2000 marks two important anniversaries for followers and creators of avant garde and Off-Off-Broadway theatre. New York City's experimental theatre company, Mabou Mines, turns thirty alongside the twentieth birthday for hot spot performance space P.S. 122.
The two celebrate together by presenting an encore engagement of Las Horas de Belen - A Book of Hours March 9-26 at P.S. 122. Mabou Mines founding member and co-artistic director Ruth Maleczech directs.
Las Horas traces the history of Mexico's Belen, first created in 1683 as a Roman Catholic sanctuary for single, native women, where they were forced to stay until they died once they entered. By the 19th century, it had degenerated from a place of harsh, regimented living to the most infamous and dangerous prison in Mexico City. Told bilingually, Las Horas features the poetry of American writer Catherine Sasanov, the songs of Liliana Felipe and a silent movement piece by Mexican performance artist Jesusa Rodriquez, who embodies the modern woman, imprisoned by her routines of ironing, shopping, cooking, dancing, sleeping and fighting.
This piece debuted in March 1999 at Mexico City's Festival del Centro Historico, coming to New York City May 1999. Following this run, Las Horas will travel on to California State University, North Ridge March 30-31 and then on to La Capilla, New Mexico and the New World Festival in Amherst, Massachusetts.
Mabou Mines was founded in 1970, by JoAnne Akalaitis, Lee Breuer, Philip Glass, Maleczech and David Warrilow and named after a small town on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, where the group had gone to work on The Red Horse Animation. Though a collective, many of their early pieces were written and directed by Breuer, including his Animation Trilogy: The Red Horse Animation, The Shaggy Dog Animation, and B. Beaver Animation. The group also worked on many Beckett pieces, included adapting some of his prose pieces to the theatre (The Lost Ones). The company's 30th anniversary celebration continues with its production of Terry O'Reilly's Animal Magnetism at The Church at St. Anne's in Brooklyn. Breuer directs with an original score by Eve Beglarian.
Tickets are $30. P.S. 122 is located at 150 First Avenue. For more information and reservations, call (212) 477-5288. P.S. 122 is on the web at http://www.ps122.org.
-- By Christine Ehren