To celebrate its 25th anniversary as a theatre/dance troupe, Otrabanda will present its latest piece at La MaMa E.T.C., which is currently enjoying its own 35th anniversary. Balaganchik ("The Fairground Booth") adapts and reinterprets Vsevolod Meyerhold's 1906 avant-garde work to incorporate new staging, choreography and use of music.
Meyerhold's dynamic staging of the piece, which concerns a love triangle for Pierrot, Harlequin and Columbine, continues to inspire contemporary experimental theatre artists.
Roger Babb and Rocky Bornstein direct and choreograph this production, which boasts a set by Ralph Lee, costumes by Gabriel Berry and lighting by Howard Thies. Neal Kirkwood composed the music; Michael Green provides the English translation. This is an expanded version of the production that played at La MaMa in spring 1996.
Performing in Balaganchik are Babb, Mary Shultz (Slavs! Off Broadway), Dan Hurlin (A Cool Million), Jennifer Miller (artistic director of Circus Amok and "a real life woman with a beard"), Nancy Alfaro (Faux Blonde Fiesta), Lenard Petit (with Otrabanda since 1978) and Tim Cummings (Distortion Taco at P.S. 122.
Otrabanda Company was founded on the island of Curacao in the Netherland Antilles. For ten years they traveled down the Mississippi and performed in small town tents. In New York, they've worked with such artists as Ping Chong, Julie Taymor, Anne Bogart and Joseph Chaikin. Their mission is to blur the distinction between theatre and dance, while incorporating elements from music and the visual arts. Previous works by the company include the Obie-winning No Plays, No Poetry... and Brain Cafe. For tickets ($15) and information on Otrabanda's Balaganchik at La MaMa on East 4th St., Jan. 2-12, call (212) 475-7710.
--By David Lefkowitz