. She has also written several plays for middle school students.

Gillespie has vocal pedagogy certification (Levels I & II of Somatic VoiceworkTM, The LoVetri Method) in Contemporary Commercial Music, as well as ABRSM certificates in Vocal Music.

ROBERT SMYTHE

is the Artistic Director of Philadelphia’s Mum Puppettheatre, the company he founded over two decades ago, and has created over 20 original productions. According to the Puppeteers of America he is one of the most influential puppet artists in the United States today. His work with Mum has taken him all over the world while winning three UNIMA Citations of Excellence in the Art of Puppetry and four Barrymore Awards. He was won numerous awards, including a Pew Fellowship in the Arts in 2006 and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2000. He is the recipient of one of the last Solo Theater Fellowships ever awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts and six Solo Performer Fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. He has directed and designed puppet work for the Arden Theater, the Wilma Theater, Interact Theater Company, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Children’s Theater Company in Minneapolis.

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2009

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2009 Performances

HELP! HELP! I KNOW THIS TITLE IS LONG, BUT SOMEBODY’S TRYING TO KILL ME!

July 10 – 12 (Fri & Sat at 8 p.m., Sun. at 4 p.m.)

an all-ages event created and performed by: Drew the Dramatic Fool (Drew Richardson)

directed by Avner Eisenberg (Avner the Eccentric)

All the performers in this vaudeville variety show have been murdered – except for Drew the Dramatic Fool. Unfortunately for him, the show must go on, or he’s next. Drew attempts every act in the show, from juggling 36 balls to sawing a woman in half, in this comical examination of fears–fear of performing, fear of failure, and fear of death. When courage fails, the only answer is dramatic foolishness.

Drew the Dramatic Fool reinvents the ancient art of brilliant bumbling. Inspired by a thousands-of-years old tradition of royal jesters, vaudeville eccentrics, silent film comedians, animated cartoons, theatrical clowns, and imperfect humans everywhere, Drew offers amusement relevant for today‘s audiences by giving them laughter built on a range of human emotions, from joy to fear to despair and back to joy again.

“If you like Bill Irwin, You have to see Drew the Dramatic Fool. He’s a world-class visual comedian.” —Charleston Gazette

And if you think you hate clowns….we dare you not to laugh, and welcome your rant at the discussion that follows every performance!


THE MISUNDERSTOOD BADGER

written and performed by: David Ferney

co-written and directed by Nick Trotter

An eccentric biologist goes off the deep end in his quest to explore the mysterious realm of the North American Badger (taxidea taxus). Part lecture and part free-association dream, The Misunderstood Badger is a solo comedy performed and written by actor David Ferney. The show probes deep within one individual’s struggle to balance his ties to the civilized world with his desire for the wild. Professor Harold Burrows is extremely passionate—you might even say obsessed—about his life long study of badgers. After living in the wild with a community of badgers for a year, he has returned to civilization to share his findings.

Using live music, projections, and mask performance, Ferney take us on a comedic journey to find the badger within.

In the heart of the 5-College area, are academics fair game?


BEYOND THE HIGH VALLEY a Quechua Story

SUNDAY, July 19 at 8 p.m. (One Performance Only)

performed by the METTAWEE RIVER THEATRE COMPANY under the direction of Ralph Lee

Our annual favorites with a piece drawn from the Quechua people, descendants of the Incas, who live in villages in the Andean highlands of Peru. As the story begins, a giant condor spies a young woman tending her family’s llamas in a meadow. He sweeps down from the sky, transforms into a dashing lover and then carries her off to a rocky crag. Her unlikely rescuer is a creature of dazzling ingenuity, a plucky little hummingbird.

A range of puppets and other visual elements realized on many different scales, are used to evoke the vast distances, radiant sky and rugged, vertical thrust of fierce and beautiful Peruvian terrain. Performed out under the stars within a landscape permeated with live music, song and a spirit of celebration.

OUT OF SIGHT

July 24 – 26 (Fri & Sat at 8 p.m., Sun. at 4 p.m.)

A solo comedy that brings circus tricks, shadow puppets and a Jewish queer sensibility to questions of family loyalty and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
written and performed by:

SARA FELDER
Directed by David O’Connor
Shadow Puppets by Morgan FitzPatrick Andrews
Sound Design by Matthew Lorenz

Solo theater artist and world-class juggler, Sara Felder presents a bold new play about the art of seeing. In it, she tells and juggles the tale of a mother, nearly blind, and her adult lesbian daughter. The intimacy of the mother and daughter and their struggles over how they “see” each other and the world unfold as they try to bridge their differences. Felder’s solo comedy brings circus tricks, shadow puppets and a Jewish queer sensibility to questions of family loyalty and the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.

Coming from different generations, the mother and daughter struggle with questions of justice in the Middle East. Coming of age during the Holocaust, the mother has a deep connection to Israel that she wants to pass on to her daughter. The daughter grew up in a more optimistic time, doing Israeli folk dancing and listening to her mother’s stories of an idealized Israel. Trying to understand her own vision of the world, the daughter recalls the moment during a college trip to Israel when she began questioning her mother’s framing of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Their generational differences about Israel and Palestine create a new kind of silence. Out of Sight explores the pain and complexity of silence in our most cherished relationships.

Sara’s unique integration of circus arts, shadow puppets and her own particular Jewish queer sensibility allows us to explore the big questions of our lives, laughing along the way as we recognize ourselves in her stories.

Has Felder has summoned the comic gods in her examination of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the nature of blindness and a mother-daughter relationship? Join us to find out!

WANT TO KNOW MORE? Visit www.sarafelder.com
To watch a dramatic clip from the show click HERE
To see her incredible juggling click HERE
Running time: 80 minutes. No intermission.

RED BASTARD

July 31 – August 2 (Fri & Sat at 8 p.m., Sun. at 4 p.m.)

created and performed by:
ERIC DAVIS, Cirque de Soleil star

In this critically-acclaimed Bouffon show, Red Bastard unleashes a pompous theatrical master class. His mission: To charm, disarm, shock and seduce. His target: Pop culture, politics and you.

Red Bastard is pure id, slapped with a coat of red and pumped full of hot air! This half man/half demon from the subconscious comes to take the piss out of the audience by disguising himself as an elitist movement teacher instructing us in the “theater of life”. An incredible mover, master of improvisation, and self proclaimed “provocateur”, Red Bastard covers every inch of the stage, moving his enormous red belly and ass with the grace of a nymph. Audiences should be prepared for anything to happen in this interactive show, in which Red Bastard converses with the audience, uncovering ridiculous and disturbing truths.

If clown is complete vulnerability, Red Bastard is its antithesis. With exquisite monstrosity, he employs charm and biting wit to playfully manipulate the audience. Lines will be crossed and laughs will be had. His bold wit and physical prowess have been lauded by critics and audiences alike. Marvel as this impish ton of fun mocks the institutions of theatre, education, American pop-culture and politics.

The Ko Festival says, you’ve been warned! Lines will be crossed and laughs will be had!

For more on the Red Bastard visit www.redbastard.com

For a completely immodest list of phenomenal press quotes click HERE

To see a video clip of the Red Bastard click HERE


2009 Workshops

DRAMATIC FOOLERY:The Paradox of Comic Acting

July 13 – 18

with Drew Richardson (Drew the Dramatic Fool)

In an effort to provoke deeper laughter, it’s often the case that the more serious you are, the funnier you are. No irony, no wackiness, just you, trying your imperfect best in absurdly real situations. In this workshop, Drew will guide the participants with tragically comic exercises using clown, mask, and movement to express their own dramatic foolishness and then use what they learn to create character-based theatrical comedy. For people who don’t think they are funny, actors who want to be funnier, or anyone who wants to explore sincerely playful creative problem solving.

FINDING COMEDY IN A SERIOUS WORLD

July 20 – 25

with David Ferney

An exploration of what is funny as a tool for creating new performance. Using clown, mask and absurdist theatre to find the comic in our often too serious world, Mr. Ferney will lead the class through an exploration of what is funny. Through exercises and explorations workshop participants will be encouraged to “find the funny” and develop a sense of play for creating interesting comic characters and generating new material.


CREATING SOLO PERFORMANCE: Amusing the Muse

(or – The Art of Juggling the Truth)

July 27 – August 1

with Sara Felder

A workshop on developing performance material from our own lives using objects, character work, monologues and humor. We will write, try on different performance styles, create images, play with objects, investigate characters, consider different narrative voices, find the humor in the pain (and vice versa) experiment, fail, laugh and surprise ourselves. Use this workshop to generate material for a solo performance. Emphasize the use of performance to say something important, and, if we’re lucky, to amuse (or schmooze or cruise) the Muse.


In an effort to provoke deeper laughter, it’s often the case that the more serious you are, the funnier you are. No irony, no wackiness, just you, trying your imperfect best in absurdly real situations. In this workshop, Drew will guide the participants with tragically comic exercises using clown, mask, and movement to express their own dramatic foolishness and then use what they learn to create character-based theatrical comedy. For people who don’t think they are funny, actors who want to be funnier, or anyone who wants to explore sincerely playful creative problem solving.
20092011-03-01T06:57:39-05:00

2008

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2008 Performances

A season on the theme of
“FOOD: appetites, attitudes and politics”

July 11 and 12 at 7 p.m.

Dark Dining Projects

Artist & Chef Collaborations | Sensory Feasts | Gourmet Meals Served to Blindfolded Guests
with participatory Art Events

Conceived and Directed by Dana Salisbury

Chef: Alan Harris of Noble Feast Catering

THE EVENT

Blindfolded guests enter the space and are seated at long tables. A splendid multi-course banquet of locally produced food and drink is set before them. Savoring the sensuous feast, diners tease out the mysteries of the menu. The room is an ever-changing olfactory, tactile and sonic landscape, an installation of wind, water, organic material, music, virtuosic performance and movement. At the evening’s close, diners are handed a sealed card in which the menu and performing artists are revealed.

For further information visit www.darkdiningprojects.com

DARK DINING PROJECTS

Enormously successful in New York City and elsewhere, Dark Dining Projects has won raves from diners and has appeared in such diverse media as ABC News, NY 1 News, Univision, Time Out, USA Today, New York Times, Village Voice, Metromix, Cool Hunting, Toxic Pop, Theatre Journal and Contact Quarterly Dance Journal.

 

NANABOZHO

SUNDAY, July 13 at 8 p.m.

performed by the Mettawee River Company under the direction of Ralph Lee

Our annual favorites with a piece drawn from Winnebago creation tales that describe how elements of the natural world emerged out of chaos and achieved their present form. Central to this process is Nanabozho, the trickster hare, whose fearless, sometimes dimwitted impulses have unexpected, frequently hilarious results and keep us guessing what will happen next. He emerges from the arms of his Grandmother Earth to confront amicable beavers, ferocious frog demons and a bevy of delectable spirit women. The world we have inherited appears to have been shaped by the combined efforts of wise benefactors, evil beings and a willful, capricious buffoon.

The production will be ASL Interpreted by Joan Wattman.American Sign Language Hands

FRIDAY -SUNDAY , July 18 – 20 Fri., Sat. & Sun. at 8 p.m.

 

NOTE: AS THIS IS A VERY SPECIAL EVENT FOR US AT THE KO FESTIVAL, WE ARE PLEASED TO BE ABLE TO ADD ADDITIONAL PERFORMANCES ON Sat. & Sun. at 2:00!

MILK-N-HONEY

created by: LightBox

directed by Ellen Beckerman

with Aysan Celik,* Shawn Fagan*, Signe V. Harriday*, Adam Rihacek, Gerry Rodriguez*, and a “mystery guest”

*Member, Actors Equity Association

music written by Shawn Fagan and the cast of MILK-N-HONEY
with text by Madeline George

Both the Ko Festival and LightBox have the creation of opportunities for civic dialogue as key parts of their respective missions. We in invite you to stay for the AFTER SHOW CAFE that follows every performance of Milk-N-Honey. Local experts on the the issues raised in the production will make short presentations and then we will open the floor for general discussion.

MILK-N-HONEY is a play about the pleasures and politics of eating, based on interviews the company conducted with migrant workers, flavor chemists, waiters and executives, diabetics, dumpster divers, grocery clerks, people with eating disorders, hunters, politicians and farmers. MILK-N-HONEY is a large-scale multi-media play that looks at food and appetite in the 21st century: the play’s interweaving storylines follow a couple whose marriage is at stake as they differ about what food to put on the table, a grocery store clerk who forages through dumpsters, immigrant farm workers, a family that struggles with diabetes, a flavor chemist who attempts to capture the flavor of light, et.al. The production features an innovative, wrap-around video design that envelopes the space in lush video imagery, with live-feed video cameras that the actors control and video supertitles for scenes performed in Spanish. The cast of five actors play a variety of roles and a sixth, The Eater, sits meditatively at a table and eats a meal for the length of the play. The performance includes original songs composed by Bray Poor and Sean Hagerty, several dance numbers, and a pageant about the history of corn.

 

HEARTS AND TONGUES

SUNDAY, July 25 – 27 (Fri & Sat at 8 p.m., Sun. at 4.p.m.)

created and performed by WOOFNOVA

TEMPLE CROCKER & ANNIE KUNJAPPY

in collaboration with Daniel Allen Nelson

lighting by Sabrina Hamilton

As we live, we eat the world through our senses, our mouths ingesting the material of the natural world, our eyes, ears, nose and skin absorbing the colors, shapes, smells and vibrations. All meet in the blood stream, mingle with breath, tangle with the deepest intentions within the chambers of the heart and, thus transformed, are released as words, actions and other emanations of the heart and mind. Thus the inner landscape of our physical body, the subtle vibrations of our energetic body, and the unfolding of our being in time are shaped by the material of the external world.

Led by our hunger and passion, if we are what we eat, our digestive systems are conduits for an intimate communion with our environment, and our manifested beings are reincarnations of all that we have consumed.

In their latest theatrical exploration Temple Crocker and Annie Kunjappy attempt to sort through the chaos of information and experience to understand man’s sublime, contentious and ever evolving relationship with the natural world.

ABOUT THE COLLABORATION

Temple Crocker and Annie Kunjappy’s handcrafted performance work combines installation and objects, songs and gestures, original and appropriated texts. The research process that accompanies the making of a piece draws on a variety of sources including literature, philosophy, the natural and social sciences, alternative medicine, homespun recipes and visual art. Weaving together personal and universal mythologies the work explores the intersection of whimsy and insight addressing themes such as the curious nature of identity, and the phenomena of presence and memory.

 

SONGS OF HUNGER & SATISFACTION

SUNDAY, August 1 – 3 (Fri & Sat at 8 p.m., Sun. at 4 p.m.)

a new cabaret created and performed by: BELLE LINDA HALPERN

musical director/accompanist Ron Roy

directed by Sabrina Hamilton

A Ko Theater Works production

A funny, intriguing and profound look at constant cravings—hunger for food, sex, acceptance and fame — and for true nourishment. Songs that range from Tin Pan Alley classics by Gershwin, Berlin and Bernstein to pop anthems are interspersed with personal narrative reflecting Halpern’s Jewish-American experience.

The Boston Globe has called called Belle Linda Halpern’s work “stunning, both as music and theater” as she connects the music and lyrics of American and European cabaret songs with clarity, warmth and style. With her incredible dynamic range, she sensuously croons ballads, powerfully belts out the blues, and, with lightning speed and hilarity, whips out a patter song, the Boston Herald hails her as, “Boston’s best singing actor.”

Halpern was last seen at the Ko Festival two summers ago as the Empress Josephine in the Pilgrim Theatre production of (N) Bonaparte. Earlier that season, she garnered riotous applause in the Ko Kabaret with her selections from Moon Over Dark Street, a Bertolt Brecht/Kurt Weill revue.

 

Special Additional Event

SUNDAY, August 8 – 10 (Fri & Sat at 8 p.m., Sun. at 4 p.m..)

2/3 two short plays for three actors

ME AND BOBBY McGEE and LUGNUTS OF THE SOUL

Writteen by by PETER LOBDELL

Me and Bobby McGee:

In the first scene Bobby and McGee find themselves in a kind of limbo. They attempt to orient themselves, but the environment affects them in strange ways. In the second scene Me, an old woman in a wheel chair, speaks directly to the audience who learn that Bobby and McGee exist within her mind. For Bobby and McGee she might be God? For Me might they be memories, fantasies, or something more creative?

Lugnuts of the Soul:

An ordinary evening for Denise and Dave is interrupted by a telephone call. The telephone call segues into a visit by Angel. Angel claims to be Dave’s cousin, but there is something other worldly about her — including her ability to shift her personality into the other characters’ bodies.

CAST

The roles will be played by Bernard Bygott, Honora Talbott, and Teresa Spencer — all recent graduates of Amherst College.

2008 Workshops

THE ART OF COLLABORATION: devised theatre & ensemble practice

Temple Crocker and Barbara Lanciers

July 7 – 12

Discover the art of building an ensemble and utilizing the various interests and talents of a group to create original theater. This workshop explores the intimacies and intricacies of the collaborative process while engaging in various strategies for generating material for the stage. Theatre artists and educators Temple Crocker and Barbara Lanciers guide students through a unique actor training process allowing them to develop their own distinctive presence and style while engaging in the dynamics of ensemble performance.

The training – both highly physical and deeply contemplative – draws on the principles of various actor training methods and physical disciplines including Viewpoints, Suzuki, Yoga and The Alexander Technique. Throughout the week the group will create theatrical compositions utilizing elements provided and generated by the participants, including original and appropriated texts, songs and movement, objects and installations. The mornings will be devoted to ensemble training and the afternoons will be dedicated to the creation of theatrical compositions.

 

FINDING THE THEATRICAL SOUNDSCORE: with voice and non-traditional instruments

Katie Down

July 14 – 19

This workshop is open to theatre professionals and enthusiasts simply interested in our relationship to and with sound. The soundscore in a theatrical context can be as present as any character in a play or as a sonic support to the trajectory of the story. Sound comes from many different sources and how sound is created, manipulated and used in theatre will be explored through improvisational vocal and instrumental explorations as well as recording and mixing techniques. Sound walks will take place daily with the use of portable recording devices and open discussions about sound design, “sound-scapes” and composition will be fodder for collaborative creations and a final presentation at the end of the week.

 

PHYSICAL & EXPERIMENTAL APPROACHES TO CLASSICAL TEXTS

Ellen Beckerman

July 21 – 26

Bridge the divide between language and physicality in this intensive, on-your-feet workshop, focusing on scenes from Macbeth. Learn the basics of the LightBox Approach, which integrates movement techniques from around the world, including Butoh, Suzuki, Viewpoints, and Commedia dell’Arte, into one unified approach to physical theatre-making. Each class begins with meditation and ensemble-building before moving into a rigorous exploration of Shakespeare’s classic play using experimental staging techniques. Explore character through Butoh movement. Discover character relationships and generate staging through physical improvisation. The LightBox Approach is applicable to any performance style, and can help directors and actors uncover the contemporary resonances in classic plays. The Approach teaches the art of collaboration, ensemble-building, and whole-body listening skills that are as important in life as they are in art-making. This course is open to all theatre artists, including actors, directors, writers, dramaturgs, designers, and technicians.

 

CREATING CABARET: styles, stories and songs

 Deletta Gillespie

July 28 – August 2

Many cabaret performers have backgrounds in music and singing, but lack equal training in the theatricality that goes into making a successful cabaret act. In this workshop, our work on the art and craft of cabaret performance will include work on developing a persona for performance, choosing music, singing, creating spoken material relating to the audience, and on structuring an act. We will work with a variety of performance styles, thinking about the optimal way to engage audiences and convey meaning. There will be opportunities to share work in an environment that is safe for risk-taking and for growth. This workshop is suitable for first-timers, as well as professionals who want a chance to either hone or shake-up their work.

 

FUNDAMENTALS OF PUPPET PERFORMANCE: performer, instrument & score

Robert Smythe

August 4 – 9

This class will use a variety of techniques and games to develop an awareness of the three fundamentals of puppet performance: the performer, the instrument and the score. The class will use LeCoq mime technique and other theatre exercises to develop performance skills; found objects to create hand-puppets and Japanese-style bunraku puppets for instruments; and simple improvisational exercises to open the exploration of developing works for puppets. Participants will work solo and in pairs and will learn how to create their own work through exercises designed to increase control of the elements of theatre.

20082016-03-01T18:42:04-05:00

2007

2016-03-01T17:34:31-05:00

2007 PERFORMANCES

a season devoted to “Stories of Illness and Healing”

 
FRIDAY-SUNDAY, JULY 6 – 8

MATERMORPHOSIS

by Lenelle Moise, performed by Serious Play!

directed by Sheryl Stoodley, designed by Kathy Couch & Robin Doty

with Linda Putnam as Gregora/Mother

and Steve Bailey, Billy Girand, Jeannine Haas, Glenn Love, Alberto Peart, Alexis Reid

In this darkly ironic and comic adaptation of Kafka’s masterpiece of isolation and human cruelty “Metamorphosis,” award-winning, Hatian-American slam poet/playwright Lenelle Moise, reworks Kafka’s Gregor into Gregora, a critically ill, menopausal mother who has supported her family by working in the sex industry. By depicting her ”change of life” as her transformation into insect, the Serious Play Ensemble dissects the social constructs that compromise humanity, family bonds, and the loss of physical autonomy that occurs as we age and confront the possibility of illness and even death.

 

SUNDAY, July 15

PEACE

by Aristophanes, performed by the Mettawee River Company

under the direction of Ralph Lee

Our annual favorites with a contemporary adaptation of Aristophanes’ comedy PEACE that tells of a mortal who journeys on the back of a dung beetle to Mt Olympus to complain to the gods about the situation on earth, only to learn that the gods have fled, leaving War and Greed in charge and Peace buried under a trash heap. In the end, Peace is rescued and an extended celebration begins. This all-ages event is performed outdoors with live music, masks and giant puppets.

Performed on the Amherst College Observatory Lawn off of Snell Street. Bring blankets, lawn chairs and insect repellant, but leave the dogs at home!

The production will be ASL Interpreted by Joan Wattman.

 

FRIDAY – SUNDAY, JULY 20 – 22

THE MAMMY PROJECT

created and performed by Michelle Matlock

co-developed with Joan Evans, directed by Amy Gordon, lighting by Sabrina Hamilton

Writer/performer Michelle Matlock uses original music, storytelling, multimedia documentary materials and her considerable comedic skills to explore the influence that the “Mammy” icon has had on contemporary American culture by re-imagining the cultural traditions from which the image was born — slavery, minstrelsy and advertising. The piece unpacks the little-known history of Nancy Green, the first African-American woman hired to play the part of “Aunt Jemima’ at the 1893 World’s Fair, and in so doing transforms an oppressive stereotype of African-American womanhood into a celebration of the power to be gained from knowing and understanding history

 
FRIDAY – SUNDAY, JULY 27 – 29 at 8 p.m.

O YES I WILL (I will remember the spirit and texture of this conversation)

written and performed by Deb Margolin

direction and dramaturgy by Merri Milwe, lighting by Sabrina Hamilton

How much do we say when we speak? Yet what if we speak truth and aren’t there to hear it? In OBIE Award-winning playwright/performer Deb Margolin’s new piece a woman is amazed to learn that just prior to going under for surgery, she talked, talked and talked for 12 straight minutes without stopping! This unmediated aria performed before a bunch of men in scrubs with knives was known to them but unknown to her. Was it love she talked about? Politics? Sex? Conspiracy theory? Evasion? Ontology? Requests for a ménage à trois, quatre or cinq? What kinds of things do you say when your body and mind are engaged but not married? This comic tour-de-force for one actor is a kind of Scherezade for the surgery-bound, and offers five radically different possibilities of what she might have said outside the realm of conscious volition. In doing so, she explores the essential nature of language itself, the indomitable human spirit in the face of adversity, what it means to live in a woman’s body, and the role of theatre and imagination in our lives. Diagnosed with lymphoma ten years ago, Margolin has processing it, as with every significant event in her life, by writing and creating performance. In her work, the personal is always both the political and the poetic.

 

SUMMER WORKSHOPS 2007

 

BEYOND THE BARS: making theatre with incarcerated people and the recently released

July 2 – 7

with Julie Lichtenberg

Learn the unique process the Performance Project has developed over the past 12 years in its work inside and outside of prison settings that gives voice to identity and culture as it catalyses and supports change and transformation through self-reflection and the creation of artistically compelling work. The workshop will particularly address the role of the “outside” artist in the creation of performances that are opportunities for dialogue and relationship between performers and audience.

The Performance Project focus is on giving voice to identity and culture through self-reflection, catalyzing and supporting change and transformation, building a strong relationship among group members, and creating artistically strong work. Our workshops establish a creative and personal space within a jail or workshop setting. The Performance Project model of developing artistic work has five phases. 1) a workshop; 2) project development; 3) rehearsals; 4) production and performances; and, 5) evaluation.

The exercises will invoke a spirit of playfulness, creativity, and collaboration, and explore improvisational structures in theater and movement. Techniques for script development processes will include storytelling and writing exercises designed to give voice to identity and culture will be explored as well as exercises that the students invent themselves.

 

THEATRICAL CLOWN

July 9 – 14

with Julie Nelson

The exploration of Theatrical Clown plays a vital role in actor training. In this workshop, actors will enter the world of clown and get to know its topography. For example, adventurous physicality is a way of life here. Words are used sparsely and never squandered. The impulse bypasses the brain and gets right to work in the body. The presence of the performer is heightened by the immediate connection and volatile relationship between clown and audience.

Through a progression of exercises and structured improvisations, the actor will recognize and develop his/her nascent clown character. In the process, s/he will uncover and highlight habits and foibles that, until now, s/he wanted to ignore, hide or banish. They turn out to be crucial and delightful building blocks for the clown.

As with any theater ensemble, good will and a collaborative spirit are essential in creating an atmosphere in which all can take big risks.

 

BREATH, VOICE AND THE PERFORMATIVE SELF: from inner experience to outer expression

July 16 – 21

with Leeny Sack, Laurie McCants

A single cycle of breath and you’ve already been in relation: impressed through the inbreath, expressed through the outbreath. And you’ve shared air.

“Hmmm”, you might say, and you’ve also, perhaps unknowingly, just toned ancient sacred sounds, and voiced a sound you’ve seen in comic books. Hmmm …

A voice is like a fingerprint. Unique. Identifiable. Only yours.

It is vibratory imprint. It is a form of touch. “Speech,” says Dr. Oliver Sacks, “consists of UTTERANCE – an uttering forth of one’s whole meaning with one’s whole being”.

If you said, “hmmm” aloud, did you “utter” it? What did you mean by it? Was it loud? Barely audible? A single pitch? Several? Was there wonder in your voice? Disdain? Was there a frog in your throat, or a family member, whose voice seemed to come through you? Did you feel the sound in your body? Did you “utter” it?

This series combines guided, experiential practices for expanding internal awareness with exercises for reeducating and unifying the body/mind through breath and sound.

Elements of the following will be included:

  • breath awareness
  • breath, voice and the diaphragm
  • vowels and subtle energy centers (chakras)
  • consonants as frame and punctuation
  • embodying communication
  • softening psychophysical constraints
  • working with self-consciousness and fear
  • working with evocative and provocative texts
  • simple presence

Open to students of all levels.

 

SOLO PERFORMANCE

July 23 – 28

with Michelle Matlock

This workshop will focus on how to develop and perform a solo show. Starting with what motivates you!

Through theater games for the solo actor we will explore the “right now” and “doing, not thinking.” Clown techniques will be introduced to uncover the unique, connected and visible performer. We will then move into building your character/characters from a physical point of view. Storytelling will figure heavily in the work as you begin to discover and structure your own solo performance material.

Participants are asked to please come in with an idea. It can be anything, a poem, a prop, a gesture, a monologue, a word. Anything.

 

CREATING STAGE TEXTS FOR OUR TIMES

July 30 – August 4

with Ruth Margraff

How does the play you are writing (or want to write) measure up against the world right now? How can we write beyond America’s own backyards? Is there a way to write your story from a more world-driven centrifuge? How can we write more colossal characters? What are the politics of empathy and travel? In our highly intuitive laboratory, we’ll do writing exercises designed to get your play in motion, expand the horizon of your stage and to stir up interdisciplinary passions.

Open to writers and would-be writers from all genres of playwriting, screenwriting, fiction, music-theater, poetry, solo performance, etc.

 

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2006

2016-03-01T17:20:54-05:00

PERFORMANCES 2006

Ko celebrates its 15th Anniversary
by bringing back  artists from the first 14 years, to show their latest work

 

VALENTYNE AND ORSON

FRIDAY, July 14 at 8 p.m.

Ralph Lee’s Mettawee River Company of New York

A visit from our annual favorites with their new production which is based on a sprawling medieval French folk tale. This show will incorporate live music and a variety of masks, large and small puppets and other strong visual elements, in a response to the pageantry of court, castles and dark forests conjured up in the medieval imagination. Ralph Lee will designs and directs, with costumes by Casey Compton.

An all-ages event, outdoors on the Amherst College Observatory Lawn off of Snell Street. Bring blankets, lawn chairs and insect repel

The production will be ASL Interpreted by Joan Wattman.

 

Special Anniversary Gala: THE KO KABARET

SATURDAY, JULY 15 at 8 p.m.

In an echo of The Ko Show that closed our first season 15 years ago, the Ko Festival welcomes back a surprise roster of artists from the first fourteen years in a special anniversary gala cabaret, performed in a stunning environment designed by members of Boston’s TENT Collective.

 

HOUSE/BOY

SUNDAY, JULY 16 at 8 p.m.

Conceived and performed by Nicky Paraiso of NYC

Directed by Ralph Peña, Artistic Director of Ma-Yi Theater of NYC

Direct from La MaMa in NYC and Mexico City’s International Cabaret Festival, Nicky Paraiso’s third autobiographical evening-length solo work (ASIAN BOYS appeared in the 1994 Ko Festival) dealing with identity, sexuality and the enduring theme of what “home” means to Filipino Americans.

N (Bonaparte)

FRIDAY – SUNDAY, JULY 21-23 at 8 p.m.

By Laura Harrington of Cambridge, MA

Performed by Pilgrim Theatre of Ashfield, MA

Exiled to an island on the edge of nowhere. Plagued by Rats. Haunted by Joan of Arc. Seduced by fame. One small politician prepares to conquer the world.

A contemporary theatrical confrontation with our lust for power, with Ko Festival favorite, Kermit Dunkelberg, as the Little Emperor.

The performance on Sunday, 7/23 will be ASL interpreted by Joan Wattman.

 

VERONICA’S FOLD: Take 1

FRIDAY-SUNDAY, JULY 28 – 30 at 8 p.m.

by Wendy Woodson of Amherst, MA and Present Company

Wendy Woodson & Present Company Inc. brings its innovative and provocative multi-media work to the Ko Festival in an evening of new and recent work. Featured in the program is Veronica’s Fold: Take 1 a video and performance piece featuring 5 characters lost and found in an off kilter world of missed connections, disputed recollections and unexpected acts of compassion. Joining Woodson are New York and Western Mass artists Peter Schmitz, Marina Libel, Lisa Biggs, Candice Salyers and James Emery. Kathy Couch is set and lighting designer.

 

A COMIC STRIP

FRIDAY-SUNDAY, AUGUST 4-6 at 8 p.m.

Touchstone Theatre of Bethlehem, PA

Directed by Daniel Stein of the Dell’Arte Company of Blue Lake, CA

In Touchstone’s brand-new, dark and funny work, the life of a seasoned, successful, and world famous comic-strip artist begins to violently unravel. How can art possibly inspire change in a world so filled with very real suffering? He almost gives up, until his favorite comic strip characters manifest before his eyes and lead him on a life-changing journey.

WARNING: Viewer Discretion Advised! This piece contains adult themes, graphic language, strong sexual content, the devil himself, and a healthy dose of broccoli! Think Looney Tunes meets David Lynch. So keep the kids with a babysitter.

 

SUMMER WORKSHOPS 2006

SOMETHING OUT OF NOTHING: Designing from Non-Traditional and Found Materials

July 10-15

with Justin Townsend and Shannon Scrofano

Theatre can develop from visual, as well as from textual or performative beginnings. Learn to develop a vocabulary for making visually striking theatre that combines materials, performers, and actions. Create work using an “inside out” approach that links image and action from its inception. In this work, the economy of means that is often necessary from a budget point of view becomes a liberating factor. Using inexpensive, non-traditional and found materials, the workshop will culminate with an actual design and installation for a live performance – the Ko Festival’s 15th Anniversary Gala: THE KO KABARET. Open to all theater makers.

 

RE-IMAGINING OUTREACH: Community Engagement Programming

July 17-19

with Michael Rohd

Sojourn Theatre’s Michael Rohd, author of Theatre for Community Conflict and Dialogue: The Hope Is Vital Training Manual, offers a three-day workshop mixing case studies of best practices with active exploration of values, goals, and strategies for looking at theater and civic engagement. How do healthy partnerships and collaborations develop? What’s the difference between audience development and civic engagement? What types of processes support and nurture ethical, mutually beneficial projects that reach beyond your walls and intersect with populations that may not traditionally be served by your programming? The work will focus on project planning, partner-building, and arts-based civic dialogue practice.

DISCOUNT AVAILABLE FOR TCG & NET MEMBER THEATRES!

 

 

ACTOR ON THE ROAD: Encountering the Legacy of Grotowski’s Polish Theatre Lab

July 24-29

with Kim Mancuso & Kermit Dunkelberg of Pilgrim Theatre

A six-day intensive, practical workshop for performers, directors and other theatre makers. Open to all levels of experience.

Explore Pilgrim Theatre’s unique approach to performance creation developed through years of work with members of the Polish Laboratory Theatre, (Zbigniew Cynkutis, Zygmunt Molik, Rena Mirecka, Jerzy Grotowski) and others on the continuum of experimental theatre practice. Work will include physical training (presence, impulse, expressivity); vocal training, resonators, group sound, approaching text as partner); and generating provocative performance material.

You, the actor, are the source. We will utilize body, voice, imagination, experience, sense memory and association to seek new forms of creative expression and go beyond our perceived limits. The process will culminate in a brief final presentation.

 

MASK PLAY: A Lecoq Intensive

July 31-August 5

with Jennie Gilrain, E’cole Lecoq Graduate/Touchstone Ensemble Associate & Mark McKenna, E’cole Lecoq Graduate/Artistic Director of Touchstone Theatre

“Whatever its dramatic style, all theatre profits from the experience an actor gains through mask performance” –Jaques Lecoq

A six day, Lecoq-based intensive on discovering the levels and structures of mask play. A mask demands that the actor support it, fill it, be led by it. Pre-conceived ideas will not play. Working with a variety of masks and styles, participants will hone performance skills such as presence, sensory awareness, spontaneity, clarity of gesture, and the ability to motivate, full-bodied physical action. This journey into mask play will also address mask-making and each student will leave the workshop with an individual maquette – a base for customized masks. This rigorous master class is meant for the experienced actor but also suitable for any serious student who wishes to explore his or her expressive and creative ability.

20062016-03-01T17:20:54-05:00

2005

2016-03-01T17:09:15-05:00

PERFORMANCES 2005

a season devoted to THE IMMIGRANT EXPERIENCE
and the struggle between traditional values and
the desire for cultural assimilation or a new identity

followed by WORLD PUPPET WEEK

NITA & ZITA

FRIDAY-SUNDAY, JULY 15-17 at 8 p.m.

ARTSPOT PRODUCTIONS
Written and directed by Lisa D’Amour
Nita & Zita features Katie Pearl as Zita and Kathy Randels as Nita.
With an original score by New Orleans jazz pianist Tom McDermott and DJ mixes by Greg Wildz, costumes by Olivia Wildz, set design and assemblage by Shawn Hall, and video design by Maria Cataldo.

Nita & Zita is an intimate extravaganza about two visionary showgirls. Part ghostly docudrama, part showgirl spectacular, Nita & Zita begins in 1920 and takes audiences on an up-to-the-minute ride through the lives of these eclectic, elusive sisters.

Nita & Zita tells the real life story of two sisters – dancers, seamstresses, painters – and the mystique that still resonates long after their death. In 1922, the sisters from the Jewish town of Baia Maire, Romania, stepped off a ship called “The Reliance” onto Ellis Island. For Flora and Piroska Gellert, this was the beginning of a long life of travel, performance and fierce personal style. Traveling through this country and beyond as “Nita and Zita, International Dancers,” Flora and Piroska dazzled audiences with their handmade costumes and exotic routines featuring petite Piroska, a contortionist.

In the early 1940’s, they settled into a Creole cottage in New Orleans, performing in the French Quarter and in a nearby bar until their retirement in the 1950’s. Quickly, their home became the sisters’ refuge, their reclusive habits making them instant neighborhood legends: rumors spread about the “gypsy ladies” who walked to the grocery store wearing formal dresses, and who painted their entire house, inside and out, with wild polka dot patterns.

REMAINS OF SHADOW

FRIDAY – SUNDAY, JULY 22-24 at 8 p.m.

By Naoko Maeshiba in collaboration with Tatsuya Aoyagi

Conceived/directed/choreographed by Naoko Maeshiba, this multidisciplinary performance piece illuminates the memory and history ingrained in the body that bridges two cultures: Japan and America. The shape and the form of ‘traces’ within one’s own body and mind, as well as in society are examined through evocative visual poetry. Intricate human relationships, our conflicted existence, and the journey between life and death are vividly depicted through layers of images. Remains of Shadow leads the audience into the sensorial experience of drifting created through text, movement, objects, voice, music, and video projection.

 

ARAB

(CANCELLED due to delays in visa approval by Homeland Security)

FRIDAY-SUNDAY, JULY 29 – 31 at 8 p.m.

Nora Amin of Cairo, Egypt

After an extensive European tour, prize-winning Egyptian author and performer Nora Amin brings her production to Amherst. Amin describes her multimedia production ARAB as “an attempt to question definitions, break the rules and taboos, shift the borders between cultures and genres, and finally re-create the cultural identity of the artist through live and artistic performance.” It starts by exposing the labels of identity (Arab/Muslim/woman), then goes towards a live exploration of how one can find her profound self beyond the layers of the outside images imposed on her, and – above all – through the foreign language that allows more proximity in the description of the experiences that create the specificity of the self. Since these experiences are themselves taboo in the native (Arabic) language of the person, they seek their liberation in another language that does not forbid them.

 

WORLD PUPPET WEEK

THE CAUCASIAN CHALK CIRCLE

by Bertolt Brecht

FRIDAY, August 5th at 8 p.m. ONE NIGHT ONLY!

Ralph Lee’s Mettawee River Company of New York

A visit from our annual favorites with their new abridged version of Bertolt Brecht’s THE CAUCASIAN CHALK CIRCLE , which was based on a 13th century Chinese play. Both plays contain echoes of King Solomon’s demonstration of wisdom in devising a test to determine the true mother of a contested baby. In Brecht’s play a peasant girl rescues an abandoned child of noble parents in a time of upheaval. The girl protects the child through many serious and comic adventures. When the noble mother tries to reclaim the child in order to gain an inheritance, the resulting dispute is brought before an eccentric judge, who manages to hand down an outrageous but just decision. Six actors will play multiple roles. The production will incorporate masks, puppetry and costumes, with a live original musical score composed by Neal Kirkwood. Ralph Lee will design and direct the production, with costumes by Casey Compton.

 

BOY IN A BARREL

SATURDAY & SUNDAY, AUGUST 6-7 at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art

Devised and directed by Miguel Romero of Leverett, MA

Freely based on Alexander Pushkin’s Russian fairy tale The Tale of Tsar Saltan

A swan with magic powers, a vengeful bumblebee, a golden hero, and a lady pirate share the puppet stage in Boy in a Barrel, a rollicking fairy tale for all ages. The story tells of love, betrayal, and good-natured revenge when the King marries one of two sisters before going off to war. The Queen’s evil sister switches letters and leads the King to believe that the Queen and their baby son have died. In fact, the jealous sister has cast a spell that turns her sister into a swan and spirited the baby boy, destined to be the Kingdom’s hero, into a barrel that is dumped into the sea. Swan and boy end up on an island where they hilariously turn the tables on the evil sister, who has determined to marry the King herself.

The production features table-top, rod, and shadow puppets in colorful Russian costumes and was accompanied by rousing balalaika music and mock Russian sea chanteys.

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is on Bay Road in Amherst.

Box Office opens July 11. (413) 542-2277

For information prior to the opening of the box office call (413) 427-6147.

 

 

SUMMER WORKSHOPS 2005

BIOGRAPHICAL THEATER

July 11-16

with Kathy Randels of ArtSpot Productions and Katie Pearl

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Mae West, Harriet Tubman, Tupac, the old lady who lived down the street when you were growing up: all of these people had secret lives. Find the theatrical potential in the secret life of the person you have always wanted to perform, and explore your relationship to that person. This workshop gives you permission to excavate and create information about a person in whose shoes you have always wanted to walk. Using techniques of the Nita & Zita creative team, participants will work in theatrical and visual arts mediums to create a biographical sketch of their favorite subject.

STORYTELLING

July 18 – 23

with Nora Amin  

This workshop will concentrate on storytelling drawn from literary sources. Participants will work on:

  1. How to use a literary source (play, novel, short story) and convert it into material for storytelling
  2. Strategies to recreate/transform the initial stories through improvisation
  3. Improve the story as a piece of oral literature, focusing on poetics and images.
  4. Adding a physical input to further the expression of the story.
  5. Creating group stories from the individual inputs/stories, by combining them and developing them into a collective structure exploring the result as a one big story.
  6. Performing the “one big story” in addition to other individual stories.

The workshop above was cancelled. A workshop on Traditional Storytelling Techniques from the Upper Nile of Egypt, taught by Isis Misdary Saratial was substituted in its stead.

CLOWN

July 25-30

with Mark McKenna of Touchstone Theatre

Also known as “Courageous Acting: Creating a Clown,” this workshop will be an intense exploration of the sense of play, courage and skill needed to create a theatrical clown character. In a community of fun and support , built to encourage great risk taking, the actor creates a clown in the crucible between exquisite listening and revealing his/her most guarded self. Availability and generosity are essential, self-indulgence is scorned. Solo and group improvisations, assignments, along with individual guidance will locate for each participant how to create original, moving material thru developing his/her unique clown. Mark McKenna studied at the LeCoq School in Paris and is the Artistic Director of Touchstone Theatre in Bethlehem, PA.

 

SHADOW PUPPETRY: bringing shadows into the light

August 1-6

with Wendy Morton

This workshop explores dramatic storytelling through shadows and light projections. Shadow theatre has changed dramatically since the days before electricity. Advanced technology has given us lighting that can project sharp shadows on a screen in large scale. The performer must coordinate three elements: the light, the puppet and the space from the screen. We will practice traditional shadow puppetry movement to find subtlety and simplicity in expression. We will take a look at our own shadows, exploring how good and evil are viewed in our culture and how those values are reflected in our stories. To create stories on the screen we will employ modern film techniques and explore theatrical shadow images through improvisation. Workshop participants should bring a poem or song containing shadow imagery.

 

“The Ko Festival of Performance offerings are authentic, brave… its pool is international;
it sits on a unique throne.”. —The Greenfield Recorder

20052016-03-01T17:09:15-05:00

2004

2016-03-01T16:22:21-05:00

PERFORMANCES 2004

a season devoted to the theme of “The Document, the Documenter, and the Documented: celebrating the preservation of knowledge and lamenting its loss – through performance, display and public forums”

OUT OF THE GARDEN

FRIDAY-SUNDAY, JULY 16-18 at 8 p.m

a double bill of EVE and EXILE
Ko Theater Works of Amherst, MA

EVE: Leslie Farlow (choreographer, writer, performer)
In this dance/theater work, Eve dances into the Garden lured by the Apple, argues with the Snake, then confronts the Almighty on his puritanical attitudes towards sex. Prancing around in an Ann Taylor cocktail dress, she’s flung to the ground by the wrath of you-know-who and finally dances joyfully in defiance. Text is written by Lesley Farlow with excerpts from the Gnostic Gospels. Original music composed by Roger Seitz. Costume by Thrift Shop.

EXILE: Leslie Farlow (choreographer, writer, performer)
Video and direction by Mitchell Polin
In movement and monologue, Exile traces a woman’s journey up to the line of the unthinkable act-and over. Based on the story of Medea, with text drawn in ancient Greek from the Euripides play, as well as from the trials and writings of Andrea Yates and Susan Smith.

 

THE HEROIC AND PATHETIC ESCAPADES OF KARAGIOZIS

SATURDAY, JULY 20th at 8 p.m. ONE NIGHT ONLY!

Ralph Lee’s Mettawee River Company of New York
A visit from our annual favorites with their new piece drawn from the the folk puppet theater tradition of Turkey and Greece. In these tales our hero uses all his wit and a minimum of actual work to satisfy his insatiable hunger. Karagiozis presents a world where the underdog sometimes manages to scramble to the top of a realm populated by an array of heroes and fools, beauties and dragons. These tales reflect the outrageous humor and feisty spirit of nations who have survived centuries of empires, invasions and political turmoil. Mettawee will use a range of scales to express the heightened reality of these stories, incorporating puppets, masks and giant figures in the process of bringing them to life.

An all-ages event, outdoors on the Amherst College Observatory Lawn off of Snell Street. Bring blankets, lawn chairs and insect repellant, but leave the pets at home.

 

THE ALEXANDRIA CARRY-ON

FRIDAY – SUNDAY, JULY 23-25 at 8 p.m.

A collaboration by Laurie McCants, Theo Bleckmann,  and F. Elaine Williams with Sabrina Hamilton and Rand Whipple

The vanished Library of Alexandria, once contained almost all of the known books of the world, gathered from the many cultures of the ancient Mediterranean. It disappeared without a trace. This new solo music-theatre piece tells the story of a curious slave (played by avant-garde jazz performer Theo Bleckmann) who repairs the precious papyrus scrolls stored in the honeycombed shelves of the Library. He teaches himself to read, and discovers what has been hidden from him: the tantalizing possibility of knowledge, freedom, and love. Blending ancient text, contemporary music, and modern technology, THE ALEXANDRIA CARRY-ON premiered at the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble in Pennsylvania, and will be performed in the fall at the new Biblioteca Alexandrina in Egypt, followed by a national tour.

Performances of THE ALEXANDRIA CARRY-ON at the Ko Festival are supported in part by a grant from the LEF Foundation.

 

SOUNDING TO A

FRIDAY-SUNDAY, JULY 30 – AUGUST 1 at 8 p.m.
and special matinee on SUNDAY, AUGUST 1 at 3 p.m.

Ko Theater Works of Amherst, MA  premieres a multimedia performance piece about refugee trauma from the Jewish ghetto in Shanghai to 1950s Cleveland, and the solace of food. The project is conceived and performed by Eva Ungar Grudin, in collaboration with director and designer, Sabrina Hamilton, Ko Festival Artistic Director, and with Yossi Gutmann, the world-renowned Israeli violist based in Vienna, Austria, who performs in the piece and serves as Music Director.

 

POET IN NEW YORK: A one-man fantasia about gay Spanish poet and playwright Federico Garcia Lorca

FRIDAY-SUNDAY, AUGUST 6-8 at 8 p.m.

Pig Iron Theatre of Philadelphia, PA With Dito van Reigersberg, Directed by Dan Rothenberg

In 1929, Lorca, suffering from a broken heart, arrives in New York City, just in time to see the Stock Market Crash.  In a landscape of tenement buildings, Harlem blues clubs, and overcrowded streets, he is unable to write.   POET IN NEW YORK is about Lorca’s artistic and sexual awakening in the unfamiliar and chaotic metropolis of Manhattan.  Dito van Reigersberg plays eleven characters in this highly physical one-man tour de force.

WINNER – Total Theatre Award, London

“Intelligent and evocative” — The Philadelphia Inquirer

“A stunning performance” — The Herald (Edinburgh)

20042016-03-01T16:22:21-05:00

2003

2016-03-01T16:14:21-05:00

PERFORMANCES 2003

A Summer of Ensemble Theatre

THE DANCING FOX: WISDOM TALES FROM THE MIDDLE EAST

SATURDAY, JULY 12th at 8 p.m. ONE NIGHT ONLY!

Ralph Lee’s Mettawee River Company of New York
A visit from our annual favorites with their new piece drawn from the shared folk traditions of Jews and Arabs, including the allegorical writings of philosophers and Sufi mystics, as well as fables and folklore. Many characters, including a leviathan, a couple of fish, some clever foxes, and a number of wise and foolish humans, are brought to you using puppets, masks and live music. An all-ages event, outdoors on the Amherst College Observatory Lawn off of Snell Street. Bring blankets, lawn chairs and insect repellant, but leave the pets at home.

 

IF AT ALL

FRIDAY-SUNDAY, JULY 18-20 at 8 p.m. in the Holden Theater

Touchstone Theatre of Bethlehem, PA in collaboration with Gerard Stropnicky of the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble of Bloomsburg, PA
From Bethlehem, PA, Touchstone Theatre brings us an original piece of ensemble theatre in which we see how relationships with our parents and our children evolve, and how the “sandwich generation” manages. It’s an exploration of the meaning of time and life, acted with Touchstone’s characteristic humor, poignancy, and movement. Drawn from texts as diverse as T.S. Eliot’s FOUR QUARTETS and texts by Einstein, Stephen Hawking and contemporary cosmologists, IF AT ALL is an entertaining and provocative creation that strives at the mystery of our day to day struggle with nature of time and eternity. The company brings together relatives and relativity, and the conjunction of the cosmic and the commonplace, in a work that offers some ideas of love, faith, the healing power of time, and the joy that comes from the journey.

 

The Ko Festival of Performance hosts:

THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF THE NETWORK OF ENSEMBLE THEATRES (N.E.T.)

MONDAY – SUNDAY, JULY 21-27

a gathering of artists, presenters, critics, scholars, and students interested in ensemble theatre with the participation of (to date):

Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble Cornerstone Theater Double Edge Theatre
Ghost Road Company HartBeat Ensemble Irondale Ensemble Project
Mabou Mines Ko Theater Works NaCl
Sandglass Theater Theatre Grottesco Touchstone Theatre
A Traveling Jewish Theatre

The following performances at the conference are open to the public:

 

10 BRECHT POEMS

THURSDAY – FRIDAY JULY 24-25 at 7 & 9 p.m. in Webster Hall, Studio 3

A co-production of NaCl Theatre and Strike Anywhere of New York
Conceived and performed by Tannis Kowalchuk and Leese Walker

“In the dark times will there also be singing? Yes, there will also be singing about the dark times.”

This timely piece celebrates the voice of artists, Brecht the poet, the wonders of theatre, and humankind’s unstoppable struggle for light in the shadows of war, oppression and suffering. The talented duo of Tannis Kowalchuk and Leese Walker make use of their extensive training in physical theatre, music, and storytelling to bring to life this New Theatre performance. Each of the ten poems in the series is heralded by a handwritten placard and a simple chime, as the actresses juxtapose song, dance and humor with Brecht’s poignant social critique and moving poetry. With grace, skill, and extraordinary energy, the actresses transform the stage, turning simple instruments and objects into the devices of a performance style akin to magical realism.

 

THE MURALS OF ROCKEFELLER CENTER

THURSDAY – FRIDAY JULY 24-25 at 8 p.m. in the Holden Theater

The Irondale Ensemble Project of New York
The Irondale Ensemble, an experimental/research theater ensemble established in 1983, with a history of 40 major Off-Broadway shows, brings us a glimpse of 1927, a time when America was at a crossroads, looking with hope and vision to the creation of a new and better future. In order to commemorate a nation on the verge of cultural advances, captain of industry John Rockefeller, Jr. enlisted Diego Rivera, a world-renowned artist from Mexico, to paint a mural over the information desk in the main lobby of the RCA Building at Rockefeller Center. Before Rivera’s colorful fresco could be completed, Rockefeller’s representative noticed a prominent portrait of USSR founder Vladimir Lenin. They fired Rivera, concealed the painting from the public’s view and later blasted his work off the wall with air hammers, reducing it to dust and rubble. In telling the story, Diego Rivera makes use of the lives and legends of other prominent figures of the age, notably Charles Lindbergh and John Dillinger, in order to examine the role of the hero and anti-hero in American society. Like Rivera, they too attempted to provoke the prevailing powers, and both were destroyed by the ‘Rockefellers’ with whom they did battle.

ASSIMILATION

SATURDAY – SUNDAY JULY 26-27 at 7 & 9 p.m. in Webster Hall, Studio 3

Cornerstone Theatre of Los Angeles
ASSIMILATION is a solo performance piece written and performed by Shishir Kurup, an Indo-African-American Actor/Writer/Director/Composer born in Bombay, India and raised in Mombassa, Kenya. Directed by Page Leong, the piece is a serio-comic unraveling of the complexities of emigration. Stories of struggling for identity within America’s homogenizing melting pot are told through vignettes featuring a white Southern boy, an aging African street vendor, a Thai waitress, two Palestinian shopkeepers and a liberal casting director. ASSIMILATION premiered at Highways Performance Space in Los Angeles. Kurup is an award-winning ensemble member of the renowned Cornerstone Theater Company, whose members frequently travel throughout rural and urban America and settle in towns for several weeks to put on a play. The company works collectively with community members to adapt classic plays to meet specific issues and needs within the community. ASSIMILATION will soon be published by Rutgers Press in the anthology Word: A Century of Asian American Writing.”

CLYT AT HOME

SATURDAY – SUNDAY JULY 26-27 at 8 p.m. in the Holden Theater

The Ghost Road Company of Los Angeles
An adaptation of the Oresteia, conceived and directed by Katharine Noon, written by Katharine Noon and Chris DeWan, with words and music by David Bickford, this production was developed by the Ghost Road Ensemble in collaboration with Theatre of NOTE under the auspices of the ASK Common Ground Festival. It is an exploration of the Greek plays that encompass the fall of the House of Atreus. Set against the backdrop of the Trojan war, the events of the story are seen through the eyes of the one who stayed at home, Clytemnestra. CLYT AT HOME, created through an ensemble process, pulls from many varied sources ranging from the plays themselves to current headlines which are, in turn, filtered through the personal points of view of each member of the ensemble. Through this process an entirely new theatrical world is created as we follow the journey of Clytemenstra through the events of these stories. The world is one of facade and political spin, as the characters try to hold the power structure together the interior of their lives is in full decay. In this timely production, the country is financially gutted from fighting wars abroad. There is unrest in the streets and the ruling class is in hiding . As the play progresses this facade begins to crack. Clytemenestra, a woman born into power, plays the game of the dutiful political wife in a loveless marriage until the death of her daughter. Something snaps in her and she takes matters into her own hands. A woman, beaten by life, decides to take control of her destiny. She discovers, for the first time, that she has a choice but with that choice comes a cost. This production received a LA Weekly Award for best actress, Jacqueline Wright (Clytemnestra) and was nominated for an LA Weekly Award for best adaptation, and an Ovation Award for best play,

For further conference information and registration visit:
www.ensembletheaters.net

Post-Conference Performances:

FRIDAY-SUNDAY, AUGUST 1-3 at 8 p.m. in the Holden Theater

ONE WAY STREET

Sandglass Theater of Putney, VT
in a piece about time, memory, cultural history, and the sense of life’s mystery. Using texts from Walter Benjamin, the 1920’s/30’s German Jewish literary critic, Bass and members of Sandglass Theater create a world of image in which a key has been irrevocably lost, but the desire to search for it remains. This is a state of longing, a search for that which cannot be found. It is the search which matters, not the object of the search. The world of ONE WAY STREET is populated by figures who are fragments of dreams, of childhood, of poems. These characters emerge from Benjamin’s texts: the Angel of History, the Little Hunchback of nursery songs, and someone who suggests Benjamin himself but who might be any searcher, any collector of the timeless objects of history and culture. These characters inhabit the remains of cities, the buildings of which are themselves only fragments. Somewhere within these fragments is a key, but one can only wander and hope to encounter it. Collaborating on the project is Salvadoran theater director Roberto Salomon, who works and resides in Geneva, composer Paul Dedell, and Sandglass co-founder, Ines Zeller Bass.

Due to illness, the Ko Festival of Performance must postpone its performances of SOUNDING TO A. The production will appear next season, in the 2004 Ko Festival of Performance. In its place we have the following:

THE LIVING ROOM

FRIDAY-SUNDAY, AUGUST 8-10 at 8 p.m. in the Holden Theater

Chimaera Physical Theater of Amherst, MA
THE LIVING ROOM is an evening of work by the Chimera Physical Theater, movement/theater artists who are based in Amherst, but who perform nationally and internationally. THE LIVING ROOM is a bold combination of theatrical narrative and the pure physicality of dance. The essence inherent in dance is combined with the specific desires and personality of a human character. The result is a physical theater where potent emotional expression, the heightened specificity of intention and the sheer power of unbound physical movement come together to communicate directly to the hearts and minds of the audience.

The concert will include The Living Room, Soliloquy, and a new piece created while in residence at KO, called KO-Lab Oration.

The Living Room: “dramatically intense and often boisterously amusing…alarming and entertaining to behold.” Told through a vivid and emotionally charged physical language, The Living Room takes you through the lives of two characters, compressing and expanding time, and stabbing to the heart of its central question: do you dare to deeply love another person? Soliloquy is a solo to the music of J. S. Bach, which takes the audience into the internal struggle of a human being’s passionate desire to change. is a wildly dynamic piece,
 — Jack Anderson of the New York Times

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