GAle GAtes et al, the Brooklyn-based avant-garde troupe headed by Michael Counts, has extended its latest work, So Long Ago I Can't Remember—a divine comedy, until June 30. The show began on April 11 at its DUMBO space near the Manhattan Bridge.
As the title might suggest, director Counts has drawn the new play from Dante's "Divine Comedy." The piece will take full advantage of the theatre's 40,000-square-foot performance space/gallery, sending audience members journeying, much like Dante himself, through 13 actor inhabited installations, including interpretations of Dante's forest, the nine circles of Hell, Purgatory and Paradise. The set-up is akin to Counts' previous work, Field of Mars, which also kept the viewer mobile. Intervening stage projects, including Tilly Losch (1999) and 1839 (2000) boasted a more conventional set-up (if that term can be applied to GAle GAtes et al), with theatregoers seated in stationary chairs.
The text, by Kevin Oakes, employs several languages. Ken Roht is the choreographer and Joseph Diebes composed an original score, while Monica Kilkus and Manju Shandler provide the costumes. Viewers should expect spacially expansive vistas, surrealistic landscapes, sophisticated lighting and sound design and extravagant costuming.
Past Counts works have typically drawn on disparate literary and artistic source matter. Tilly Losch, for instance, heavily referenced artists Joseph Cornell and Andrew Wyeth and the movie "Casablanca." The company was founded in 1995. Past plays include 90 Degrees , an installation (a piece of art creating an environment) containing half a million stalks of marsh grass that filled 65,000 square feet; 1997's Wine-Blue-Open Water , an adaptation of Homer's "The Odyssey," with text by playwright Ruth Margraff; and Gertrude Stein's Yes Is For a Very Young Man.
Tickets are $20. GAles GAtes et al is located at 37 Main Street in Brooklyn. For tickets or more information, call (718) 522-4597. —By Robert Simonson