The Brooklyn Academy of Music’s 2016 Next Wave Festival continues with Mikhail Baryshnikov and Robert Wilson’s Letter to a Man, making its American debut. The theatrical work is based on the famous diary of early 20th century Russian dancer and choreographer Vaslav Nijinsky, who documented his own descent into schizophrenia.
Letter to a Man provides a glimpse into the celebrated dancer’s past, his profound love of the art, his struggles with sanity and sexuality, and his spiritual doubts. Co-created by Wilson and dancer/choreographer Baryshnikov, who also stars in the piece, Letter to a Man features an original score by Hal Willner weaving audio fragments of the diary with additional music by Tom Waits, Arvo Pärt, Henry Mancini, and futurist composer Alexander Mosolov.
Performances began October 15 and continue through October 30 in the BAM Harvey Theater, located at 651 Fulton Street, Brooklyn.
“Baryshnikov steps inside the splintering psyche of one of the greatest dancers in history in director Robert Wilson’s staging of Vaslav Nijinsky’s diaries,“ read BAM production notes. “The text chronicles the onset of the iconic Russian performer’s schizophrenia in 1919, tracing the contours of his profound isolation, tormented sexuality and spirituality, and preoccupation with erstwhile lover and Ballets Russes founder Sergei Diaghilev.“
The production features text by Christian Dumais-Lvowski; dramaturgy by Darryl Pinckney; costumes by Jacques Reynaud; collaboration to movements and spoken text by Lucinda Childs; lighting design by A.J. Weissbard; associate set design by Annick Lavallée-Benny; sound design by Nick Sagar and Ella Wahlström; and video design by Tomek Jeziorski.
BAM’s Next Wave Festival kicked off September 7 and runs through December 18. The line-up features a mix of theatre, dance, music, opera, film, and visual arts events from around the U.S. and the world. For the full line-up and to purchase tickets, visit BAM.org or contact BAM Ticket Services at (718) 636-4100.