A Piece of Work

14.–15. mars 2013

Mixing live performance with algorithms and interfaces, «A Piece of Work» flips the switch between man and machine in a digital Hamlet for a post-humanist age. The spectator is absorbed in a swirl of connections amongst memory, language and technology, implicating both the past and future of theatre itself.

The incomparable actor Joan MacIntosh performs alongside computers, automated lighting systems, sound design and video that have all been programmed to generate a new production of the play nightly. New scenes, songs, scores and visuals emerge from an intricate and ingeniously programmed web of technology that uses Shakespeare’s original text as data. «A Piece of Work» includes an all-star list of collaborators, including Scott Shepherd, scenic/video artist Jim Findlay (Cynthia Hopkins, Ralph Lemon), lighting designers Ruth Waldeyer/Bruno Bocheron and famed programmer Mark Hansen (Listening Post).

Director and writer Annie Dorsen works in a variety of fields, including theatre, film, dance and, as of 2010, digital performance. Most recently, Hello Hi There premiered at the streirischer herbst festival (Graz), and was presented at Black Box Teatre (Oslo), BIT Teatergarasjen (Bergen), Hebbel am Ufer (Berlin) and PS122 (New York), among others. She is the co-creator of the 2008 Broadway musical Passing Strange, which she also directed. Spike Lee made a film of her production of the piece, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2009. Also in 2010, she collaborated with choreographer Anne Juren on Magical and with Ms. Juren and DD Dorviller on Pièce Sans Paroles. In 2009 she created two music-theatre pieces, Ask Your Mama, a setting of Langston Hughes’ 1962 poem, composed by Laura Karpman and sung by Jessye Norman and The Roots (Carnegie Hall) and ETHEL’s Truckstop, seen at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival. Her pop-political performance project Democracy in America was presented at PS122 in spring 2008. Her short film, I Miss, originally the centerpiece of Democracy in America, has screened at American Film Institute Festival (AFI Fest), SXSW Film Festival, The New York Film Festival’s “Views From the Avant-Garde” and the Nantucket Film Festival.

Joan MacIntosh has had a distinguished career as an actress for over 45 years, performing leading roles on and off Broadway, in resident theaters throughout the U.S., and in Europe, Africa, and Asia. She was a founding member of The Performance Group, one of the premier experimental theater companies of the late 60’s and 70’s in New York, and won three OBIES, while in the Group, for her performances in Dionysus in 69, The Tooth of Crime, and Commune. She has also won an OBIE AWARD for SUSTAINED EXCELLENCE, for her work in the Off-Broadway theater in New York; the Drama Desk Award for her solitary performance in Request Concert; a Drama League Award and the Edinburgh Festival’s Herald Angel Award for her performance in Ivo van Hove’s production of More Stately Mansions; and the Elliot Norton Award for her performance in Robert Woodruff’s production of Britannicus at the A.R.T. She has won the JDR 3rd Fund grant for study and travel in India, Southeast Asia, Papua New Guinea and Japan; the USIA Grant for workshop presentations in Southeast Asia, India, Japan, and South Africa; and the Spencer Cherashore Grant to write O Beloved. Ms. MacIntosh is a Professor of Acting at Yale University, where she teaches and directs and she is writing a book about her experiences in the experimental theater.

Concept and Direction: Annie Dorsen (US). Performer: Joan MacIntosh (US). Sound design: Grégory Beller (FR). Scenography/Video: Jim Findlay (US). Systems designer and programmer: Mark Hansen (US). Lighting design and technical management: Bruno Pocheron/Ruth Waldeyer (FR/DE). Additional Programming: Scott Shepherd/Dylan Fried/Paul Calley (US). US Management: Audra Lang. EU Management: Lisa Schmidt. Production: VierHochDrei and Armature Projects. Co-production of BIT Teatergarasjen (Bergen), Black Box Teater (Oslo), Brooklyn Academy of Music (NYC), brut (Vienna), On the Boards (Seattle), and Theatre de la Villette (Paris). With the support of the city of Vienna. A House on fire project. With the support of the Culture Programme of the European Union.