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inside news about Asians and women on stage


Mia Katigbak

WITH PHOTO: KATIGBAK PLAYS KING CREON: The National Asian-American Theatre Company (NAATCO) will present a modern, all Asian-American production of Sophocles' "Antigone," with previews starting July 24th, prior to an official opening July 28th, at Intar 53 Theatre (508 West 53rd Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues) in Manhattan. Scheduled through August 14th, "Antigone" runs Mondays through Saturdays at 7pm, with an additional 3pm matinee on Saturday, August 7th, at Intar 53 (508 West 53rd St). Tickets are $19, and can be reserved by calling 212-244-0447.

Jean Randich, blends modern and mythic elements in her direction of Brendan Kennelly's provocative translation of this classic play. The production features original music by composer Robert Murphy and incorporates gender-reversed casting, with Mia Katigbak as King Creon, the proud ruler whose unbending will condemns the defiant Antigone. One of the most revered Greek tragedies, "Antigone" examines the consequences of fate and the timeless conflicts that make us human: the friction between women and men, youth and age, individual and society, dead and living, war and peace, gods and mortals.

The all Asian-American ensemble features Ms. Katigbak, plus Art Acuña, Alexis Camins, Cindy Cheung, Siho Ellsmore, Emi Fujinami Jones, Tim Kang, Orville Mendoza, Nicky Paraiso, Fausto Pineda, James Shubert, and Eunice Wong, who most notably starred in NAATCO's 2000 revival of "The House of Bernarda Alba." The design team includes set designer Sue Rees, lighting designer Stephen Petrilli, costume designer Elly van Horne, and sound designer David Morreale.

(L-R) Eunice Wong as Antigone and Art Acuna as Haemon in "Antigone." Photo by: Claire Bush

NAATCO was founded in 1989 by Richard Eng and artistic director Mia Katigbak. Now in its 14th season, it is one of the country's leading theatre companies providing a stage for the talents of Asian-American theatre artists. Specifically, NAATCO presents classical and contemporary works with all Asian-American casts.

ASIAN GREEKS: The Imua! Theatre Company celebrates its 10 year anniversary with the New York premiere of John Barton and Kenneth Cavander's "The Greeks" at Off Broadway's Manhattan Ensemble Theater Manhattan Ensemble Theater at 55 Mercer Street (at Broome Street) opening July 9. The Company's Artistic Director, Filipino American Kaipo Schwab, directs the 10-play cycle, which is broken into two parts (The War and The Gods) and played in repertory. Performances begin at the downtown Manhattan venue July 7 for a limited run through August 5. For tickets, call 212-327-1577 or visit www.imuatheatre.org.

"The Greeks," as described by the director, "not only re-introduces modern audiences to the mythology upon which all Greek classics are based, but also examines such themes as war, faith, choice and consequence in very contemporary terms." The play, which features a cast of forty actors and 100 characters, "offers the kind of epic storytelling you see in The Godfather or Lord of the Rings trilogy. Its scope is massive."

The ensemble cast includes Eric Anderson, David Anzuelo, Peejay Bodoy, Sandi Carroll, Daniella Chiminelli, Tina Chow, Corinne Colòn, Johanna Cox, Claro De Los Reyes, Adrienne Dreiss, Andrew Eisenman, Esra Gaffin, Kristen Harlow, Lizzie Henney, Patrick Henney, Karl Herlinger, Susan Hyon, Matthew Johnson, Qurrat Kadwani, Liliane Klein, Evan Lai, Robyn Levine, Jamil Mangan, Sevrin Anne Mason, Gregg Mozgala, Tim Mullaney, Jenny Neale, Rachel Neuman, Mariana Newhard, Patrick Noonan, Jocelyn O'Neil, Kathleen O'Neill, Orlando Pabotoy, Jennifer Robinson, Benjamin Sands, Gillian Sheffler, Marybeth Warley, Inga Wilson, Keo Woolford, and Aaron Yoo.

Barton is the author of the plays Tantalus and War of the Roses. He is better known as the master of interpreting Shakespeare and has taught some of England's most famous actors on the successful Playing Shakespeare video series.

Founded in 1994 to invest, mentor and support multicultural theatre artists and their work, The Imua! Theatre Company has proudly provided opportunities to over 350 artists, showcasing their talents on and behind stage through full scale productions, staged readings, workshops and more. Our recent productions include the world premieres of Fil Am actor Anthony Ruivivar and Tony Glazer's SAFE-featuring Tony Award-winner Carlin Glynn and Third Watch's Coby Bell, Jason Wiles and Yvonne Jung- and Euijoon Kim's KARAOKE STORIES- featuring 25 of New York's finest Asian-American actors.

On each Saturday of the run, special "Marathon" performances are given in which both parts are performed consecutively, with an hour and forty-five minute break for dinner. "Marathon" performance days: Saturday, July 10, 17, 24, and 31. Cendrillon, a pan-sian restaurant next door to the theatre will offer a special prix fixe menu between shows on Saturday.

RASHOMON AT LA PLAZA: Japanese anime inspires an innovative production of the classic tale of truth, "Rashomon" will be presented by the Blunt Theater from July 14 to August 1 at La Plaza Cultural, 9th Street between Avenue B and C. Written by Faye & Michael Kanin, the new production is directed by Rhonda Dodd All performances are free. For more info, visit www.blunttheater.org.

The brutal rape of a woman and the murder of her husband bring an infamous bandit to trial. But what really happened and who is really to blame? Based on the stories of Japanese author, Ryunosuke Akutagawa, and made opular by the 1950 film by Akira Kurasawa, Rashomon focuses on the inability of any one person to know the truth, no matter how clearly he thinks he sees things. Using manga, the Japanese form of comic book which is the inspiration of anime films, as well as Blade Runner and The Crow, allows the show to merge the harsh realities of Akutagawa's classic stories with an enticing fantasy universe inviting the audience into an "otherwhere" and "otherwhen" where Western looking characters live an apparently Japanese existence, in a post-apocalyptic world where men again live and die by the sword.

Blunt Theater Company was created in 1998 by Sheila Morgan and Kenneth Garson, founded on the belief that theater, particularly classical theater, is a powerful way to explore and challenge the world around us. They named the company Blunt because they think theater should be…blunt, honest and unpretentious. Blunt Theater Company has produced eleven shows, collaborating with over 150 artists and attracting over 4000 audience members.

WHO IS SOURABH CHATTERJEE? Word is going around that there is this guy who allegedly may have passed original plays around the theater circuit as his own. Hard to believe that in the Big Apple our local theater companies have been fooled by a slick shyster named Sourabh. How shameful that one South Asian emerging playwright may actually think that he can get away plagiarism. At least one playwright has started legal action against Sourabh Chatterjee also known as Sourabh Chatt for plagiarizing his play.

Reportedly, playwright Jeff Hoffman is pursuing legal action against Sourabh Chatterjee for plagiarizing his play, "Francis Brick Needs No Introduction" by passing "Wake Up, Mr. Biswas, Your Sons Are Talking" as his own. "Mr. Biswas" was read at the Ohio Theatre last April sponsored by Ma-Yi Theatre Company. Someone from the audience who had been associated with Hoffman and "Mr. Bricks" saw that Chatterjee's play was "nearly word for word" Hoffman's play and notified the producer Harriet Hendlin.

Hoffman's play, about four brothers at their father's wake, has been performed in both NY and LA and is published by Sam French. According to Hoffman, "Chatterjee's play simply takes Indian character names and substitutes them for my own." When confronted, said Hoffman, Chatterjee admitted to Hoffman that he had, indeed, ripped-off the play and offered his apologies. It seems that Chatterjee and Hoffman were actually friends at one time.

According to Ralph Pena, Artistic Director of Ma-Yi, "We found about about the alleged plagiarism at the same time everyone else did. We have asked Sourabh many times to give us a reply and he has not. Sourabh joined the newly formed Ma-Yi Playwrights' Workshop in April. This is a new group that Sung Rno heads. Some of the members' works were given a staged reading in May, the same time we were doing "wAve." Sourabh submitted "Mr. Biswas," and this was read by a South Asian group of actors. Someone from the Lark Theater apparently saw this reading and alerted Jeff Hoffman, who has a relationship with the Lark. That's when we found out about it. Sourbah has been dropped from the Ma-Yi playwrights group. We have not been able to confirm the allegations, either way, but his silence is not promising."

SALAAM!'s (South Asian League of Artists in AMerica) Literary Manager, Anuvab Pal, conveyed to Hoffman last April, "On behalf of Citygirl and myself, it saddens us to great lengths to find this information about Sourabh Chaterjee, a playwright whose work we have seen develop at various NY venues. I don't quite know what else to say except our wishes are with you and I hope this doesn't continue. I hope also that you are able to regain rights on the plays that you mention are rightfully yours. Our effort here is to present cutting edge ORIGINAL South Asian theatre, and cultivate playwrights discover their own voices. We, like you, do not support any form of intellectual theft; and our effort remains to add to existing voices in the NY theatre community and not detract from it."

It seems that also The Public Theater and The New Group, among others, presented another Chatterjee "original" play. According to Pal, "Zoo" sounds exactly similar to a play called "Sonamoni" that, among other things, got a reading at "The Public Theater. And The New Group! Both of which I saw! They have the same careers you mention. Sonamoni even got a reading at Salaam. I am indeed amazed as to how someone could do this...and with an acquaintance!!!...it is truly a bad reflection on the community."

Hoffman has said, that he does not think that these theater companies knew of Sourabh's trickery. "They were," Hoffman said, "I believe, just as duped as I was. Sourabh is solely responsible for this mess."

SHAKESPEARE IN CENTRAL PARK: The 2004 summer season of Shakespeare in Central Park is "Much Ado About Nothing," Directed by David Esbjornson, "Much Ado About Nothing" runs at The Delacorte Theater in Central Park through Sunday, August 8th. For more information, call 212-539-8750 or visit www.publictheater.org.

Set in Messina on the island of Sicily, a place where the changing political landscape shifts as frequently as the earthquake-prone ground, "Much Ado About Nothing" is the quintessential 'battle of the sexes' story of deceit, manipulation, passion and - ultimately - love. Jimmy Smits (Anna in the Tropics) and Kristen Johnston (Aunt Dan and Lemon) ignite as Shakespeare's loquacious lovers who vacillate between love and hate. The all-star cast also features the return of Sam Waterston (Law and Order) to the Public Theater as Leonato with his daughter Elisabeth Waterston as Hero, Brian Murray (The Play About the Baby) as Constable Dogberry, Dominic Chianese ("The Sopranos") as Antonio, and Sean Patrick Thomas (Save the Last Dance) as Borachio.

The cast of "Much Ado About Nothing" also features: Laura Kai Chen, Manoel Felciano, Frank Faucett, Scott Fischbein, Bill Heck, Andre Holland, Jayne Houdyshell, Peter Francis James, Kevin Kelly, Dane Knell, Peter McCain, Ryan Metzgar, Julio Monge, Lorenzo Pisoni, Steven Skybell, Emily Swallow, and Christopher Evan Welch.

An allotment of FREE tickets for Shakespeare in Central Park will be distributed to residents of each Borough at community locations on selected dates while supplies last. Tickets will be distributed between 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. on the specified date at each of the locations below. For more information on Shakespeare in the Boroughs, please call 212-539-8719 or visit www.publictheater.org.

BRONX: Thursday June 24th & Friday, July 16th, The Lovinger Theatre at Lehman College, 250 Bedford Park, Boulevard West; Thursday June 24th & Friday, July 16th, The Point Community Development Center, 940 Garrison Avenue. BROOKLYN: Thursday, July 1st & Friday, August 6th, Brooklyn Children's Museum, 145 Brooklyn Avenue; Thursday, July 1st & Friday, August 6th, 651 ARTS, 651 Fulton Street (Between Ashland Pl. and Rockwell Pl.).

MANHATTAN: Friday, June 25th & Friday, July 23rd, El Museo del Barrio, 1230 5th Avenue at 104th Street; Friday, June 25th & Friday, July 23rd, Aaron Davis Hall, West 135th St. and Convent Avenue. QUEENS: Friday, July 9th & Friday, July 30th, Queens Center Mall, Queens & Woodhaven Blvds @ L.I.E; Friday, July 9th & Friday, July 30th, Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Boulevard. STATEN ISLAND: Saturday, July 10th and Saturday, July 24th, Snug Harbor Cultural Center, 1000 Richmond Terrace.

BARD IN THE GARDEN: The seedy decline of Times Square in a futuristic New York City is the backdrop for Shakespeare's problematic morality play "Measure For Measure" presented by the Blunt Theater July 17-25 at the Garden of the La Plaza Cultural, 9th Street between Avenue B and C. Performances are FREE. For more info, visit www.blunttheater.org.

The future of New York is bleak; global warming and economic devastation has turned the metropolis into a Blade Runner-like wasteland. The strangle hold Disney has on Times Square has deteriorated and the famous tourist trap nostalgically resembles its seedier days of the seventies. The Duke, concerned with his lackadaisical attitude towards the morality laws of the country, decides to bestow power to his right hand man, Angela, telling him to enforce the law while he is away. Angelo shows no mercy to the citizens and one of his first arrests is Claudio, for having premarital sex with his fiancé. The punishment is death. When Claudio's virtuous sister Isabella begs Angelo to spare his life, Angelo agrees under one condition - if Isabella will have sex with him.

As a play on the misuse of authority, "Measure for Measure" explores corruption that easily comes with power and the hypocrisy behind strict virtue. Considered one of Shakespeare's 'problem plays, Blunt Theater Company and director Jamie Taylor embrace the challenges to create an edgy examination of current social and political hypocrisy and the fate of New York's future if they are not addressed. "Measure for Measure" is full of timeless issues that make a modern audience relate to the relevant topics of freedom, sexual harassment and justice and set against the backdrop of the breathtaking community garden.

L-R: Craig A. Brown as Paris, Lara Silva as Juliet; Rob Mess as Friar Lawrence in "Romeo and Juliet." Photo by Jena Wuu

KING'S COUNTY ROMEO & JULIET: Kings County Shakespeare Company will mount its mainstage production of 2004, "Romeo and Juliet," at the Chapel of the First Unitarian Church, located at the corner of Pierrepont Street and Monroe Place, Brooklyn Heights, from July 8 to 26. Directed by Vicki Hirsch, with dramaturgy by Deborah Wright Houston, this production of "Romeo and Juliet" has been conceived to cast a harsh light on the universality and timelessness of violence. Shakespeare's text exquisitely pleads for similar and neighboring peoples to stop killing each other for reasons they no longer remember. Today, more than ever before, the plea is shared by individuals throughout the world, giving "Romeo and Juliet" an unmistakable currency. For tickets, call 212-868-4444, or visit www.smarttix.com. For more info, visit www.kingscountyshakespeare.org.

This will be an "original practice" production. The term refers to productions of Shakespeare's time, when plays were performed during the day in natural light (as in the Globe Theatre) or by candlelight when indoors (as at Blackfriars). There are minimal sets, no stage lights (general lighting only, which illuminates both performers and audience with no changes or special effects) and, most importantly, actor/audience interaction. This style leads to a very up-close, dynamic theatrical experience. On July 11, the 3:00 performance will be Family Day and will include a visit by H.R.H. Queen Elizabeth I (played by Jennifer Johanos).

The production features Frank Smith as Romeo and Lara Silva as Juliet. The cast features Craig Brown, Chris Burner, Cynthia Eisemann, Evan Franca, Felipe N. Foucher, Michael Hagins, Fabian Guerra, Bev Lacy, Robert Mess, Ben Patch, Joe Ryan, Dayle Vander Sande, Roger Stude and Glenn Urieta. The cast also includes Debra Alleyne, Natalie Anjour, Marianne Cucinotta, Felipe N. Foucher, Fabian Guerra, Melissa John and Martina Weber.

DIARY OF A CHAMBERMAID: Dramahaus New York presents a world premiere stage adaptation of Octave Mirbeau's scandalous 19th century novel "Diary of a Chambermaid," adapted and directed by acclaimed Rojanian director Adrian Glurgea. "Diary of a Chambermaid" begins previews on Friday, July 23, for a limited engagement through Saturday, Aug. 14 at the Walkerspace on 46 Walker Street in Tribeca. For tickets, call SmartTix at 212-868-4444 or visit www.smarttix.com.

An exploration of the perverse relationship between master and servant, "Diary of a Chambermaid" chronicles Celestine's slightly wicked adventures as a maid for the wealthy Lanlaire family. Published in 1900s in the wake of the Dreyfus Affair in France, "Diary of a Chambermaid" created a hugh scandal among Victorian critics of its day and remains one of the most scathing and darkly humorous satires of modern society, cultural mores, politics and religion. Often compared to the writings of Marquis de Sade, the novel was banned in the US in 1901 for obscenity.

Although written over 100 years ago, director and adapter Adrian Giurgea sees particular resonance to contemporary society. "Look at the success of 'tell all' books like "The Nanny Diaries" and "Bergdorf Blondes,'" said Giurgea. "A play about the incestuous relationship between those who own and those who are owned, a play which dissects pitilessly such reality, is quite timely."

The cast include Lael Logan as Celestine and Patrick McNulty as Monsieur Lanlaire, along with Atosa Babaoff Brooke Delaney, Antonia Fairchild, Ryan Farley, Jeff Galfer, Chris Oden, Allison Schubert and Finnerty Steeves.

Dramahous New York was founded in 2004 by Antonia Fairchild as a global home for theatre directors. Believing that the director's vision is paramount, they seek ensemble drive, highly theatrical work that allows an innovative approach to the theatrical experience.


"Tomorrow May Never Come (Ka Ho Naa Ho)"

WITH PHOTO: ASIAN AM INTL FILM FEST: Asian CineVision (ACV)'s 27th Asian American International Film Festival will be presented this year by HBO and Time Warner, from Friday, July 16 through Saturday, July 24 at the Asia Society and Museum and ImaginAsian Theater (www.imaginasiantv.com). Select films will also be shown at the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington, Long Island (www.cinemaartscentre.org) from July 30 - August 1. The AAIFF - the nation's oldest and longest running festival devoted to works by filmmakers of Asian descent - annually showcases over 100 films representing countries from Bangladesh to Thailand. The festival opens with the gala screening and U.S. premiere of acclaimed Hong-Kong director Ann Hui's "Goddess of Mercy (Guan Yin)," a thriller starring Zhao Wei and Nicholas Tse. Buddhist lama Khyentse Norbu's spectacular "Travellers and Magician," about a Bhutanese man and his desires to come to America will be the centerpiece presentation on July 23. The festival will close on July 24 with the screening of first-time feature director Nikhil Advani's "Tomorrow May Never Come (Ka Ho Naa Ho)" where Queens, NY meets Bollywood. For tickets, call 212-327-9341 or www.asiasociety.org. For complete program information, please visit www.asiancinevision.org or call the Festival hotline at 212-989-1422.

"Tomorrow May Never Come (Ka Ho Naa Ho)"
  "The AAIFF has always been unique in taking risks to showcase provocative works not only by internationally acclaimed filmmakers, but also works of independent filmmakers who creatively explore unconventional cultural and social themes," said Diana Lee, Festival Director. "In addition to our regular programming of films, workshops and panels this year, we are excited to include a new animation program and an 'Excellence in Short Filmmaking Award.'"

"The Asia Society is pleased to be hosting this exciting film festival for the third year in a row," said Vishakha N. Desai, Senior Vice President and President-elect of Asia Society. "In this short time, the AAIFF has become an important part of Asia Society's programming and has also become an important platform in presenting and promoting the accomplishments of Asian and Asian American cinema."

Festival highlights will include the feature premieres of "After the Apocalypse,"(directed by Yasuaki Nakajima), a futuristic drama about five survivors trying to make sense of a New World after a devastating urban catastrophe challenges all their human needs; "Ebolusyon" (directed by Lavrente Diaz), a nine-hour epic narrative about the struggles of a rural Filipino family; "Night Passage" (directed by Trinh Minh-ha), a trans-cultural journey made in homage to Kenji Miyazawa's novel, "Milky Way Railroad;" "Slow Jam King" (directed by Steve Mallorca), an offbeat comedy about three guys on the road who find themselves in the heart of the Nashville country music scene; and "Winter Days" (directed by Kawamoto Kihachiro), an animated feature that brings to life the poems of one of Japan's most famous haiku poets, Matsuo Basho.    

"Travellers and Magician" director, Khyentse Norbu
Shorts premieres will include "Lest We Forget" (directed by Jason DaSilva), a documentary that parallels the treatment of detainees post 9/11 with the treatment of Japanese-American internees during WWII in America; "Perfection" (directed by Karen Lin), starring Ming-na about an Asian American woman seeking perfection; and "Sangam" (directed by Prashant Bhargava), a story about the relationship and contrasting views of an Indian-American and Indian immigrant. Other program highlights will include the presentation of the "Emerging Director Award" and a "64 Hour Shoot-Out" competition in collaboration with the Asian American Filmmakers Collaborative. ACV will also hold a special advanced screening of " Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle" (directed by Danny Leiner) which will be released by New Line Cinema in theaters nationally on July 30th.

Launched in 1978, the AAIFF was created with the mission to provide a formal annual showcase for filmmakers of Asian descent. For over two decades, the AAIFF was one of the first festivals in North America to premiere and introduce to the public now internationally acclaimed directors including Oscar-winners Ang Lee, as well as Oscar-nominees Zhang Yimou, Mira Nair, and Ismail Merchant. Since its inception, the AAIFF has also helped to pave the way for the establishment of other Asian film festivals in major cities - including Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Toronto, and Vancouver.  

"Travellers and Magician"
Asian CineVision, Inc. (ACV) is a not-for-profit national media arts organization dedicated to the promotion and preservation of Asian and Asian American media expressions. Since 1978, ACV has annually presented the Asian American International Film Festival (AAIFF) to showcase cinema works by international artists of Asian descent. In addition to the festival, ACV's programs and services include film exhibitions, mentoring and educational outreach, training workshops, publications, and a media archive. ACV is based in New York City. For more information, please visit www.asiancinevision.org.

The Asia Society (www.AsiaSociety.org) is America's leading institution dedicated to fostering understanding of Asia and communications between Americans and the peoples of Asia and the Pacific, through innovative Asian and Asian American programming.

IMELDA EXTENDED: Everyone should see Ramona Diaz's award winning documentary film "Imelda". Not only is it an excellent documentary about former First Lady Imelda Marcos, it is also an enlightening summary of contemporary history of the Philippines. "Imelda" is playing daily through July 13 at the Film Forum Theatre at 209 West Houston Street just off 6th Avenue in New York City. Tickets are $10 and Group Sales for 10 or more are $5. Show times are 3:15PM and 7:15PM. For tickets, call 212-727-8110 or 212-627-2035 or visit www.filmforum.com.

Diaz's film features the onetime beauty queen who became first lady and helped rule with Marcos the Philippines for two decades. Civilians and the military forced President Marcos, who declared martial law in 1972, into exile in Hawaii in 1986 in the "people power" revolt. He was accused of stealing more than $5 billion during his rule. President Marcos died in 1989, and Imelda Marcos later returned home from Hawaii. She has battled government lawsuits seeking to recover the fortune the Marcoses allegedly embezzled, and attempted to rehabilitate the family name by running for office, including the presidency in 1992 and 1998.

Imelda Marcos is perhaps best known around the world for leaving thousands of pairs of shoes behind when the couple fled the presidential palace in Manila. The film provides a broader depth to the Imelda persona. We first see a young woman whose beauty and nerve propels her towards an ocean of giants who can help her build "castles in the sand."

From MacArthur to the Mayor of Manila to the Marcos, Imelda finds her way only to discover that very much like Jackie Kennedy or Princess Diana, she must adjust to a very public life. Perhaps a candidate's wife to the people, a beauty to the people, Imelda was able to gather the masses around her and Ferdinand. Young and attractive, the glamorous First Couple presented great hopes and expectations to the people.

It was very good to see old press footage covering Imelda with US President Johnson, and world leaders in the 60s and 70s. She is a disarming beauty whom Marcos has used to the advantage of the Philippines. Her power base grows and she is able to find funds to implement her pet projects such as the Cultural Center for the Philippines, the Philippine Heart Center, and the Philippine Kidney Center among others. And the Imelda story goes on.

Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of the Diaz's documentary is the interview segments with the former First Lady. We see her chatting about love and beauty and her perception of the needs and wants of the Filipino people. Whether it is delusion, denial or deception, we seem to see a dazzling and dedicated Imelda, a damned icon of disturbed dreams, a disfigured survivor.

She speaks candidly throughout the film. She willingly shows the scars on her arms where she fended off an assassin who attacked her with a bolo. And in sharing her unique insight of life, she perhaps unwillingly exposes many intimate scars of her psyche. A lasting image from the film remains for this writer is a very young Imelda posing on the beach with the waves splashing at her feet: the feet that will reap ridicule, the ocean, domain of bangus and baraccuda, that will wash away "castles in the sand."


H.T. CHEN & DANCERS: In a delightful departure, H.T. CHEN & DANCERS will host the friendly 'Summer Pavilion," featuring delicious morsels of dance, snacks, and plum wine at their resident, air-conditioned Mulberry Street Theater in Chinatown July 15-25. The informal evening will feature the World Premiere of an as yet untitled work by H.T., set to a commissioned score by frequent collaborator Bradley Kaus. For reservations, call 212-349-0126 or visit www.chenanddancers.org.

The company work draws from the techniques of the Hung Sheng Lion Dance, in which the performers sometimes lift or perch on top of one another. This dualism of compatibility and aggression, together and turmoil, Yin and Yang, are also at work within society. The program will include a revival from H.T.'s Transparent Hinges, inspired by the experiences of Chinese immigrants in America, set to an evocative score by Zhou Long. Also excerpted will be the film 13 Sounds, 25 Years, a fascinating dance documentary about H.T. Chen & Dancers created by Don Quinn Kelley in celebration of the company's 25th anniversary in 2003.

The Company includes H.T. Chen, Dian Dong, Renouard Gee, Mariko Ando, Chellamar Bernard, Jeffrfey Duval, Lynn Huang, Antoine Gadpaille, Kayan Lam, and LunShan Liao.

LINCOLN CENTER FESTIVAL: The three-week Lincoln Center Festival 2004 will fill venues on and around the Lincoln Center campus with renowned artists and ensembles from England, France, Holland, Israel, Japan, the Republic of Georgia, Russia and the U.S. As has been the hallmark and mission of the eight previous Lincoln Center Festivals, Festival 2004 will celebrate diverse cultural traditions, ancient and modern, East and West with performances of classical and contemporary theater that range from Kabuki to the American musical, with ballet and modern dance, with music that ranges from orchestral and vocal to electronic and jazz, and with multimedia performance, a video festival, symposia and more. For tickets, call CenterCharge, 212-721-6500, or visit www.lincolncenter.org.

Festival 2004 THEATER events are highlighted by the North American debut of Japan's famed Nakamura-za, the company led by Nakamura Kankuro V, one of the greatest living Kabuki actors, in a gorgeous spectacle to take place in an authentic Kabuki tent in Damrosch Park for 15 performances, July 17 through July 25. Additional theater presentations are: the return of acclaimed director Simon McBurney with the North American premiere of The Elephant Vanishes adapted from stories by renowned Japanese post-modernist writer Haruki Murakami. This co-production of Complicite and Tokyo's Setagaya Public Theatre will be performed by the Japanese company in its North American debut (July 21-July 25, New York State Theater).

Heisei Nakamura-za in "Natsumatsuri Naniwa Kagami." Photo by: Shochiku, Inc.
  WITH PHOTO: THE SUMMER FESTIVAL: A MIRROR OF OSAKA: Lincoln Center Festival 2004 will present the world-renowned Nakamura Kankuro V and his Kabuki theater Heisei Nakamura-za in the New York premiere of Natsumatsuri Naniwa Kagami (The Summer Festival: A Mirror of Osaka). These performances, the first time in 15 years Kabuki from Japan has been performed in New York, have been scheduled to commemorate 150 years of Japanese-American relations, which formally began with the signing of the U.S.-Japan Peace and Amity Treaty (Kanagawa Treaty) in 1854. They will also be the first performances of a Kabuki play performed by a Japanese company in New York in an authentic shibaigoya, or traditional Kabuki theater, that will transform Lincoln Center's Damrosch Park into a vision of 17th -century Edo Japan.

The Nakamura family has been one of the great Kabuki dynasties in Japan since the 17th century, passing the 400-year-old performance traditions from father to son through the generations. Forty-eight-year-old Nakamura Kankuro V, the current heir to this great legacy, is one of Japan's leading Kabuki actors. 2004 also marks an important point in the life of Nakamura Kankuro V. It will be the last year he will be known as Kankuro, as he will assume the name Kanzaburo in 2005, for the 18th generation in his family's history.

Kankura Nakamura in a scene from The Summer Festival: A Mirror of Osaka" Lincoln Center Festival, 2004 -- The Summer Festival: A Mirror Of Osaka.

Over the past decade, Nakamura Kankuro V, who also stars in contemporary plays in Japan, has set out to revitalize the conventions of Kabuki, which was started by Okuni, a shrine maiden from the Izumo Shrine located in the state of Shimane. Her performances in a dry bed of the Kamo River in the ancient capital of Kyoto around the year 1600 caused a sensation. Soon the scale of Kabuki performances grew, and a number of rival Kabuki street theater companies arose. "I wanted to get back to the old way of doing things," Nakamura Kankuro V told an interviewer in 2000. "I wanted people to feel as if they were visiting a fair grounds, coming to a happy place where they could eat a little food, have some drinks, feel a little light and free." Japanese audiences have responded with belly laughs and cheers to the happy-go-lucky, slapstick, slightly risque quality of his performances.

For the Lincoln Center Festival performances the all-male company will perform in a specially designed 500+-seat shibaigoya that will be erected in Damrosch Park (complete with a hanamichi, or a central runway, and sajiki, cushioned seats on the floor). Natsumatsuri Naniwa Kagami (The Summer Festival: A Mirror of Osaka) is set against a backdrop of 18th-century Osaka's equivalent to Mardi Gras. A wayward young lord, who is something of a samurai playboy, intends to marry a teahouse courtesan. Troubles ensue, but three "street knights" (commoners) rally round him to save him and his geisha.

THE ELEPHANT VANISHES: For their third visit to the Lincoln Center Festival, director Simon McBurney and Complicite, (formerly Theatre de Complicite) in collaboration with Tokyo's Setagaya Public Theater, bring the North American premiere of the multimedia theater piece The Elephant Vanishes, a dramatic retelling of three stories by Japan's celebrated post-modernist author, Haruki Murakami. The Setagaya Public Theater makes its North American debut with these performances. The play will be performed in Japanese (with English supertitles).

A non-stop collage of images real and bizarre, The Elephant Vanishes interweaves the stories of a sleepless housewife who becomes transfixed by Anna Karenina, a kitchen-appliance salesman who is obsessed with an elephant that mysteriously disappears from the zoo in a Tokyo suburb, and a newly married couple, provoked by their midnight hunger to rob a McDonalds. McBurney is celebrated for his direction of such productions as The Lives of Lucie Cabrol, and The Street of Crocodiles (which were seen at previous Lincoln Center Festivals), among others. He ingeniously transforms Murakami's haunting tales of urban alienation into a non-stop visual journey of images real and surreal, incorporating TV monitors, and large and small video screens that slide across the stage, and Christopher Shutt's fantastical sound score that combines music, electronics, and city noise.

Complicite is a constantly evolving ensemble of performers and collaborators led by Artistic Director Simon McBurney. Founded in 1983, Complicite's work has ranged from entirely devised work to theatrical adaptations and revivals of classic texts. Recent work in the U.S. includes: Strange Poetry: Berlioz and the Chemistry of Dreams with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra in the Walt Disney Concert Hall. The Company has been seen in New York with Mnemonic, The Noise of Time (with the Emerson String Quartet, Lincoln Center Great Performers), The Chairs (Broadway 1998 - six Tony Awards), and The Street of Crocodiles and The Three Lives of Lucie Cabrol - both at previous Lincoln Center Festivals. The Company also works in other media and has produced a radio version of Mnemonic and a radio version of John Berger's novel To The Wedding - both for the BBC. Complicite is based in London and tours all over the world. For more information on Complicite, www.complicite.org

Setagaya Public Theatre is a non-profit theatre funded by the city of Setagaya, the second largest borough in central Tokyo. Since its opening in 1997, Setagaya has become highly acclaimed for producing theater in Japan. Setagaya Public Theatre owns two theaters, the Main Theatre and the Theatre Tram. Its aim is both to produce and present major national and international drama and dance. Visiting artists include Peter Brook, Complicite, Robert Lepage, William Forsythe, Philippe Decoufle, Maggie Mari, Joseph Nadj, National Theatre (London) and Vidy Theatre (Lausanne). Setagaya Public Theatre is currently collaborating on several new international projects with Simon McBurney and Complicite, Joseph Nadj, French directors Frederic Fisbach and Antoine Caubet, and East Asian artists. Mansai Nomura has been Artistic Director since 2002.

THE FROGS, A MUSICAL: Lincoln Center Theater will participate in this year's Lincoln Center Festival with LCT's new production of the Burt Shevelove/Stephen Sondheim 1974 musical comedy The Frogs. The Frogs was originally performed in a swimming pool at Yale University and featured Meryl Streep and Christopher Durang in the chorus. In a recent interview in The New York Times about the upcoming new production, Sondheim said that he had re-worked the music and that the show will include six to seven new songs. The Frogs, was freely adapted from Aristophanes' comedy by Burt Shevelove; it is now even more freely adapted by Nathan Lane who has expanded and updated the book so that the satire retains an "edge" for contemporary audiences. The Frogs will be directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman, Tony-Award winner for her work on Lincoln Center Theater's production of Contact, as well as the Broadway productions of The Producers, Show Boat and Crazy for You.

In The Frogs, the Greek god Dionysos (to be played by Nathan Lane), troubled by the world's ills, embarks on a perilous and frog-infested journey to Hades with his slave Xanthias (played by Chris Kattan, of Saturday Night Live fame), to bring back an extraordinary writer who, by providing words of wit and wisdom, will help save mankind from self-destruction.

The centerpiece of DANCE at Festival 2004 is the Ashton Celebration, 11 performances of seven different programs marking the centenary of the birth of English choreographer Frederick Ashton that will feature four of the world's leading ballet companies - England's Birmingham Royal Ballet and The Royal Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet of Chicago and Japan's K-Ballet Company, in it's North American Debut - performing a range of Ashton works, many unseen in this country for years (July 6-17, Metropolitan Opera House); New York-based choreographer Shen Wei will represent a contemporary-side of dance at Festival 2004 when Shen Wei Dance Arts, returns to offer the New York premiere of Shen's new full-evening work, displaying his unique style that blends Eastern and Western art forms and movement (July 14, 16 and 17, Alice Tully Hall).

K-BALLET: K-Ballet Company of Tokyo, the company founded in 1998 by former Royal Ballet principal dancer Tetsuyo Kumakawa (who serves as Artistic Director), with a small group of ex-Royal Ballet dancers, will make its North American Debut at the Festival. K-Ballet will dance Rhapsody, the "ecstatically inventive" (The Independent) pure-dance ballet for six couples that is one of Ashton's late works. It was choreographed in 1980 for a Royal Ballet gala celebration in honor of Britain's Queen Mother's 80th birthday. Kumakawa will dance the virtuosic male lead - the role that Ashton created on Mikhail Baryshnikov. Rhapsody has not been seen in New York since 1981 when Anthony Dowell danced it with The Royal Ballet at Lincoln Center.

WITH PHOTO: SHEN WEI DANCE ARTS: Returning to the Festival after it's triumphant New York/Lincoln Center debut last July is Shen Wei Dance Arts. The New York-based company founded by Chinese-born, choreographer/visual artist Shen Wei will dance the New York premiere of Shen's new evening-length work. The company's Lincoln Center Festival 2003 debut, performing The Rite of Spring and Folding was hailed by critics and cheered by audiences. Said The New York Times, "Poetic, impudent, beautiful and strange, the dances of Shen Weiannounce the advent of a strikingly original artist."

In his new, full-evening work for Festival 2004, Shen will continue to explore the integration of dance, visual art and music. As Shen describes it: "This new piece will fuse dance movement, action painting, live music and original recorded sound scores to reveal the evolution of dance-making and art-making through the journey of creating a work, live. With each performance, the live fusion of these elements in real time and space will create a work of art that is both ephemeral and corporeal. Each evening the dance will begin on a blank canvas covering the entire stage. Through the investigation of body architecture, visual art and soundscapes, a dance of live action painting will occur on stage- and literally be painted on the canvas-filling the space and creating a record of the event." The work will be in four sections roughly corresponding to the music/sound scores of Kevin Volans String Quartet No.6; Iannis Xenakis' piano piece Evryali; and excerpts from Gyorgy Ligeti's Volumina for organ, and Ligeti's "Andante" from his Sonatina for piano 4-hands. The work will have its world premiere at the American Dance Festival in early July.

MUSIC that celebrates the multi-talents of one of America's foremost popular music artists, that takes us on a seven-hour spiritual journey, that uses modern technology to re-examine the impact of early 20th-century sound technology, and that joins global contemporary rhythms with cutting-edge electronic masters, is all on tap for Festival 2004.

THE VEIL OF THE TEMPLE: Celebrated British composer Sir John Tavener's choral work The Veil of the Temple, a seven-hour long journey of spiritual reflection and transcendence for 120 singers and instrumentalists, will have its North American Premiere over one extraordinary night at Avery Fisher Hall on the penultimate night of the Festival, July 24.

Eastern and Western influences infuse the music of acclaimed British composer Sir John Tavener whose stunning work, The Veil of the Temple will receive its North American Premiere at Festival 2004. The Veil of the Temple, with a score of more than 850 pages, is an all-night vigil, over seven hours in length, that features a 120-member chorus, solo soprano, organ, a 12-member brass and percussion corps, Indian harmonium, a duduk (ancient Armenian oboe), and Tibetan horn and Temple bowls. The work incorporates western musical forms and liturgical music of the Eastern Orthodox Church, along with Hindi and Sufi chants and rhythms. The Veil of the Temple was commissioned by The Temple Church, one of London's oldest and most historic churches, and premiered there in June 2003 under the direction of Stephen Layton. For Festival 2004, he will lead the massed forces including the Choir of the Temple Church and a consortium of New York-based singers from the Dessoff Choirs under the direction of Kent Tritle.

The Veil of the Temple is modeled after the Christian liturgical form of the all-night Easter vigil service. Written in eight cycles, with the first cycle being the great love-song of creation for the Creator, it moves through the cycles into music of ever-greater intensity. In the final cycles, the music reaches the cataclysm of Christ's death. As the daylight rises, the choristers sing: "It was early in the morning" and the work arrives at Easter and the human soul, now re-created, and has reached the goal of its journey, the center itself. Tavener commented on his process and direction, "I tried to create as much beauty of sound, beauty of form, beauty of text, beauty of rhythm, beauty of melodic line as I possibly couldI tried to make it as universalist as possible-I didn't try to make it, it came from inside me."

DJ Spooky

TRANSMETROPOLITAN: The New York premiere of a MULTIMEDIA theater-performance work by DJ Spooky, musician/writer/conceptual artist Paul D. Miller a.k.a. "DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid" will curate an evening of new music, video, and literature showcasing a new global DJ culture of artists whose inspiration comes from a mixing and blending of various genres, world-wide sounds and cultural sources, and who are transforming popular music. TransMetropolitan (July 21 at Alice Tully Hall) will include performances by some of the most important creative artists in the field - American writer Colson Whitehead, London's Eclectic Method, Sri Lankan artist/activist Tanya Selvaratnam, South Asian dance-music master DJ Rekha, British-Asian musician/ producer Nitin Sawhney, and Japanese techno pioneer Ryuichi Sakamoto, among others.

Since its inception, one of the primary missions of the Festival has been to showcase contemporary artistic viewpoints, non-Western cultural perspectives, and multidisciplinary contexts. TransMetropolitan, curated by DJ Spooky, meets all of these criteria, and more, in one incredible, one-time-only program. Inspired by Duke Ellington's 1971 release Afro-Eurasian Eclipse, which explored rhythmic links between African and Asian cultures, Paul Miller (DJ Spooky) organizes a live, multimedia experience to further survey what has become known as the "Fourth World"- sound environments created from different elements and hybrids of DJ culture. DJ Spooky speaks of this DJ culture as a "new jazz" and TransMetropolitan as celebrating "a different America: a place that we realize has always been hybrid, has always been mixed, and that, through music, has become a global reflection site of hope, change, and transformation."

For this one-time only event, DJ Spooky will serve as host and performer, and lead-off the evening with a new collaborate work. Colson Whitehead, the award-winning New York-based author of The Intuitionist, will read excerpts of his work to a new video "backdrop" created by DJ Spooky and live, solo violin performance by Daniel Bernard Roumain. The program also features the music and video work of Japanese techno pioneer Ryuichi Sakamoto; live "mash up" video mixes by London's Eclectic Method; Sri Lankan artist and activist Tanya Selvaratnam, who created the award-winning multimedia project Alladeen, accompanied by New York South Asian dance music pioneer DJ Rekha; award-winning British-Asian musician and producer Nitin Sawhney, whose work is influenced by the British pop and traditional Indian music he grew up with, as well as Latin rhythms; New York writer and new media artist Beth Coleman who will read from "Theory of Messages," commissioned by painter Chris Ofili for his 2003 Venice Biennale exhibition catalogue, as part of a new collaboration with Pakistani playwright and conceptualist Ibrahim Quraishi and Indian-American jazz pianist and composer Vijay Iyer.

"Invisible Light"

NEW YORK VIDEO FESTIVAL. Tickets are available at www.filmlinc.com and at the Walter Reade Box Office on June 23; tickets available by phone beginning July 7 by calling 212-496-3809.

The New York Video Festival is a highlight of the multimedia/video arts world, highly-anticipated by artists, directors, and fans of this most contemporary of art forms. The 2004 New York Video Festival, which runs from July 14 through July 18 at the Walter Reade Theater, will feature cutting edge work by masters of the genre and newly discovered young Turks. Perennial favorite Armond White will discuss and present the newest music videos and the Video Festival will continue its explorations into the brave new world of video gaming. Many artists will attend and take part in lively discussions.

Among the feature length works include Gina Kim's "Invisible Light," a narrative feature with a decidedly uncomplicated bent and "Peep TV Show" from Japan which blurs the lines between reality and non.

"Invisible Light"

WITH PHOTO: Gina Kim, South Korea/U.S., 2003: "Invisible Light" consists of two parts: the first centers on Ga-in, who's dumped by her married lover and spends her time obsessing about her body and binge eating; the second focuses on Do-heui, the wife of Ga-in's lover, who's become pregnant by another man, stocks up on abortion pills, and flies back alone to Seoul to decide whether to take the pills or not. Thurs July 15: 6:300PM.

"Peep TV Show"

WITH PHOTO: Yutaka Tsuchiya, Japan, 2003: Raw, authentic and ostentatiously low-budget, "Peep TV Show" dissolves the borders that supposedly separate fiction from reality. Centered on the generation of kids that hang out on the streets and small apartments around Shibuya, in Tokyo, Tsuchiya's film captures two months of the strangely dislocated lives of these young people. No family life is hinted at; they often live alone and isolated in cubicle-like apartments. Obsessed by the Internet, by surveillance cameras, at home with Internet porn, always dealing with sex but at the same time strangely sexless, but caught up in numerous forms of peeping in which they peep and in turn become somebody else's spectacle, this is a generation for which fashion statements are not just a way of life, but their very being and identity. Sun July 18: 6:30PM.

Other Video shorts include: "Fade into White #4" by Goshima Kazuhiro, Japan, 2003. Another psychedelic voyage by one of the most inventive independent computer animators, Goshima Kazuhiro, exploring the interface between model-making and filmmaking and the space between watching movies and dreaming. With "very fantastic" by Stella So, Hong Kong, 2002. Drawn on Chinese calligraphy paper, this beautiful animation reflects on the cultural and aesthetic aspects of Hong Kong architecture. Wed July 14: 6:15PM; Fri July 16: 4PM. "Ssitkim: Talking to the Dead" by Soon-mi Yoo, South Korea, 2004. This investigation of South Korean military involvement in the Vietnam War is equal parts excavation and exorcism. Fri July 16: 6:30PM. "Homebound / Balikbayan" by Larilyn Sanchez and Riza Manalo, Philippines, 2003. A tale of family, love, and imported goods. With "Time for Radio Exercise" by Daisuke Nose, Japan, 2003. Every morning at 6:30 people gather in a park and to a voice from the radio, they exercise together. For many contemporary Japanese, it is a practice evoking nostalgic memories of summer holidays during elementary school. Sat July 17: 2PM. "Baghdad in No Particular Order" by Paul Chan, U.S., 2003. "This is the Baghdad You Destroyed": Glimpses of daily life on the streets of a city between wars, brought to you by the cameras of the multinational Iraq Peace Team and the Baghdad Snapshot Action project. Sun July 18: 4:15PM. [Abalos]


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