A sign outside the Alexander Kasser Theater at Montclair State University should warn: “Cowards stay home.” productions are not for the weak-kneed. Considered the enfant terrible of European theater, the Belgian theater director/writer/choreographer/visual artist tackles tough political, social, sexual and artistic issues with unflinching grit, wit and humanity. His Prometheus - Landscape II, which has its world premiere at Peak Performances, January 20-30, exemplifies Fabre’s fierce imagination and fearless aesthetic.
The central image of the show is of Prometheus, bound and suspended high above the stage throughout the full 90-minute production. Symbolizing the artist bound by society’s contradictions: freedom of expression versus obedience to order, Prometheus, the bringer of fire to man, is also a symbol of creation and destruction.
While Prometheus is based on the Aeschylus tragedy, the text, which echoes the thunderous drama of the original, is brand new; it is written by Jeroen Olyslaegers and Fabre who apply the moral themes and stern warnings of Aeschylus to contemporary society. The look is completely contemporary in its use of technological wizardry as a 21st century symbol of fire.
Fabre, who in addition to conceiving, co-writing and directing the show, created the visually compelling sets. The music is by Dag Taeldeman, the lighting by Jan Dekeyser, and the costumes by Andrea Kranzlin. The international cast of 10 dancers and actors includes the American choreographer, actor, and dancer Lawrence Goldhuber.
The work, co-commissioned by Peak Performances (NJ, USA), Théâtre de la Ville (Paris, France), Malta Festival (Poznan, Poland), Tanzhaus NRW (Düsseldorf, Germany), Zagreb Youth Theatre (Zagreb, Croatia) and Exodos Ljubljana (Ljubljana, Slovenia), will be performed at each of the commissioners’ venues.
Although a celebrated figure throughout Europe, Fabre is still relatively unknown in the United States. His only U.S. performances outside of The Kitchen in New York City have been at Peak Performances, where his company performed Quando l’uomo principale e una donna in 2006, Je suis sang in 2007 and Orgy of Tolerance in 2008.
In the late 1970’s, the young Fabre created a scandal as a performance artist by setting fire to bundles of money from the audience and using the ashes to create drawings. Over the years he became well known and respected for the originality of his work as theater director, choreographer, opera director, and playwright. The Louvre recognized the power of Fabre as a visual artist in 2008 by juxtaposing his contemporary art with the work of the Flemish, Dutch and German masters. In all, his work commandeered 39 galleries. In 2004, he performed with Marina Abramovic at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris. France’s internationally celebrated Avignon Festival invited him as a curator in 2005.
Fabre created his company, Troubleyn (which means remaining faithful), in Antwerp in 1986. Troubleyn’s home, Troubleyn Laboratorium, functions as a workplace, rehearsal space and a laboratory for independent research and training, focusing on the body and language. Troubleyn has presented Fabre’s productions at the Théâtre de la Ville, the Avignon Festival, Venice Biennale, Ruhr Triennale, the Vilnius Festival and in countless other venues and festivals throughout the world.
information on Jan Fabre and Troubleyn, visit: www.troubleyn.be. (Note: the Troubleyn Web site contains some images of a mature nature.)
January. 20, 21, 27,
at 7:30 p.m.
January 22, 29 at 8 p.m.
January 23, 30 at 3 p.m.
All tickets are $15 and are available at the Alexander Kasser Theater Box Office, by calling 973-655-5112 or online at www.peakperfs.org. There is no charge for Montclair State University undergraduates with valid ID. Please arrive at least 30 minutes before curtain to claim your PAF ticket.
Peak Performances acknowledges the generous support of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, National Endowment for the Arts, The New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Discover Jersey Arts, the New England Foundation for the Arts, Chamber Music America, The Honorable Mary Mochary, and Alison and James T. Cirenza.
Released: January 5, 2011