Seven major world and U.S. premieres by some of the boldest and most provocative theater directors, choreographers and composers working today highlight Peak Performances @ Montclair’s 2009 winter/spring season. Jan Fabre’s “Orgy of Tolerance,” a Rwandan adaptation of Peter Weiss’s “The Investigation” and David Rousséve’s “Saudade” question contemporary morals in singularly imaginative ways. Susan Marshall’s world premiere and Joji Inc’s “Lolita” upend traditional notions of stage space and technology’s potential to alter perception. Penderecki’s freshly minted “String Quartet No. 3 – Leaves from an Unwritten Diary” challenges the musicians’ speed leaving audiences and artists equally breathless.
THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS
Times: January 17 at 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
The Grammy Award-winning alternative rock band They Might Be Giants presents two shows on January 17: A 4:00 p.m. matinee for kids featuring “Here Come the ABC’s” and an 8:00 p.m. evening performance for adults that promises its 1990 classic “Birdhouse in Your Soul,” among other hits.
JAN FABRE: ORGY OF TOLERANCE
Times: January 22, 23 at 7:30 p.m., January 24 at 8:00 p.m., January 25 at 3:00 p.m.
Using ten musicians, dancers and actors to create a satiric and terrifying look at the potential consequences of our P.C. culture, “Orgy of Tolerance” by Belgian director/visual artist/choreographer Jan Fabre, is comprised of absurd sketches provoking laughter that chokes. Politics, sex, consumerism, love are all moral targets.
CARLA KIHLSTADT AND SATOKO FUJI: MINAMO
Time: January 31 at 8:00 p.m.
Carla Kihlstadt, the California-based violinist and Satoko Fujii, the Japan-based pianist, make their east coast debut with “Minamo,” a jazz series of free improvisation duets drawn from rock, Bartok and Cecil Taylor. “Minamo” is conceptually based on the duo’s 2007 CD of the same name.
REBEL: IRREGULAR PEARLS: BAROQUE MUSIC FROM EUROPEAN COURTS AND CHAMBERS
Time: February 1 at 3:00 p.m.
Rebel (pronounced Re-BEL) will present “Irregular Pearls: Baroque Music from European Courts and Chambers,” a program of 17th and 18th century Italian, German and French chamber music highlighted by selections of Vivaldi, Corelli, Rossi, Leclair and Telemann. Currently in residence in New York City’s Trinity Church on Wall Street, Rebel was founded in the Netherlands in 1991.
URWINTORE: THE INVESTIGATION
Times: February 5, 6 at 7:30 p.m.; February 7 at 8:00 p.m.; February 8 at 3:00 p.m.
The Rwanda-based theater company Urwintore makes its American debut with its production of Peter Weiss’s contemporary classic, “The Investigation.” The Urwintore adaptation of Weiss’s examination of the German Holocaust gives the play universal power, becoming a conceit for the horrifying genocide that destroyed Rwanda in 1994. Directed by Dorcy Rugamba, the play is performed in Kinyarwanda with English subtitles.
DAVID ROUSSÈVE: SAUDADE (Premiere)
Times: February 12, 13 at 7:30 p.m.; February 14 at 8:00 p.m.; February 15 at 3:00 p.m.
David Roussève will present the tri-state premiere of “Saudade” (February 12–15), a full-evening dance that uses folklore, historical fact and personal experience to examine the single, indescribable moment when joy and agony are fused. In Portuguese, “Saudade” conjures up the complex mixture of sadness, pain, nostalgia, joy and love that is at the core of Fado music, which accompanies the dance.
SHANGHAI QUARTET: PENDERECKI’S STRING QUARTET NO. 3 – LEAVES FROM AN UNWRITTEN DIARY (American Premiere)
Time: February 21 at 8:00 p.m.
A highlight of the Shanghai Quartet’s February 21 concert is the American premiere of Krzysztof Penderecki’s “String Quartet No. 3 – Leaves from an Unwritten Diary,” commissioned by Peak Performances. Although only a single movement, its sections are clearly defined by a contemplative beginning, which transforms into a breathtaking vivace pattern yielding to a soft, gentle, gypsy-like concluding melody. The performance also includes Mozart’s “Quartet No. 15 in D Minor, K. 421” and Debussy’s “Quartet in G Minor, Op. 1.”
SUSAN MARSHALL & COMPANY PRESENTS A WORLD PREMIERE
Times: March 26, 27 at 7:30 p.m.; March 28 at 8:00 p.m.; March 29 at 3:00 p.m.
Marking a significant departure for the choreographer, Susan Marshall’s world premiere (title to come) incorporates technology into its choreographic structure inviting spontaneous improvisation by its six dancers. Many of the usually hidden elements of the stage, its pipes, lighting and ropes, are exposed and creatively manipulated to challenge the audience’s visual and aural perception and expectations. Peter Whitehead is composing the original score.
JOJI INC.: LOLITA
Times: April 3 at 7:30 p.m.; April 4 at 8:00 p.m.; April 5 at 3:00 p.m.
Why Joji Inc.’s “Lolita” (April 3-5) is described as “an imaginary opera” is literally a question of point of view. Although based on the Nabokov classic, Wooster Group founding member Jim Clayburgh (director), Joshua Finneberg (composer), Johanne Saunier (choreographer) and Kurt d’Haeseleer (video) turn tables on the novel’s original themes. The opera takes place entirely within the obsessive mind of its narrator Humbert Humbert (François Beukelars), who stands on a platform that suggests a witness box. Cameras record and screens reveal every change in his facial expression as the evening proceeds.
VIA KATLEHONG DANCE: WOZA
Times: May 7, 8 at 7:30 p.m.; May 9 at 8:00 p.m.; May 10 at 3:00 p.m.
Johannesburg’s Via Katlehong Dance will present the American premiere of “WOZA,” a vibrant celebration of the movement and rhythms of natural forces, wind, and animals. Filled with energetic, powerful and aggressive dancing amplified by strong stamping feet, hand clapping and loud voices, “WOZA” combines Pantsula –– the South African township urban dance –– and traditional Gumboots dance, mixed with African contemporary dance. The dance is accompanied by vocals and live music played on traditional and nontraditional South African instruments.
TICKET AND TRANSPORTATION INFORMATION
All tickets are $15, and are available at the Alexander Kasser Theater Box Office or by calling 973-655-5112 or online at www.peakperfs.org.
Van or bus service is available from New York City ($10 per person, roundtrip) from the Maritime Hotel on 9th Avenue and 16th Street to the Alexander Kasser Theater for selected performances. Bus reservations may be made by calling 973-655-5112. For train service, available only on weekdays, go online to: www.njtransit.com or call 1-800-772-2222.
Montclair State University is located at 1 Normal Avenue, Montclair, New Jersey 07043.
Alfred R. Fredel 973.655.3004
Released: January 7, 2009