“Devilishly fine art tends to happen when Paul Lazar and Annie-B Parson, the artistic directors of Big Dance Theater, take on Anne Carson’s translations of the ancient Greeks.” – New York Times
Minneapolis, November 3, 2011— New York’s Big Dance Theater has gained an avid international following for its stunning theatrical hybrids with dark comic touches— “fiercely visual work [that] can move you to tears” (Time Out New York). Their newest creation uses poet Anne Carson’s fresh translation of Euripides’ Alkestis, a rarely performed but profound exploration of death, selfishness, and self-sacrifice. Showing off the company’s seamless mix of multimedia performance, the piece includes a Greek dance chorus, song, and soundscape contributions by Pulitzer Prize–winning composer David Lang (Bang on a Can All-Stars). Supernatural Wife will be performed Thursday-Saturday, November 17–19, at 8 pm in the William and Nadine McGuire Theater.
Sourcing and re-thinking the pulsing, profound, and very old movement of Pontian Greek Dance, Supernatural Wife restores dancing to its rightful place in Greek drama. The live choral singing uses various musical motifs, including French medieval Hocketing, Meeting House hymns and Vegas-style power-ballads. The expressionism of the great Yiddish theater actor Solomon Mikhoels from the early 20th century is the stylistic template for the character of King. The truth of melodrama in Yiddish theater and the stylistic invention that veers from realism is an appropriate fit for this story – for at its core Supernatural Wife is about basic human contradictions: our desire to live against the immutability of morality; our desire to be autonomous in the face of our undeniable interconnectedness; and the playful nature of theater against the innate tragedy of reality.
Annie-B Parson, Co-Artistic Director, Choreographer
Parson founded Big Dance Theater (BDT) with Paul Lazar in 1991. Her awards include a 2007 Guggenheim Fellowship and a 2002 Bessie award for her “boldly arranged marriage of dance and theater.” She received NYFA Fellowships in 2000 and 2005, and has been nominated for a CalArts/Alpert Award six times. She has been awarded creative residencies by Jacob’s Pillow, Baryshnikov Arts Center, LMCC’s Swing Space and The Yard. Outside her work with BDT, she has created a work for the string quartet, ETHEL, choreographed dances for David Byrne’s recent world tour, and collaborated with the dance company The Other Shore to create work based on The Lesson by Lonesco and Heidi. She choreographed the 2010 production of Sara Ruhl’s Orlando at Classic Stage Company. In 2010 she curated, with Will Knapp, an homage to Merce Cunningham for the River to River Festival and in 2006 she curated “Sourcing Stravinsky” at Dance Theater Workshop. She has been a member of the Artist Board at Dance Theater Workshop since 2001. Parson has taught postmodern choreography at universities worldwide, including New York University’s Experimental Theater Wing since 1993.
Paul Lazar, Co-Artistic Director, Director
Lazar founded Big Dance Theater in 1991 with Annie-B Parson, conceiving, directing and/or performing in most of its works. He received a Bessie with Parson in 2002. He has been an Associate Member of The Wooster Group, acting in Brace Up!, Emperor Jones, The Hairy Ape and Northatlantic. Other acting credits include Marie Irene Fornes’ Mudd, and Richard Maxwell’s Cowboys and Indians. His film career includes roles in Silence of the Lambs, Beloved, Lorenzo’s Oil, Philadelphia, and Henry Fool. He has been a guest acting teacher at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, The Bill Esper Studio, The Michael Howard Studio and Rutgers University, among others.
Tickets to Supernatural Wife are: Thursday, $18 ($15 Walker members);
Friday–Saturday, $25 ($21) and are available at walkerart.org/tickets or by calling 612.375.7600.
Member Event: A Think & A Drink
Thursday, November 17, 6:30 pm
Free for Walker members; paid ticket required for performance
Join fellow Walker members for an evening of poetry with Anne Carson and a performance of Big Dance Theater’s Supernatural Wife. Attend a reading by Carson, then take in a performance of her translation of Euripides’ Alkestis brought to the stage by Big Dance Theater in Supernatural Wife. After the show, join other members for informal discussion over drinks at the Balcony Bar. Free for Walker members; includes a free drink. Reserve your space and secure your specially priced performance ticket by contacting the Membership Office at 612.375.7655 or email@example.com.
Free Verse: Anne Carson
Thursday, November 17, 6:30 pm, Free
Carson has cut a wide swath in publishing over the past 25 years, earning accolades for her poetry, translations of ancient Greek classics, and verse novels as well as libretti, essays, and critical writing. A MacArthur Fellow known both for her scholarship and for bridging multiple genres, her latest publication, Nox, takes the form of a boxed, accordion-style notebook and is at once an elegy for her brother and a translation of meditation on Roman lyric poet Catullus. This reading precedes the opening-night performance of Big Dance Theater’s Supernatural Wife. Free Verse is copresented by Rain Taxi Review of Books.
Target Free Thursday Nights sponsored by Target
Supernatural Wife is commissioned by the Walker Art Center with support provided by Producers’ Council members Nor Hall and Roger Hale, the William and Nadine McGuire Commissioning Fund, The McKnight Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Dance Project of the New England Foundation for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Performing Arts Supporters
The Walker Art Center’s performing arts programs are made possible by generous support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation through the Doris Duke Performing Arts Fund, the William and Nadine McGuire Commissioning Fund, The McKnight Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Performing Arts programs and commissions at the Walker are generously supported by members of the Producers’ Council: Russell Cowles; Sage and John Cowles; Robert and Katherine Goodale; Nor Hall and Roger Hale; King’s Fountain/Barbara Watson Pillsbury and Henry Pillsbury; Emily Maltz; Dr. William W. and Nadine M. McGuire; Leni and David Moore, Jr.; Josine Peters; Mike and Elizabeth Sweeney; and Frances and Frank Wilkinson.