The CalArts Center for New Performance has unveiled its 2017-2018 season of original works, including two world premieres — a French/American co-production and another launching in China — and the continuing development of new productions.
Highlights include “Fantômas – Revenge of the Image,” directed by Travis Preston, making its world premiere at China’s Wuzhen Festival; and conceived and directed by Arnaud Meunier, the world premiere of “Fore!” at La Comédie de Saint-Etienne will kick off a four-city tour of France and Belgium.
At the same time, CNP will host a roster of distinguished artists-in-residence at CalArts to develop additional new works of theater.
CNP, the professional producing arm of California Institute of the Arts, was established to provide a unique artist-and project-driven framework for the development and realization of original theater, music, dance, media and interdisciplinary projects.
Under its Artistic Director and School of Theater Dean Travis Preston, CNP enables students to work shoulder-to-shoulder with celebrated artists and acquire a level of experience that goes beyond their academic curriculum.
Fantômas – Revenge of the Image
Directed by Travis Preston
Developed in collaboration with Tom Gunning
World Premiere October 19, 2017
Wuzhen Theatre Festival, China (in residence Oct 8-29)
The CNP production of Fantômas: Revenge of the Image is a groundbreaking exploration of performance space, spectatorship at the intersection of film, theater, and physical sensation. Based on Fantômas, the fictional phantom bandit and figure of unbounded criminality from French serial literature and film, Fantômas explores urban violence as a facet of the contemporary landscape. Through the creation of an innovative mobile, enclosed audience unit, the production investigates the close relationship between sensation, violence and entertainment in contemporary visual culture. Throughout the production, the audience unit moves through space like a camera dolly and the audience views the performance through the lens-like aperture. The framing of the aperture and movement of the audience unit intensify and focus the audience experience. Fantômas: Revenge of the Image is an innovative and powerful performance that will invite broad interest, engagement, and conversation among audiences worldwide.
Conceived and Directed by Arnaud Meunier
Written by Aleshea Harris
Co-Produced with La Comedie de Saint-Etienne
World Premiere February 2018, La Comédie de Saint-Etienne, France
Tour February-March 2018: Theatre de La Ville, Paris, Theatre National de Nice, and Theatre National, Bruxelles
A new investigative theater work developed over two years between CNP and L’Ecole de la Comédie de Saint-Etienne, Fore! will receive its world premiere at La Comédie de Saint-Etienne, France, followed by a tour to Theatre de La Ville, Paris, Theatre National de Nice, and Theatre National, Bruxelles in February/March 2018. Through experimental performance, French director Arnaud Meunier, U.S. playwright Aleshea Harris, CalArts designers and actors from both institutions interrogate recent cultural and political spasms in both countries. Fore! traces the struggles of two contemporary families as they navigate their relationships to war, power, and disenfranchisement—and navigate the fallout of personal and political ineptitude through everyday rituals.
Created by Nataki Garrett and Andrea LeBlanc
World Premiere May 2018
“Carolyn Bryant” collaborators Nataki Garrett and Andrea LeBlanc layer historical transcripts, video imagery, and re-imagined encounters to examine the exclusive exchange between Carolyn Bryant and Emmett Till in Mississippi in 1955. Emmett “Bobo” Till, a 14-year old black youth, walked into a store in Money, Mississippi to purchase five-cents worth of bubble gum from Carolyn Bryant, a 21-year old white mother of two. Within a few days, Till’s bloated body was found tied to a cotton-gin fan in a shallow part of the Tallahatchie River. There are several different accounts of what happened in those fateful minutes shared between Bryant and Till in the store. This production explores those accounts by concentrating on the active collective imagination, the diffused focus of shared experience and the silent voice of the “white rose” of the south.
Roberta Uno/Dahlak Brathwaite
Spiritrials (Working Title)
September 18-October 7
Director Roberta Uno and writer/performer Dahlak Brathwaite return to CNP to complete the development of Spiritrials, inspired by Brathwaite’s hip-hop album of the same name, which layers characters, poetic verse, and dialogue over the content of his songs to create a theatrical piece that blurs the lines between hip-hop and dramatic performance. In Spiritrials, addiction, religion and the law intersect at a state sponsored rehabilitation program. The piece examines the factors that have misplaced young Black men in a rite of passage through the criminal justice system, chronicling the journey of criminalization and the struggle for vindication and decriminalization in the eyes of the law and society.
Natalia Korczakowska, Teatr Studio, Warsaw
Natalia Korczakowska is a Polish theater director, set designer, songwriter and artistic director of Studio Theater, Warsaw, who will be in residence, exploring new work with CalArts artists.
Acclaimed playwright and CalArts alumna Virginia Grise’s multi-narrative story traces four generations of a woman’s history. With this intimate story about the fluidity of borders, time and the historic confluence of China, Mexico and the United States, audiences are introduced to a cast of Mexican runaways, Chinese refugees, and fiercely independent women trying to let go of binding gender roles. The developmental workshop of Rasgos Asiaticos is supported in part by the National Performance Network: Creation & Development Fund.
CalArts Center for New Performance, the professional producing arm of California Institute of the Arts, was established to provide a unique artist- and project-driven framework for the development and realization of original theater, music, dance, media and interdisciplinary projects. Extending the progressive work carried out at CalArts into a direct dialogue with professional communities at the local, national and international levels, CNP offers an alternative model to support emerging directions in the performing arts.
California Institute of the Arts has set the pace for educating professional artists since 1970. Offering rigorous undergraduate and graduate degree programs through six schools — Art, Critical Studies, Dance, Film/Video, Music, and Theater — CalArts has championed creative excellence, critical reflection, and the development of new forms and expressions. As successive generations of faculty and alumni have helped shape the landscape of contemporary arts, the Institute first envisioned by Walt Disney encompasses a vibrant, eclectic community with global reach, inviting experimentation, independent inquiry, and active collaboration and exchange among artists, artistic disciplines and cultural traditions.