Written and directed by Ogawa, the world-premiere production, co-produced with Ogawa's company knife, inc., is presented as part of HERE's 2007-08 season of new multi-disciplinary productions spanning theatre, dance, puppetry and multimedia works. (During its downtime, HERE presented at borrowed space in recent months.)
oph3lia will run to July 2 at HERE, 145 Sixth Avenue. Official opening is June 14.
According to production notes, "Dreams and reality converge in oph3lia, as Shakespeare's Hamlet inspires a haunting collision of cultures. Ogawa's original script explores different facets of Ophelia in contemporary contexts, interweaving three distinct stories that center on themes of isolation and disconnection.
"An immigrant woman embarks on a mysterious journey through New York where she discovers that she can go through life without ever uttering a word. In a Christian international school in China, where the students have formed their own hierarchies within the school walls, the arrival of a new teacher and a transfer student sends the fragile microcosm spinning. Cultures clash in a theatre producer's office: in the maddening mix of languages in the world of entertainment production, compromises of artistic integrity punctuate the struggle in the creation of 'art,' and the interpreter bears the brunt.
"In juxtaposing these three stories of disjunction and detachment, oph3lia poses a surprising and theatrical inquisition tied to identity, womanhood and culture. oph3lia is a multi-lingual, multi-disciplinary production developed through a collaborative process with a culturally diverse cast of 13 performers from Japan, The Philippines, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. This piece incorporates video, music, live singing, and choreography." oph3lia features performances by Laura Butler, Drae Campbell, Dawn Eshelman, Constance Hall, Ikuko Ikari, Hana Kalinski, Eunjee Lee, Mark Lindberg, Jy Murphy, Alanna Medlock, Jorge Alberto Rubio, Magin Schantz and Maureen Sebastian, with set and costume design by Clint Ramos, lighting and video design by Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew, sound design by Rich Kim and original music by composer Andy Gillis.
Writer-director Aya Ogawa was born in Tokyo, raised in the U.S. and is now based in Brooklyn. She holds a bachelors degree in theatre arts from Columbia University and has worked for over 14 years as a writer, performer, director and translator. From 1997-2003 she was associate artistic director of the International WOW company, performing, writing and directing several works with the company. Since 2003 Ogawa has created several independent projects, of which oph3lia is her first full production. Ogawa's play Serendipity was a winner at the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival and a finalist at Humana Festival at the Actors Theater of Louisville. In 1999 her play Eating Dirt was produced at SoHo Rep, and she later directed it for Theaters Against War at HERE in 2003.
In 2005 she directed her play pictures of the Drowned at New York Theatre Workshop's Fourth Street Theater. In 2005 Ogawa formed a performance company called knife, inc. The company "creates time-based works that explore the multiplicity of experience of living in an international context."
The oph3lia performance schedule is Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30 PM with additional performances on Sunday, June 22 at 3 PM and Monday, June 30 through Wednesday, July 2 at 7:30 PM. Tickets are $18, $15 for students. Ticket purchases can be made online at www.here.org, by calling (212) 352-3101 or at the HERE box office (4 PM until curtain on show days). For more information visit www.here.org.
Since 1993, the Obie-winning HERE Arts Center has been a leader in the field of new, hybrid performance work. Under leadership of founding artistic director Kristin Marting and producing director Kim Whitener, HERE has served over 12,100 emerging to mid-career artists developing work that does not fit a conventional programming agenda. Work presented at HERE has garnered 11 Obie awards, an Obie grant for artistic achievement, three Drama Desk nominations, two Berrilla Kerr Awards, two NY Innovative Theatre Awards, an Edwin Booth Award and a Pulitzer Prize nomination. "HERE proudly supports artists at all stages in their careers through full productions, artist residency programs, festivals and subsidized performance and rehearsal space." Work at HERE is curated based on the strength and uniqueness of the artist's vision. HERE's Artist Residency Program (HARP) provides development, commissions and full production for up to 20 artists over one-to-three years.
In 2005, with the support of the FJC, a foundation of donor advised funds, Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and the City of New York, HERE Arts Center purchased its long-time home as part of a five-year "Secure HERE's Future" campaign. "As the full-scale renovations to the space wrap this June, thanks to generous support from the City of New York, HERE is poised to continue and expand its role as a downtown haven for the finest emerging art."
HERE features a new and improved café/gallery and two state-of-the-art performance spaces.