Three innovative international dance and theater companies make their local debut with their latest works in the intimate Wexner Center Performance Space in late January and early February: leading South African choreographer Boyzie Cekwana and his company, The Floating Outfit Project; French- Austrian theater group Superamas with its humorous and slyly subversive multimedia show; and Dutch company Kassys, which playfully and poignantly deals with the theme of grief via theater and film. Each of the ensembles is on its U.S. debut tour.
Location and tickets: All performances will be presented in the Wexner Center Performance Space, 1871 N. High St. (capacity approx. 100). Tickets are $16 for the general public, $13 for Wexner Center members (King Arts Complex members also receive the discount for the Cekwana show), and $10 for students, and are available at the Wexner Center Ticket Office (614 292-3535) and Ticketmaster (614 431-3600) or Ticketmaster.com.
Boyzie Cekwana/The Floating Outfit Project: Rona & Ja’nee Presented in association with the King Arts Complex Saturday, January 21 at 2 & 8 pm Sunday, January 22 at 2 pm & 7 pm
“Mesmerizing.” —Sunday Times (London)
South African choreographer Boyzie Cekwana fuses traditional African forms and the energy of the townships with contemporary methods. A key figure in the African dance renaissance, he has achieved international recognition with his vibrant company, The Floating Outfit Project. Through praise singing, the use of gumboots, and text in Cekwana’s indigenous language, the choreography exposes the dichotomy between an ancient culture clashing with one that is more modern, urban, and largely of Western influence. The program for this U.S. debut tour features two works: the evocative duet Rona (“Us” in Sotho) to live and recorded musical accompaniment, which reveals
Cekwana’s lyrical skills in its ritualistic retracing of African spiritual roots; and Ja’nee (“yes/no” in Dutch/Afrikaans), a powerful piece for eight dancers that explores the harsh realities of post-apartheid Africa, including its male-dominated society, rampant AIDS, unchecked violence, and child abuse. Rona and Ja’nee are recommended for mature audiences.
Initiated in 1996 as an informal collaborative committed to collaborative projects. The Floating Outfit Project is a dynamic, groundbreaking African dance theater troupe which formed in 1997. In 1999 the company won First Prize at the 3rd African and Indian Ocean Choreography Competition in Madagascar, for Rona, which marked the arrival of this troupe onto the international stage.
This performance is funded in part by the National Dance Project of the New England Foundation for the Arts, with lead funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Additional funding is provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and The Ford Foundation.
Superamas: Big 2nd Episode (show/business) Thursday–Saturday, January 26–28 at 8 pm Sunday, January 29 at 2 pm
“Superamas lay into our consumerist world with spirit and a great sense of fun.“—Der Standard (Vienna)
With sly send-ups and subversive humor, French-Austrian theater group Superamas rips into society’s obsession with consumerism. In a freewheeling style, the ensemble moves seamlessly between art and kitsch, and between video and theater (with elements of dance), using techniques from TV reality shows, soap operas, and commercial advertising. The show takes off with two men meeting a striking airline hostess at a cosmetics boutique in an airport—and from there pulls the audience into a world where the lines between seduction, the pursuit of happiness, and commerce become deliriously blurry.
Since its first work Building (1999), Superamas has infused its theater performances with video and materials from everyday life. For more information, visit www.superamas.com. Big 2nd episode (show/business) is recommended for mature audiences.
The U.S. tour of Big 2 nd episode is presented with the support of Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States, Association Française d'Action Artistique (AFAA), and Austrian Cultural Forum, New York. Additional support is provided by the City of Vienna, Federal Chancellery for the Arts in Austria, Austrian Cultural Forum in Berlin, Austrian Cultural Forum in Brussels, Institut Français de Vienne, and the Bureau de Theatre et de la Danse de l’Ambassade Française à Berlin.
Kassys: Kommer (Grief) Wednesday–Saturday, February 1–4 at 8 pm
Half stage show and half film, Kommer is a pointedly humorous and poignant look at how we cope with loss, performed by Kassys, a Dutch theater ensemble. In the opening section, the actors portray a group of people gathered after a nameless tragedy. A series of small scenes reveal their well-meaning attempts to connect and comfort each other. The film that follows uncovers the inner emptiness of the cast members’ offstage lives, creating an image of quiet desolation no less profound than in the drama they first enacted on stage. Using few words, precise physicality, and humor, Kommer captures the sadness and accompanying awkwardness inherent in these moments of grief and stress. Kassys is a nine-artist theater initiative, founded in 1999 and based in Amsterdam. For more information, visit www.kassys.nl.
The January-February 2006 U.S. tour of Kommer has received generous support from the Consulate General of The Netherlands in New York.
The Wexner Center often facilitates discussions, master classes, and workshops between visiting international artists and students and faculty at The Ohio State University. These are mutually beneficial sessions that underscore the unique and ongoing partnership between the Wexner Center and the university. While in town for the performances, Cekwana and members of his Floating Outfit Project will conduct a contemporary dance master class for students in the Department of Dance. Superamas and Kassys will meet with students from the Department of Theatre to discuss their particular approach to stage work and the contemporary theater scene in their respective countries.
Major support for the Wexner Center’s 2005–06 performing arts season is generously provided by Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and The Columbus Foundation.
Significant contributions are also made by Altria Group, Inc., Morgan Stanley, Nationwide Foundation, and Ron and Ann Pizzuti.
The Wexner Center’s 2005–06 dance season is presented in part by Huntington Bank.
Additional funding is provided by the Ohio Arts Council, the Corporate Annual Fund of the Wexner Center Foundation, and Wexner Center members.
Preferred accommodations: The Blackwell Inn.