Thursday, October 27, 2011

Randy Gener represents US media in German Embassy's first German and American Media Dialogue Nov. 6 and 7 in Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON, D.C.: Randy Gener is representing the U.S. media in the first-ever German and American Media Dialogue, organized by the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Washington, D.C.

The Media Dialogue is part of a series of D.C. events, taking place on the weekend of November 6 and 7., and is organized in cooperation with the Studio Theater and the Goethe-Institut in D.C.

To RSVP, visit the official website of German Missions in the United States at

Or, contact Goethe-Institut, 812 Seventh Street NW, Washington, DC
RSVP: 202-289-1200 ext 162
Devoted to contemporary theate, the event begins with the press premiere of The Golden Dragon by German playwright Roland Schimmelpfennig at the Studio Theater on Sunday, November 6. Schimmelpfennig will be in attendance.

The Media Dialogue, which takes place at the Goethe-Institut, on Monday November 7 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., consists of a public discussion among German and American theater critics.

The discussion will address current trends in contemporary theater in Germany and in the U.S.  It will also launch a sustained dialogue among theater critics between the two countries.

The Media Dialogue will be taped and made available electronically over the Internet. It is planned to provide simultaneous translation for the event. The German critics who are confirmed to participate are Peter Kümmel, theater critic for the newspaper Die Zeit, and Peter Michalzik, journalist and theater critic for the newspaper Frankfurter Rundschau.

The Golden Dragon takes place in the cramped kitchen of an Asian restaurant, where four cooks pull the tooth of a young Chinese co-worker. "His tooth," adds the play's description in the Studio Theater website, "ends up in the Thai soup of a flight attendant—who overhears the fight of a young couple who live above the restaurant, whose fighting disturbs the shopkeeper of the dry goods store next door to the restaurant, who is more connected to the young Chinese man than anyone suspects. A kaleidoscopic look at a globalized world, this play by one of Germany’s most innovative and adventurous writers unfolds in brief and fierce comic scenes. Five actors cross age, race, and gender to play 15 characters in this vicious, poetic, and surprisingly moving investigation of how intertwined our lives really are."

Directed by Serge Seiden, the U.S. premiere of The Golden Dragon features Deb Booth's set design, Michael Giannitti's lighting design, Helen Huang's costume design, and Evan Rogers's sound design. The cast includes Sarah Marshall, Joseph Anthony Foronda, Amir Darvish, KK Moggie and Chris Myers. The play runs November 2 – December 11, 2011. Studio Theatre is located at 1501 14th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20005. Phone: (202) 332-3300. V/TTY: 202-667-8436. Email:

Roland Schimmelpfennig is Germany’s most produced playwright. His plays have been translated into over 20 languages and performed in 40 countries. His plays include Hier und Jetzt (Here and Now), Die Frau von früher (The Woman from the Past), Vorher/Nachher (Before/Afterwards), Die arabische Nacht (The Arabian Night), Push up 1-3, Peggy Pickit sieht das Gesicht Gottes (Peggy Pickit Sees the Face of God), and Der goldene Drache (The Golden Dragon). His writing has won most of the prestigious prizes in Germany, including the 1997 Else-Lasker-Schüler-Preis for Fisch um Fisch (Fish for Fish), the Nestroy Prize for best young author in 2002, and the Nestroy Prize for the best play for Besuch bei dem Vater (Visit at the Father) in 2009. The Golden Dragon was awarded the Mühlheimer Dramatists Award and was chosen as Theater Heute’s Play of the Year. In 2010, Schimmelpfennig received the highest playwriting award in Germany, the Else-Lasker-Schüler-Prize, to honor his body of work.

Known for his surprising juxtapositions of lyricism and violence, as well as his breadth of storytelling techniques, Schimmelpfennig’s work shares recurrent themes of alienation and connection, desire and regret, along with the peculiar ways his language unfolds. Marked by a direct and almost clipped diction, his language can be both brutal and near-mythic by turns. His characters are frequently isolated from one another, but share a set of images and experiences that suggest a connection they rarely recognize, even when they’re literally sharing dreams.

London production of The Golden Dragon
David Tushingham, who has translated many of Schimmelpfennig’s work into English (including The Golden Dragon), links his language and thematic interests: “His work is always functioning on different levels at the same time. Structurally, you’ll have elements of a fairy tale and elements that are more realistic. But his language combines elements of contemporary life in a way that is quite elegant, both humorous and surprisingly serious at the same time.”

Both the German American Media Dialogue and the Studio Theatre production of The Golden Dragon are also part of Zeitgeist DC Contemporary Literature Series, a program dedicated to fostering cross-cultural experiences by bringing to the Washington, D.C. community the most interesting, serious-minded literary artists speaking about pressing contemporary issues. 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Randy Gener and Flemish director Ivo van Hove talk "Movies and Theater" at Brooklyn Academy of Music

BROOKLYN:  Randy Gener joins the internationally acclaimed Flemish director Ivo van Hove — whose work Cate Blanchett describes as "stunning, with a capital 'S' " — in a BAMtalk entitled "Movies and Theater."  The conversation takes places Wednesday, October 26, 2011 at 6:00 pm at BAM Rose Cinemas.

Gener's hour-long BAMtalk with Ivo van Hove is a featured event of the Brooklyn Academy of Music's U.S. premiere of Cries and Whispers by Ingmar Bergman.

Part of the 2011 BAM Next Wave Festival, Cries and Whispers performs October 25—29, 2011 at 7:30pm at BAM Harvey Theater.

Ivo van Hove

Performed in Dutch with English titles, Ivo van Hove's Cries and Whispers is a stage adaptation of the classic 1972 film by the late Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman. "To be able to work with Bergman’s complex evocation of human suffering and compassion is both a challenge and an honor,” van Hove says.

Performed by the members of Toneelgroep Amsterdam, where Van Hove is the artistic director, this production was made possible with the cooperation of Auteursrechtenbureau ALMO, in association with Josef Weinberger Ltd, London and the Ingmar Bergman Foundation. Toneelgroep Amsterdam's Cries and Whispers was first performed at the Ingmar Bergman International Theatre Festival 2009.

Nathan Award–winning editor and writer Randy Gener visited Sweden's Royal Dramatic Theater in Stockholm to attend the Ingmar Bergman International Theatre Festival. He was the first American critic to see and write about van Hove's production.

Here is an excerpt from Gener's critical essay on the work and career of Ivo van Hove, "A Passion for Extremes" — it was the cover story of the November 2009 edition of American Theatre magazine:
In his book Images: My Life in Film, Ingmar Bergman wrote: "All my films can be thought of in terms of black and white, except for Cries and Whispers. In the screenplay, I say that I have thought of the color red as the interior of the soul." Thanks to a close collaboration with the great cinematographer Sven Nykvist, Bergman saturated his emotionally charged 1972 film about the rapier masochism of sisterhood and family life with a striking color palette made almost exclusively of crimson, black and white (which the Swedish filmmaker associated with the themes of blood, religion and sexual repression).

A bleak yet hypnotic portrayal of pain and suffering,  Cries and Whispers takes place inside a tomb-like manor house at the turn of the century. Structured as a gliding series of memories, flashbacks, devastating confrontations and fleshy close-ups that fade out into deep reds, Bergman's story compels us to observe the frustrated lives and emotional horrors of four women. Agnes, a virginal spinster, is dying of cancer of the womb. Her two unhappily married sisters have come to attend her in her final agony. Callously, they watch and wait, along with Anna, a reliable maid, during the last two days of Agnes's life.
In van Hove, Bergman finds a perfect appositive. Turning away from the strong valences invoked by red, van Hove's Agnes slathers thick impastos of Yves Klein blue (or IKB, as it is known in art circles) on the glass partitions and white canvases that effortlessly slide in and out of Versweyvald's layered, open-space set—a sleek coalescence of video workshop, kitchen, living room and austere bedroom. 
Based on a few lines of description in Bergman's script ("She has vague artistic ambitions—dabbling in painting..." and "Agnes's painting is generously colorful and somewhat romantic. Her main subject is flowers"), van Hove re-conceives Agnes as a performance artist whose obsession with her video diaries substitutes for the human affection and sense of community she so desperately hungers for.
ingmar Bergman's Cries and Whispers | Photograph by Chris Nietvelt and Jan  Versweyveld
Van Hove's Cries and Whispers fuses uninhibited acting, chic-sterile stage design, contemporary attired, loud pop/hard-rock music and live-video footage to create an installation-style atmosphere. Except for replicating a sculptural pose of a dying Agnes that suggests a Pieta, van Hove's misc-en-scene does not imitate Bergman's softer film style. Van Hove's urgent production theatricalizes the jumbled phases of a mourning process. It moves and feels like a 19th-century allegory in a 21st-century hybrid-art form.
 And van Hove's version of Cries and Whispers is more heart-wrenching when it departs from Ingmar Bergman."

The Nathan Award–winning Randy Gener replaces MacArthur genius and Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks, whose name was originally advertised in the BAM Next Wave Festival brochure. ###

Ivo van Hove with Randy Gener

Part of the 2011 BAM Next Wave Festival
Ivo van Hove's staging of Ingmar Bergman's Cries and Whispers

Wed., Oct. 26, 2011 at 6pm

BAM Rose Cinemas
1 hr.
$10; $5 for Friends of BAM

U.S. Premiere

Part of the 2011 BAM Next Wave Festival

Oct. 25–29, 2011 at 7:30pm

U.S. Premiere

By Ingmar Bergman
Toneelgroep Amsterdam
Directed by Ivon van Hove

In Dutch with English titles
Scenography by Jan Versweyveld
Dramaturgy by Peter van Kraaij
Video design by Tal Yarden
Costume design by Wojciech Dziedzic
Sound design by Roeland Fernhout

In a sterile grey room, an artist lies dying. Her video diaries flicker on screens, offering consoling images of an ersatz immortality as her estranged sisters hover about, removed. Not a word has been uttered and already director Ivo van Hove (Opening Night, 2008 Next Wave) has transported us to a collective soul bound by the most tenuous compassion. On a stage transfigured by grief, gripping performances from Dutch repertory company Toneelgroep Amsterdam drive this modern adaptation of Ingmar Bergman’s unflinching 1972 film about the will to live and the astounding human capacity for empathy amid the debris of damaged life.
BAM Harvey Theater

Run time: 1hr 45min
Season tickets start at $17.50
Full price tickets start at $25

Toneelgroep Amsterdam / deSingel Antwerpen / Ingmar Bergman International Theatre Festival 2009

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Randy Gener leads "Advancing the Creativity of the Artist" panel in a two-day Africa arts symposium at Columbia University

NEW YORK CITY:  Randy Gener will serve as moderator and facilitator at a two-day symposium, Dialogues Across Culture: A Model for Building Enduring Partnerships, presented by MAPP International Productions and the Africa Contemporary Arts Consortium at Columbia University in New York City.

In the second day of the symposium (October 29), Gener will lead a public conversation, "Advancing the Creativity of the Artist," featuring Faustin Linyekula, artist from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Ralph Lemon, New York City–based artist. The conversation will take place at the Institute of African Studies at Columbia University, located at 606 West 122nd Street in New York City.

Dialogues Across Culture takes a step back to reflect on international cultural exchanges between the United States and Africa. Organized in partnership with the Museum for African Art, The Center for African Education at Teachers College and the Institute of African Studies, this free symposium will take place Friday, October 28 (7pm-9pm) and Saturday, October 29 (11am-4pm) at Columbia University. 

Faustin Linyekula and Papy Ebotani 
Dialogues Across Culture: A Model for Building Enduring Partnerships is designed to open up conversations around international cultural exchange; to share lessons learned through case studies; to introduce projects and artists with whom the Africa Contemporary Arts Consortium has partnered; and to promote and build understanding and connections between artists, organizations and public communities in the United States and on the African continent.

The activities of the symposium include informal performances by choreographers Faustin Linyekula from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Maria Helena Pinto from Mozambique. There will be presentations and discussions with members of the Africa Contemporary Arts Consortium, MAPP, the Museum of African Art and Columbia University faculty. 

Faustin Linyekula
Faustin Linyekula is a Congolese dancer and choreographer of contemporary dance. His works are structured along the lines of the dance form Ndombolo and its associated music and address "the legacy of war, terror, fear and the collapse of the economy for himself, his family and his friends." Linyekula has been part of a think tank with other African artists and intellectuals around the creation of an arts center near Cape Town, South Africa. The think tank resulted in the creation of the Africa Centre. Based in Kisangani, Linyekula heads the Studios Kabako whose local artistic initiatives embrace the fields of dance, theatre, music and video.

Ralph Lemon
Ralph Lemon is artistic director of Cross Performance, a company dedicated to the creation of cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary performance and presentations. Lemon's projects expand the definition of choreography by crossing and stretching the boundaries between Western, post-modern dance and other art forms and culture. In 2005, Lemon concluded The Geography Trilogy, a decade-long international research and performance project that spanned three continents as it explored race, history and memory. In 2010, Lemon curated I Get Lost, a performance and discussion series for Danspace Project, NYC.

Dialogues Across Culture has been generously supported by The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Culture.


Performance by Faustin Linyekula and Maria Helena Pinto
Friday, October 28, 2011 (7:00pm - 9:00pm)
Location: Milbank Chapel, Teachers College
Enter on 120th Street midway between Broadway and Amsterdam
Reception to follow
Free and open to the public; ID required
RSVP here:

Plenary session, interviews with artists, project presentations, 
discussions and focused conversations 

Saturday, October 29 (11am to 4pm)
Date: Saturday, October 29, 2011 Time: 11:00am - 4:00pm
Location: The Institute of African Studies, Columbia University, 606 West 122nd Street
Free and open to the public; ID required
RSVP here:

Investing in Curatorial Research
Dana Elmquist, Producer of Theater Programs at the Museum for African Art (NY)
Lisa Binder, Visual Art Curator, the Museum for African Art (NY)
Ken Foster, Executive Director, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco)

Advancing the Creativity of the Artist
Faustin Linyekula, Artist (Democratic Republic of Congo)
Ralph Lemon, Artist (NY)
Randy Gener, Critical Stages (NY)

Connecting Artists and Communities
Maria Helena Pinto, Artist (Mozambique)
Laura Faure, Director, Bates Dance Festival (Lewiston, ME)

Building and Sharing Knowledge
Zoe Strother, Professor of African Art at Columbia University (NY)
Ann-Marie Bouttiaux, Royal Museum for Central Africa (Brussels)
Joan Frosch, Director, World Arts 
Culture at University of Florida (Gainesville)

Admission for both days is free. Reservations required.  

For more information, contact Cathy Zimmerman at MAPP International Productions, 646-602-9390 or

To RSVP for the event, visit


The Africa Contemporary Arts Consortium is a landmark program founded in 2004 to initiate, develop and sustain a dynamic exchange of arts and ideas between artists, arts organizations and public communities throughout the U.S. and the African continent.  The Consortium is dedicated to working with African artists who are interpreting contemporary life through diverse modes of performance, with programs rooted in experiential opportunities that nurture conversation and exchange and allow organic connections to evolve.  Co-founded by MAPP International Productions and nine partner organizations, the Consortium has connected thousands of U.S. citizens-in 31 cities in 21 states-to 52 African artists from 15 different countries through performances and participatory activities.

MAPP International Productions is a nonprofit producing organization dedicated to developing functional and sustainable environments for artists to create, premiere and tour ambitious and compelling performing arts projects. MAPP provides support and opportunities for challenging artistic voices to be fully heard and engaged by bringing together arts, humanities and public dialogue. Envisioning artists as agents of change, MAPP advocates for vital artistic exchange across cultures and borders through sustained and evolving partnerships between artists, arts organizers, educational institutions, cultural organizations and public communities. Since 1994, MAPP has produced 30 acclaimed multidisciplinary projects, created and performed by nearly 300 artists; produced over 60 multi-city tours of U.S. artists and artists from 22 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Caribbean, taking productions and engagement activities to audiences in 42 U.S. states; and founded and led networks for international exchange with artists in Africa, the Caribbean, and Europe.

The Museum for African Art - a major center for African art and culture - has, since opening to the public in 1984, organized more than sixty exhibitions and produced engaging publications of the highest scholarly merit. Together, these and a broad range of public programs have illuminated Africa's rich artistic traditions and cultures. Today, as it prepares to move into its new home on Fifth Avenue at 110th Street in Manhattan, the Museum is expanding its agenda of exhibitions and educational activities.

The Institute of African Studies (IAS) is Columbia University's central forum and resource for African-centered academic research, program development, curriculum administration, student advisement, and local, national, and international dialogue and action on Africa. Founded in 1959, the IAS prepares generations of Africa practitioners for careers in development, diplomacy, business, governance, journalism, law, human rights, academic research, and teaching.

The Center for African Education promotes research and teaching about education, broadly defined, in Africa and the African Diaspora. Its central aim is to create a community of students, faculty, and staff with common interests and commitments to the fields of Education and African Studies through interdisciplinary study and discussion across Teachers College and Columbia University. The Center also promotes linkages with African universities by hosting visiting scholars, policy makers, practitioners, and activists who present different disciplinary and theoretical perspectives; and provides a forum for students to discuss their research and interests with African scholars, Africanist faculty, and colleagues at conferences, public lectures, and seminars