Bard SummerScape 2016 Presents World Premiere of Dan Hurlin’s Demolishing Everything with Amazing Speed: Puppet Noir Based on Rediscovered Work by Leading Italian Futurist
Hurlin and the cast of Demolishing Everything with Amazing Speed during a developmental residency at the Fisher Center (photo: Todd Norwood)
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, NY: The Bard SummerScape festival presents the world premiere – almost a full century after its creation – of Demolishing Everything with Amazing Speed (1917): four newly rediscovered puppet plays written by leading Italian Futurist Fortunato Depero, as translated, designed, and directed by Obie and Bessie Award-winning artist Dan Hurlin. Combining traditional bunraku puppetry techniques with state-of-the-art technology – from 3-D printing to sound sampling – and a live score from Tony Award-nominated composer/sound designer Dan Moses Schreier, the production will be mounted in the LUMA Theater of the Frank Gehry-designed Fisher Center on Bard’s glorious Hudson Valley campus. An Opening Night Reception for members (July 9), pre-performance talk (July 10), and post-performance conversation (July 13) will accompany ten performances of Demolishing Everything with Amazing Speed between July 7 and 17.
As in previous seasons, SummerScape follows the theme of the Bard Music Festival, which this year explores “Giacomo Puccini and His World.” In its celebration of modernity, technology, and the synthesis of man and machine, Italian Futurism stood in direct opposition to Puccini’s more traditional and lyrical aesthetic. One of the movement’s key figures was Fortunato Depero (1892-1960), known as the author of the manifesto “Futurist Reconstruction of the Universe” and designer of the iconic Campari Soda bottle. A multifaceted visual artist whose work included painting, sculpture, typography, and set and costume design, he was the only Italian Futurist to temporarily relocate to the United States, where his designs graced the covers of the New Yorker, Vogue, and Vanity Fair. Closely involved in the theater, he received design commissions for Stravinsky productions at the Ballets Russes, although his efforts were ultimately rejected by Diaghilev. He also collaborated with Swiss writer and Egyptologist Gilbert Clavel on I Balli Plastici (1918), a ballet for machine-like wooden puppets, to simulate the Futurist ideal of technology’s breaking free of human influence.
It was in a groundbreaking discovery during his recent fellowship at the American Academy in Rome that Hudson Valley-based puppet artist Dan Hurlin unearthed the four Depero puppet plays. Dating from the height of World War I, these short, wordless dramas are precursors to I Balli Plastici and mark the beginning of Depero’s long involvement with performance as well as his desire to combine all mediums and disciplines into one coherent, comprehensive “gesamtwerk.” Gathered together as Demolishing Everything with Amazing Speed, the four plays are titled “Acrobatic Suicides and Homicides,” “Automatic Thief,” “Electric Adventure,” and “Safe.” Dialogue-free, and packed with surreal imagery, they represent a masterful marriage of playful whimsy with violence and menace. Characters include the “Rich Red Woman,” who is completely red but for a single eye of green concentric circles; “The Count,” whose black face’s single white eye switches on and off like a headlamp; and “The Smoker,” who violently rips apart his face before nonchalantly continuing to smoke a cigar.
Drawn to the long-lost plays’ political and social overtones, their fantastical narratives, and the apparent impossibility of staging them, Hurlin determined to translate, publish, and produce them. The recipient of Obie and Bessie Awards, the Rome Prize, and a Guggenheim fellowship, Hurlin is the subject of the 2010 documentary Puppet, which follows the process of developing his most recent project, Disfarmer. In his reimagining, Depero’s plays will feature not marionettes but Japanese Bunraku-style dolls. As Time Out New York notes: “The effect of Hurlin’s Bunraku style, in which multiple handlers operate a child-size figure, gives … an unexpected note of tenderness.”
For Bard’s world premiere presentation of Demolishing Everything with Amazing Speed, Hurlin reunites with his longtime creative producer MAPP International Productions and creative partners Dan Moses Schreier (composer), and Tom Lee (media designer), all of whom collaborated with him on such previous projects as 2009’s Disfarmer, which Variety calls “moving, poignant and hilarious, … a wonder.” Best-known for his theatrical work both on and off Broadway, Schreier’s original scores have been recognized with both a Craig Noel Award and a Drama Desk nomination, in addition to the four Tony nominations and multiple Obie and Drama Desk Awards he has received for his sound design. Click here to see an excerpt from Disfarmer, Hurlin’s most recent collaboration with Schreier and MAPP International Productions.
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Bard’s theatrical track record is a stellar one. The New York Times found last season’s original take on Oklahoma! to be a “vibrant, essential excavation of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1943 classic,” that “allows us to experience a revelation.” As New York Arts declares: “Bard summer drama has been consistently of the highest order.”
Theater at Bard SummerScape 2016
Demolishing Everything with Amazing Speed
Futurist puppet plays by Fortunato Depero
Translated, designed, and directed by Dan Hurlin
Original music by Dan Moses Schreier
Created by the ensemble
Produced by MAPP International Productions
Media design by Tom Lee
Lighting design by Tyler Micoleau
Costume design by Anna Thomford
Tickets: $25 – $60
(Suitable for ages 12 and up)
Thursday, July 7, at 7:30pm
Friday, July 8, at 7:30pm
Saturday, July 9, at 7:30pm*
Sunday, July 10, at 2pm*
Wednesday, July 13, at 2pm
Thursday, July 14, at 7:30pm
Friday, July 15, at 7:30pm
Saturday, July 16, at 2pm
Saturday, July 16, at 7:30pm
Sunday, July 17, at 2pm*
* Round-trip bus service from Manhattan is provided exclusively to ticket-holders for the performances on July 9, 10, and 17. A reservation is required, and may be made by calling the box office at 845-758-7900 or by selecting this option when purchasing tickets. The round-trip fare is $40 and reservations are required. The coach departs from behind Lincoln Center, on Amsterdam Avenue between 64th and 65th Streets. Find additional details at: fishercenter.bard.edu/transportation.
This season’s SummerScape theater performances are held in LUMA Theater in Bard’s Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, designed by Frank Gehry and celebrated since its opening as a major architectural landmark in the region.
SummerScape 2016: other key performance dates by genre
Bard Music Festival, Weekend One: “Puccini and Italian Musical Culture” (Aug 5–7)
Bard Music Festival, Weekend Two: “Beyond Verismo” (Aug 12–14)
Pietro Mascagni: Iris
July 22* & 29 at 7:30 pm
July 24*, 27 & 31* at 2 pm
Tickets start at $25
John Heginbotham and Amy Trompetter: Fantasque (world premiere)
July 1 & 2 at 7:30 pm
July 3* at 2 pm
Tickets start at $25
“Puccini and the Operatic Impulse in Cinema”
Ottaway Film Center
Thursdays and Sundays, July 21–Aug 14
Live Music, Cabaret, Festival Dining, and After Hours salon
Dates, times, and prices vary
SummerScape opera, theater, and dance performances and most Bard Music Festival programs are held in the Sosnoff Theater or LUMA Theater in Bard’s Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, designed by Frank Gehry and celebrated since its opening as a major architectural landmark in the region. Some chamber programs and other BMF events are in Olin Hall, and the Spiegeltent has its own schedule of events, in addition to serving as a restaurant, café, and bar before and after performances. Film Series screenings are at the Jim Ottaway Jr. Film Center in the Milton and Sally Avery Arts Center.
New York City Round-Trip Coach Transportation:
To make a reservation on the round-trip SummerScape coach provided exclusively to ticket holders for specific performances indicated by * in the listings above, call the box office at 845-758-7900 or select this option when purchasing tickets. The round-trip fare is $40 and reservations are required. The coach departs from behind Lincoln Center, on Amsterdam Avenue between 64th and 65th Streets. Find additional details at: fishercenter.bard.edu/transportation.
Bard SummerScape ticket information
Tickets for all Bard SummerScape events are now on sale. For tickets and further information on all SummerScape events, call the Fisher Center box office at 845-758-7900 or visit fishercenter.bard.edu/summerscape. Fisher Center members receive priority access to the best seats in advance, and those who join the Center’s email list receive advance booking opportunities as well as regular news and updates.
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© 21C Media Group, May 2016