Ernest Abuba to be King of La MaMa's Lier Rex, Sept. 24-Oct. 11

News   Ernest Abuba to be King of La MaMa's Lier Rex, Sept. 24-Oct. 11 Obie-winning actor Ernest Abuba stars in Lier Rex, a multimedia adaptation of King Lear, Sept. 24 - Oct. 11, at New York's La MaMa ETC.
Ernest Abuba (center) is King Lier.
Ernest Abuba (center) is King Lier. Photo by Photo by Tom Colbath

Obie-winning actor Ernest Abuba stars in Lier Rex, a multimedia adaptation of King Lear, Sept. 24 - Oct. 11, at New York's La MaMa ETC.

Abuba based his adaptation on the notion that in Elizabethan times, both solar and lunar eclipses were interpreted to predict the fall of a kingdom -- giving new weight to Gloucester's prediction of a holocaust in the first part of the play. Adding, what Abuba feels, is a common feeling of fatalism for the new millennium, Lier is set in a fascist society of the present (or future), where the reign of this King could create a contemporary holocaust.

To additionally emphasize the setting, Lier Rex features the dark music and choreography of Butoh, Flamenco and African music and movement, in a collaboration with Great Jones Rep member Shigeko Suga.

As well as being an accomplished stage actor (Pacific Overtures, Shogun Macbeth, Loose Ends), Abuba may be familiar to audiences from his starring roles in the films "12 Monkeys" and "The King of New York," as well as numerous television appearances. In 1983 Abuba received an Obie Award for his performance in Yellow Fever.

* In other La MaMa news, their Annex Theatre on E. 4th Street in the East Village reopened Sept. 17 after a year long renovation. The $3 million redo includes new heating and air conditioning and an elevator to bring the building up to the standards of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Construction began in 1997. In addition to the above improvements, the renovation succeeded in preserving the theatre's wooden structures, tin siding and tin ceilings. The architect on the project was The Edelman Partnership.

La MaMa moved into the Annex Theatre in 1974. In the late 19th century, the building was used as a Yiddish theatre, then a venue for Italian theatre. During the 1950's and 1960's, it was the soundstage for the television program "The Naked City."

Currently playing in the Annex is Ping Chong & Company's Kwaidan, a piece of puppet theatre based on three Japanese ghost stories translated at the turn of the century by American journalist Lafcadio Hearn. The critically acclaimed show, featured in the Jim Henson Puppet Festvial, runs through Sept. 26.

Ernest Abuba's Lier Rex opens Sept. 24 at La MaMa's Annex Theatre in New York and plays through Oct. 11. For tickets ($12) or more information call (212) 475 7710.

-- By Sean McGrath and Robert Simonson

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