P R E S S R E L E A S E S 2002
August 1, 2002
Lee Breuer, Mabou Mines, Basil Twist Completed Work Red Beads to Preview at MASS MoCA
(North Adams, Mass.) Theater troupe Mabou Mines, innovative director Lee Breuer, and renowned puppeteer Basil Twist have just completed Red Beads which originally showed at MASS MoCA as work-in-progress stages in February 2001. The work will preview at MASS MoCA on Friday and Saturday, August 23 and 24, at 8 P.M. It includes 15' tall silk puppets, dramatic lighting, flying actors, haunting text, and moving music and is ground-breaking in its use of wind puppetry. Red Beads tells the Siberian folktale about the passing of the "feminine mystique" from mother to daughter.
Directed by one of the country's foremost theatrical innovators, Lee Breuer, Red Beads has strong Asian and Middle Eastern influences and is based on a Siberian folk tale. Breuer rewrote the tale in verse and shifted the setting to the United States. In the work, Breuer embraces the Eastern tradition in which an offstage chorus sings the narrative while dancers on stage act it out. Red Beads includes haunting and mysterious music by renowned Japanese composer Ushio Torikai. The actors and dancers fly on elaborate rigging, and their costumes become part of the puppetry in a technique inspired by Ninjo Buyo, a complex ceremonial form of expression used to open Kabuki Theater in Japan. Some of the puppets are also inspired by the Japanese art form Bunraku, where a team of three puppeteers manipulate each puppet. With his evocative new technique, renowned puppeteer Basil Twist uses wind to bring beautiful abstract fabric puppets to life. The Berkshire Eagle described Basil Twist's wind puppets, saying they "have no strings, are not animated by hands, are not supported by towering poles or manipulated by sticks. Rather, they are borne on currents of air. They soar; ghostlike apparitions."
Mabou Mines was named after a Nova Scotia community where the founding members Lee Breuer, Philip Glass, JoAnne Akalaitis, David Warrilow, and Ruth Malaczech created the company in 1970 with its premier production, The Red Horse Animation. The now New York City-based group specializes in the creation of new theater pieces from original and existing texts and the pursuit of individual artistic vision through collaboration. Mabou Mines seeks out ventures with artists from other disciplines resulting in diverse theatrical innovations, and has received some 50 awards and citations for excellence, including the 1974 OBIE Award for General Excellence and the 1986 OBIE for Sustained Achievement.
As a founding member of Mabou Mines, Lee Breuer's work with the theater company has received countless honors and awards including for his work as director of Peter and Wendy, which won 5 OBIE Awards, a Drama League Award, and an American Theater Wing Award. His 1996 Epidog included the only puppet to win an OBIE. He has received grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. "He's simply one of the most important creators in American theater in the last 30 years," according to Philip Bither, curator of performing arts at the Walker Art Center. "He takes great chances and often gets great results."
Basil Twist is the mastermind behind the acclaimed water puppets in Symphonie Fantastique where he was inspired the Red Beads wind puppets. He is a graduate of the prestigious École Supérieure Nationale des Arts de la Marionnette in France and the only American to have been accepted to its rigorous three-year training program. In the U.S. he has worked and performed with innovative puppet-theater artists such as Roman Paska, Julie Taymor, Theodora Skipitares, and Janie Geiser at Atlanta's Center for Puppetry Arts. He has worked as a builder and director of puppetry for Lee Nagrin, Tectonic Theater Project Inc., Karen Malpede, Theater Couture, NBC's Another World, and the New York Public Library's Black and White Ball.
Ushio Torikai's wide-ranging musical background began at an early age with the violin and piano, followed by studies on traditional Japanese instruments. She was invited to the Paris Biennale in 1982. Concerts of her music have been presented at the Cathedral of St John the Divine, New York; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and Georges Pompidou Center, Paris. She has received awards from the New York State Council on the Arts, ASCAP, the Asian Cultural Council, and the Rockefeller 3rd Foundation. She also holds a BA in Economics from Keio University, Tokyo. The New York Times calls Torikai's music "exuberant and spectacular."
Red Beads is sponsored by The Berkshire Eagle and The Porches Inn at MASS MoCA and is supported in part by a grant from the Jim Henson Foundation.
Tickets to Red Beads are $20. MASS MoCA members get a 10% discount. Tickets are available through the MASS MoCA Box Office located on Marshall Street in North Adams from 10 A.M. until 6 P.M. daily. Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111 during Box Office hours or online at www.massmoca.org at any time of day. ring Box Office hours or purchased on line at www.massmoca.org.
MASS MoCA, the largest center for contemporary visual and performing arts in the United States, is located on a 13- acre campus of renovated 19th-century factory buildings. MASS MoCA focuses on the work of visual and performing artists charting new territory.
For Immediate Release