Contact: Torya Beard firstname.lastname@example.org
February 10, 2015/New York, NY– La MaMa presents Prophetika: An Oratorio, directed by Princess Grace Award-winning stage director Charlotte Brathwaite from March 20 through April 5. In this multidisciplinary work, Brathwaite joins forces with eclectic composer/pianist Courtney Bryan and celebrated installation artist Abigail DeVille in a sonically stimulating, visually spectacular work with original music that draws influence from the music and writings of Sun Ra, Alice Coltrane, and sacred music from various traditions. Prophetika will be presented in an immersive space densely layered with suspended sculptures and reflective mirrored surfaces
Part theatrical event, part visual art installation, part ritual ceremony, Prophetika: An Oratorio proposes a mythical cosmology of colliding reflections on freedom and a view of the current state of our world. Brathwaite says, “Prophetika was inspired by Harriet Tubman’s journey from enslavement to liberation; the cosmic philosophies and improvisational style of Sun Ra; Alice Coltrane’s consciousness rising devotional music and the mysterious invading black monoliths in Stanley Kubrick’s classic sci-fi film 2001: Space Odyssey. It unfolds as a countdown to tomorrow, a road map to human destiny, a quest for the infinite from within.”
The company is comprised of stage director Charlotte Brathwaite; composer and pianist Courtney Bryan; installation artist and costume designer Abigail DeVille; lighting designer Kent Barrett; video artist Cauleen Smith with performances by actor/singer Jadele McPherson; harpist Brandee Younger; live sound designer Justin Hicks and Courtney Bryan on piano.
Prophetika: An Oratorio, will be performed at The Club at La MaMa, March 20 – April 5, 2015. Tickets: $18/13 students and seniors.
Ten $10 tickets will be available to every performance on a first-come, first-served basis. Performance schedule: Fridays and Saturdays at 10PM and Sundays at 6PM. For tickets call the La MaMa Box Office at (646) 430-5374. For more information visit www.lamama.org. The Club @ La MaMa Theater is located on the second floor of 74A East 4th Street, (between The Bowery and Second Avenue) New York, NY 10003.
Directly following the 6pm performances of Prophetika: an Oratorio on Sunday, March. 22 and Sunday, March 29 the collaborators of Prophetika invite experts in the humanities and the arts, to participate in one of two informal conversations on core themes in this work including: Afro-futurism, spirituality, politics, activism, science, representation and the arts. The duration of all conversations will be 50mins.
March 22 - “Transcendence” Discussion topics: Spirituality, Politics, and the Arts speakers: Kara Lynch, Dr. Matthew Morrison, Dr. Imani Perry, Imani Uzuri. Moderator: Dr. Courtney Bryan
March 29 - “Dark Matter” Discussion topics: Science, Technology, and the Arts speakers: Greg Tate, Didier Sylvain, Abigail DeVille. Moderator: Charlotte Brathwaite
ABOUT PROPHETIKA: AN ORATORIO
Prophetika: An Oratorio is a journey into the rebel soul presented through a fractured lens, a theatrical kaleidoscope using found ethnographic images, darkness and light, pre-recorded sounds, live music and compositions of mysterious physical collaging. Powerful and potent images of blackness, prophetic and profane, terror and beautiful emerge as an Escher-like torrent out of the darkness into the light, out of the silence to be heard.
Prophetika marks a growing directorial interest for Brathwaite in a complete creative landscape where contrasting ideas of beauty and violence collide with imagined and real elements from history. This new work continues her fascination with revealing African diasporatic identity through images of power and agency. Brathwaite says “the work is conceived as a sacred connotation formed of whispering and chanting. Black noise, black light – black the color of mystery, the unknown, a mysterious space of contemplation and reflection. It is a space visited by spirits immemorial, figures of resistance, action and creation pronouncing visionary voyages through to higher levels of existence. Ancestors calling from the past transforming into a force that propels us into the future."
ABOUT THE COLLABORATORS
A native of Toronto, Canada, CHARLOTTE BRATHWAITE (concept/direction) joined the internationally renowned La MaMa E.T.C’s Great Jones Repertory as an actor at the age of 16 and performed in New York and in over 12 countries with the company. An independent director, her works presented in the Americas, Europe, the Caribbean and Asia, range in subject matter from the historical past to the distant future illuminating issues of race, sex, power and the complexities of the human condition without adhering to limitation of genre. A director of classical and unconventional texts, operas, dance, multi-media, site-specific, installations and concerts her work has been commissioned and presented by Central Park SummerStage, DC Arts Commission, 651 Arts, the International Festival of Arts and Ideas, Aarshi Theater Company Kolkata, Test! Festival Zagreb, Het Veem Theater Amsterdam, Scarlett Project Trinidad, The Living Theater, Joe’s Pub, La MaMa E.T.C, JACK Brooklyn, Studio Museum Harlem and HAU Berlin among others. Recent: adaptation of The Day The Earth Stood Still at MIT; James Tyler’s Sharks & Dolphins for The Fire This Time Festival. Upcoming: Raquel Almazan’s La Paloma Prisoner at the Signature Theater; The Geneva Project with 651 Arts; Put a Little Sugar in My Bowl with Mickalene Thomas for Performa 2015.
Awards/ Honors: Princess Grace Foundation Award; Julian Milton Kaufman Prize for Directing; Rockefeller Residency (A.I.M); National Performing Network Creation Fund; Glimmerglass Festival Young Artist Program (2013/14, 2014/15); Princess Grace Foundation New Works grant; Visiting Artist Williams College; Visiting Professor Amherst College. BA, Amsterdam School for the Arts, the Netherlands; MFA, Yale School of Drama. Brathwaite is currently Assistant Professor of Theater Arts at MIT. www.charlottebrathwaite.com
COURTNEY BRYAN (composer) a native of New Orleans, La, is “a pianist and composer of panoramic interests” (New York Times). Her music ranges from solo works to large ensembles in the new music and jazz idioms, film scores, and collaborations with dancers, visual artists, writers, and actors. She performs around the New York area, and is the Director of the Institute of Sacred Music at Bethany Baptist Church of Newark, NJ. Dr. Bryan has academic degrees from Oberlin Conservatory (BM), Rutgers University (MM), and recently completed a DMA in music composition at Columbia University of New York, with advisor George Lewis. Bryan has been an instructor at Columbia University and Oberlin Conservatory, and is currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Center for African American Studies at Princeton University. She has two independent recordings, “Quest for Freedom” (2007) and "This Little Light of Mine" (2010).
ABIGAIL DEVILLE (visual artist and costume design), a Native New Yorker, lives and works in the Bronx. She attended Pratt Institute (2000) and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (2007), earning a BFA from the Fashion Institute of Technology (2007) and an MFA from Yale University (2011). Her awards include grants from the Joan Mitchell Foundation (2012) and The Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund of the New York Community Trust (2012), among others. Her work has been included in the exhibitions Rites of Spring, Contemporary Art Museum Houston (2014); Guts, Abrons Art Center, New York (2013); Black in the Abstract, Contemporary Art Museum Houston (2013); Invisible Men: Beyond the Veil, Galerie Michel Rein, Paris (2013); Gastown Follies, Artspeak, Vancouver (2013); Bronx Calling: The Second AIM Biennial, Bronx Museum (2013); Future Generation Prize Exhibition, the 55th Venice Biennial (2013). She has designed sets for theatrical productions—directed by Peter Sellers and Charlotte Brathwaite—at venues such as the Stratford Festival (2014), JACK (2014), Joe’s Pub (2014), and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2015). She is currently a Harvard Radcliffe Institute Fellow.