Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in Ailey Ascending; Photo by Serena SY Hsu
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in Ailey Ascending; Photo by Serena SY Hsu

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La MaMa presents Yoshiko Chuma's "Love Story, The School of Hard Knocks," a 24-hour livestreamed performance, October 17-18

La MaMa presents Yoshiko Chuma's "Love Story, The School of Hard Knocks," a 24-hour livestreamed performance, October 17-18

Company:

La MaMa

Location:

24-hour livestream

Dates:

Saturday, October 17, 2020 - 11:00am daily through October 18, 2020

Company:
La MaMa

Yoshiko Chuma returns to La MaMa with Love Story, The School of Hard Knocks, the latest chapter in her ongoing multidisciplinary performance series. The 24-hour livestreamed performance will feature an international cast of more than 50 artists from four decades of collaboration. This anniversary performance is part of La MaMa’s Artist Residencies for its 2020–21 season focusing on the creation of new works across the digital and physical theater landscape during the coronavirus pandemic. The performance will take place from Saturday, October 17, at 11am to Sunday, October 18, at 11am (EDT). Audiences are also invited to tune in to Chuma’s residency at La MaMa beginning October 5, to view archival footage, sketches and rehearsals of the work leading up to the performance. Tickets start at $5 and can be purchased at www.lamama.org.

With her newest work, maverick choreographer, performer and instigator Yoshiko Chuma celebrates 40 years of developing collaborations, conceptual structures, and provocative performance art with her award-winning collective, The School of Hard Knocks. Chuma’s original and decidedly unclassifiable work, described as “a mixture of play and seriousness, anarchy and reflection” (Dance Magazine), tries to capture the contemporary world in all its complexity: speedy, multifaceted, diverse, both conceptual and concrete. 

For Love Story, Chuma has gathered a cast of over 50 international artists including veterans of The School of Hard Knocks and a new generation of artists from New York, Ankara, Tehran, Hong Kong, Berlin, Tokyo, Los Angeles, Brussels, Kabul, Palestine, and Dakar. Through an assemblage of films, dance, music, visual art, and narratives, Love Story serves as a performative “documentary” where personal and cultural history meet the present. From Chuma’s early days in postwar Japan to films such as The Atomic Cafe, The Battle of Algiers, and Stranger Than Paradise, these important influences on her work all come into play. Love Story traces its inspiration to a 24-hour production Chuma presented at P.S. 122 in 1985 and other early collaborations in New York City, including Five Car Pile-Up. The work also revisits Chuma’s performances with other artists in the downtown performance scene before The School of Hard Knocks was formed, as well as her new and ongoing border-transcending performances with collaborators in over 40 countries. 

Love Story continues Chuma’s lifetime investigation of ideas regarding national security, perceived dangers within borders, immigration, and war. Now, in the face of the global pandemic, she turns to the ephemeral spaces online to forge connections between herself and her collaborators. Using livestreaming, live-video-mixing, and the ubiquitous tools of social conferencing, Love Story creates a new space for artists to find connection, explore ideas, and translate them into a theatrical language. The multilayered work will feature live performances in La MaMa’s Ellen Stewart Theatre, prerecorded video, and live performances on Zoom that will be projected onto screens in the theatre with the onsite and international performers interacting, transitioning seamlessly for virtual audiences.

Concept, direction, choreography, and installation by Yoshiko Chuma. The creative team includes Ai Csuka (Artist Liaison) Ginger Dolden (Creative Producer/Musician), Ryan Leach (Actor), Jake Margolin & Nick Vaughan (Dramaturge/Design), and Ruyji Yamaguchi (Middle East Specialist). Core performers include Martita Abril (NYC), Deniz Atli (Turkey), Agnè Auželytė (Amsterdam), Los Babuinos (Venezuela), Sahar Damoni (Palestine), Mizuho Kappa (NYC), Heather Litteer (NYC), Tanin Torabi (Iran), Devin Brahja Waldman (NYC), and zaybra (NYC). With live and original music by Robert Black (double bass), Jason Kao Hwang (violin), Christopher McIntyre (trombone), and Dane Terry (piano). 

The performance will feature special guests and people important to the life and work of Yoshiko Chuma and the development of The School of Hard Knocks. They will be featured via a mixture of live performances, digital performances, and archival footage. Dance and choreography from Yanira Castro, Ursula Eagly, Allyson Green, Jodi Melnick, Sarah Michelson, Anthony Phillips, Peter Pleyer, Kathryn Ray, Steve Recker, Vicky Shick, and others. Poetry by Kyle Dacuyan, Bob Holman, and Anne Waldman. Musical compositions by Mark Bennett, Tan Dun, Nona Hendryx, Christian Marclay, Lenny Pickett, Marc Ribot, and others. Film and video by Chani Bockwinkel, Jacob Burckhardt, Rudy Burckhardt, Andrew Kim, Jonas Mekas, and Charlie Steiner. Photography by Robert Flynt and Dona Ann McAdams. Visual set designs by Tim Clifford, Alex Katz, Elizabeth Kresch, and Elizabeth Murray. And presenters Barbara Bryan, Rachel Cooper, Mark Russell, Yoko Shioya, Bonnie Sue Stein, Laurie Uprichard, and David White. Audiences will recognize artists from 1980s School of Hard Knocks productions including Donald Fleming, Dan Froot, Kaja Gam, Brian Moran, Nicky Paraiso, Harry Whittaker Sheppard, Gayle Tufts, Sasha Waltz, David Zambrano, and Nelson Zayao. Performances will also feature Emily Bartsch, Peter Lanctot, Kouiki Mojadidi, Emily Marie Pope, Isaac Rosenthal, and Aldina Michelle Topcagic.

This series of performances began in June 2020 with six online one-hour “sequels” entitled Saturday Morning Live SML: Zooma—Dead End presented by La MaMa and Mount Tremper Arts. These one-hour performances featured a regular cast of international performers and special guests from performances around the world by Yoshiko Chuma and The School of Hard Knocks. Chuma’s inspiration for Saturday Morning Live came from watching a live production of Saturday Night Livewhere the audience could visibly see the set changes and scene transitions live behind the scenes. The series also includes a residency and three livestreamed performances at Mount Tremper Arts in September 2020.

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