No Boundaries: Radio shows become dances, a performance travels, and a Shakespeare tragedy is told via song
An interactive theatrical experience that explores the impact of choice and chance in human lives, a restaging of Ira Glass radio interviews as dance pieces, and a multilingual song cycle will be featured in the Yale Repertory Theatre’s 2014-2015 No Boundaries series.
The No Boundaries series explores the frontiers of theatrical invention through cutting-edge and thought-provoking performance from around the world. The first production in the series will be “Now Now Oh Now,” created by Rude Mechs. “Now Now Oh Now” takes a locked-room puzzle, a lecture on evolutionary biology, and the world’s “weirdest night” of Dungeons & Dragons and weaves them all together to paint a picture of how choice and chance impact our lives and shape the world around us.
The performance will take place Dec. 4-10, 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. at the University Theatre, 222 York St. There is a limit of 30 participants per performance, as audience members will move through various locations inside the building.
Since 1995, Mechs has created a slate of theatrical productions that combine “big ideas, cheap laughs, and dizzying spectacle.” All of the company’s works share in common the use of play to make performance, the use of theaters as meeting places for audiences and artists, and the use of humor as a tool of intellectual investigation. Mechs tours these performances nationally and abroad. Mechs also manages The Off-Center, a performance venue in Austin, Texas, and runs Grrl Action, an arts mentoring program for teenage girls. The ensemble is currently working on a commission for the Yale Rep, supported by Yale’s Binger Center for New Theatre. The group’s production “The Method Gun” was presented as part of the No Boundaries series in 2011.
The second offering, “Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host: Ira Glass, Monica Bill Barnes, Anna Bass,” features original “This American Life” radio interviews restaged as dance pieces as well as personal stories from each of its three performers. There will be two performances only, at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 20.
Glass is the host and creator of the public radio program “This American Life.” The show is heard on more than 500 public radio stations in the United States and also on public radio in Canada and Australia. Under Glass’ editorial direction, “This American Life” has won the highest honors for broadcasting and journalistic excellence.
Barnes is the artistic director of Monica Bill Barnes & Company Productions, (MBB&CO) a New York City-based dance company founded in 1997. She creates full-length shows that are performed on some of the country’s biggest stages but also in places where they don’t belong — making site-specific dances in public places, mounting collaborations with radio hosts, and performing in comedy shows. Barnes began working with Glass in 2012 when she created a solo for David Rakoff and performed with MBB&CO as a part of “This American Life Live!” She was the choreographer for Yale Rep’s “These Paper Bullets!” last season.
Bass began working with MBB&CO in 2003 and now serves as associate artistic director. She has performed Barnes’ works all over the country, as well as in Glass’ two most recent “This American Life Live!” events — catching boxes while dancing as part of TAL’s cinema event and appearing as a roller-skating mouse alongside Mike Birbiglia in “The Radio Drama Episode” at the BAM opera house. She was the assistant choreographer for “These Paper Bullets!” at Yale Rep.
The final production in the series, “Songs of Lear,” will be performed Feb. 26-28 at 8 p.m. by Song of the Goat Theatre, an award-wining Polish theater company. “Songs of Lear” strips one of Shakespeare’s most renowned tragedies to its essence. It debuted at the 2012 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Established in 1996, Song of the Goat Theatre is considered one of Europe’s most innovative training-based ensembles. A distinctive element of the company’s practice and training is the need and search for connection and openness as the root of authentic experience. The company’s performances integrate movement, voice, song, and text.
Tickets for “No Boundaries” performances will be available to Yale Rep subscribers Nov. 3-8 and to the general public beginning at 10 a.m. on Nov. 10. Those who purchased individual tickets to the Yale Rep’s current production of “Arcadia” may apply the cost of one ticket towards the purchase of a five-play or three-play subscription for the Yale Rep’s entire season; all who purchase a five- or three-play subscription will be eligible for the No Boundaries pre-sale (Nov. 3-8) opportunity. Tickets for all No Boundaries events are $50-$95; $25 for student tickets. For tickets, call 203-432-1234, visit the Yale Rep box office at 1120 Chapel St., or visit the website.