The Brooklyn Academy of Music kicks off its 2019 Next Wave festival with an all-new interpretation of Swan Lake from one of Ireland’s most imaginative theatremakers, Michael Keegan-Dolan. With his company Teac Damsa, Swan Lake/Loch na hEala transports audiences to a magical realist otherworld of light and dark, ecstasy and catharsis, pain and reconciliation.
The 2019 Next Wave, the first under the leadership of new Artistic Director David Binder, spans theatre, dance, and film, staged in BAM's various venues and spaces through December.
Theatre highlights from the festival include Nat Randall and Anna Breckon’s 24-hour The Second Woman starring Arrested Development's Ali Shawkat. The actor will perform the same scene—inspired by John Cassavetes’ 1977 film Opening Night—100 times (with 100 different scene partners) over the course of 24 hours. The show begins October 18 in BAM's Fisherman Space at 5 PM, running continuously through October 19 at 5 PM.
Also in October, Brazilian writer and film and stage director Christiane Jatahy takes on Chekhov’s Three Sisters in a theatre and film mash-up that will simultaneously take place in BAM's Fisher performance space and BAM's Rose Cinemas. Titled What if They Went to Moscow?, the multi-disciplinary show transplants the play to contemporary Rio. At each performance the play is enacted twice, while the audience (divided into two alternating groups) sees it in two different forms: once as a theatre piece, the other as a movie edited in real time by Jatahy. Performances will run October 23–26.
Beginning October 30, the BAM Fisher will welcome Irish theatre group Dead Centre with its production of Hamnet, a new play examining the historical connection between Shakespeare's Hamlet and a real-life 11-year-old boy named Hamnet who died in the U.K. in 1596. Eleven-year-old actor actor Aran Murphy embodies both Hamnet and Hamlet, but also a contemporary tween addicted to his hoodies and iPhone. The run, presented with the Irish Arts Center, continues through November 2.
Also in October, U.K. artist Selina Thompson (whose play Salt was recently seen at London's Royal Court) takes over the Natman Room in BAM's Peter Jay Sharp Building with her installation, Race Cards, comprising 1000 questions about race transcribed onto note cards. An evolving archive and research project, Race Cards asks visitors to face their own beliefs, hopes, and prejudices—all in an atmosphere of calm and contemplation. The show will run October 29–November 10.
In November, BAM goes off-site and site-specific with User Not Found, a new production from London's Dante or Die theatre group. Written by Chris Goode, the immersive play explores what happens to our digital identities after we die. The show supplies audience members with a smartphone and headphones, allowing each participant access to the protagonist’s own private phone experience. Performances will run November 6–16.
Beginning November 14, BAM celebrates French author Édouard Louis with a production of The End of Eddy (his internationally acclaimed autobiographical novel written when he was just 21). The writer will also appear in a talk on November 11, discussing classism, homophobia, and racism as observed in his books.
In December, London's National Theatre and Leeds Playhouse team up with Fuel to present the Off-Broadway premiere of the critically acclaimed Barber Shop Chronicles. Inspired by Nigerian-born playwright Inua Ellams’ own experiences as an immigrant, the play follows the conversations and concerns of a group of African men as they interact in six different barber shops in London, Lagos, Johannesburg, Accra, Kampala, and Harare. Performances will run December 3–7 in the BAM Harvey Theater.
For the complete Next Wave lineup visit BAM.org/programs/2019/next-wave.