Dutch Version of Angels in America Plus Musical Inspired by WikiLeaks to Play BAM

By Carey Purcell
28 May 2014

Works by Samuel Beckett, James Joyce and Rufus Wainwright, as well as a new piece of theatre inspired by Chelsea Manning and WikiLeaks, will be featured in Brooklyn Academy of Music's 2014 Next Wave Festival.



The festival, which runs Sept. 9-Dec. 20, will feature 30 theatre, music, dance and film productions plus 13 concert engagements honoring Nonesuch Records. The productions will be housed in BAM's three venues: the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, the BAM Harvey Theater and the BAM Fisher.

"The 2014 Next Wave Festival offers outstanding global artistry presented in a wide variety of forms," BAM executive producer Joseph V. Melillo said in a statement. "We are proud to feature seven world premiere productions this season and to include BAM commissions of new work by Gabriel Kahane, Vijay Iyer, the Andy Warhol Museum and Dean Wareham, Ivy Baldwin, Big Dance Theater, and a co-commission of Bryce Dessner with our partners2 Brooklyn Youth Chorus. We are also thrilled to celebrate 50th anniversaries with our colleagues at Nonesuch Records and with Meredith Monk."

"We are extremely grateful to Time Warner for its sponsorship of the 2014 Next Wave Festival," BAM president Karen Brooks Hopkins added. "Time Warner has generously supported a wide variety of BAM's artistic programming to date and we appreciate and recognize its longstanding commitment to our mission. I am especially proud that this edition of the Next Wave is truly a salute to both longstanding iconic artists who are closely aligned with BAM as well as new discoveries from around the world who will be introduced to fabulous BAM audiences for the first time."

Scheduled productions include the U.S. premiere of a Dutch version of Tony Kushner's Angels in America. Directed by Ivo van Hove, performances will run Oct 23-25 at the Howard Gilman Opera House.

Embers, by Samuel Beckett, will play the Harvey Theater Sept. 17–20. Here's how the production is billed: "Embers is a theatricalized presentation of an early radio play by the legendary absurdist, Samuel Beckett staged by the groundbreaking Pan Pan Theatre Company. First broadcast in 1959, the play opens with Henry, sitting on a beach remembering and imagining stories and incidents from his life. Tormented by his father's suicide, his own dysfunctional marriage and family, and his failure as a writer, his attempts to find salvation falter. His 3 recollections and reality merge into a murky maze, where ever-shifting mental leaps, ruminations, ambiguities and unfinished memories — real and fictional — coalesce."

The U.S. premiere of riverrun, adapted, directed and performed by Olwen Fouéré, will be presented Sept. 17-20 in conjunction with the free event "On Truth (and Lies) in Joyce," which will be held Sept. 19. 

"The magnetic Irish actor Olwen Fouéré's performance of riverrun, inspired by the voice of the river in James Joyce's 'Finnegans Wake,' comes to BAM after holding audiences in thrall throughout Ireland and at London's National Theatre," press notes state. "The intimate Fishman Space is the ideal setting in which to experience this critically heralded tour-de-force performance. Fouéré — who spent two years on the adaptation — also co-directed the production."

ABACUS, which is described as "a work that lands somewhere between theater, performance art, and hi-tech TED talk," will be presented Sept. 24-27. Created by Early Morning Opera and written and directed by Lars Jan, the production will play BAM Fisher.

Robert Wilson's Shakespeare's Sonnets, a contemporary take on 25 specially-chosen sonnets from Shakespeare's cannon, will set the poems against a score composed by Rufus Wainwright and performed by Bertolt Brecht's Berliner Ensemble.

"For this production, Wilson embraces the prevalence of subversive gender conventions embedded in Shakespeare's 154 sonnets which move fluidly between male and female objects of desire," press notes state. "Several quintessential characters make an appearance; from boy to fool, from Cupid to the mysterious Dark Lady, from the Queen of England to Shakespeare himself. Wilson's signature sculpting of time, light, and gesture combined with Wainwright's romantic, sensitive, and at times disturbingly dark score transports audiences to a dreamlike place suspended in time."

Samuel Beckett's Not I, Footfalls, Rockaby, three one-woman plays, will play the Harvey Theater Oct. 7-11. Presented in association with Irish Arts Center, the production will be directed by Walter Asmus.

The music-theatre work The Source, inspired by Chelsea Manning's release of government documents to WikiLeaks, will play BAM Fisher Oct. 22-25. The work is composed by Ted Hearne, with a libretto by Mark Doten.

Here's how the production is billed: "Her role in the leaks unfurled when she started text messaging with Adrian Lamo, a computer hacker. Their exchange is the basis of The Source, a music- theater work written by composer Ted Hearne and librettist Mark Doten. Four singers, whose voices are electronically processed to portray different characters, perform alongside a live band. They inhabit a fever-dream world of Twitter feeds, news reports, chat transcripts, court testimony, and declassified military video, asking how we, as individuals and a nation, confront the massive information which Manning brought to light."

Subscriptions and single tickets to BAM Fisher presentations go on sale June 16 to Friends of BAM and June 23 to the general public. Single tickets for all other Next Wave engagements go on sale Aug. 11 for Friends of BAM and Aug. 18 to the general public.

To purchase tickets or obtain a complete schedule and more information, visit BAM.org or contact BAM Ticket Services at (718) 636-4100.