La MaMa Experimental Theater Club will present a 2021–2022 season focusing on diverse experiences, with an indigenous take on A Midsummer’s Night Dream, a piece that examines the Tulsa Race Massacre, and the NYC premiere of coming-of-age queer tale The Drag Seed.
In addition, the Off-Broadway institution will reopen its original home at 74A East 4th Street after a three-year, $24 million renovation. A separate slate of programming for the venue will be revealed shortly, with the following shows taking place at La MaMa’s other venues.
“In this past year, we’ve been examining how our existing systems and structures function,” says La MaMa Artistic Director Mia Yoo. “Who has the power? What is our human obligation and responsibility? Do we need new rituals to bring us together? As we re-imagine new ways forward, the artist’s voice must be part of the change that is so necessary. How can La MaMa create more impact and access around the incredible work that is being generated in this moment? This is our major focus at La MaMa.”
The season begins at the Ellen Stewart Theatre (66 East 4th Street) with the biannual Puppet Series (September 27–October 4), featuring contemporary works by Loco 7 Dance Theatre Company, Tom Lee, Lady Xok, and Kevin Augustine.
The new year will see the world premieres of Talvin Wilks and Baba Israel’s history of marijuana Cannabis: A Viper Vaudeville (January 6–16, 2022) and Martha Clarke’s God’s Fool (January 20–February 10), a take on the story of St. Francis of Assisi. Next, puppet creator Theodora Skipitares presents A Grand Panorama (February 14–March 6), a look at Frederick Douglas and his love of art.
Then, a cast of 20 Indigenous performers from Spiderwoman Theater star in Misdemeanor Dream (March 3–20), a Native American adaptation of Shakespear’s comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Muriel Miguel directs. Following that is Balkan Bordello (March 31–April 10), from Qendra Multimedia and La MaMa’s Great Jones Repertory Company.
After its debut in Chicago, David Cerda’s The Drag Seed (March 31–April 10) premieres in NYC with a performance by Hell in a Handbag and direction by Cheryl Snodgrass. The work follows an 11-year-old who is determined to become the next drag superstar.
Rounding out the season is the the annual La MaMa Moves (April 11–May 1) at all venues and the previously announced Elizabeth Swados’ The Beautiful Lady (May 12–June 5) at the Ellen Stewart. Anne Bogart directs the latter.
Over at the Downstairs Theatre (also at 66 E. 4th Street), things kick off with A Few Deep Breaths (October 27–30), a compilation of work by Haruna Lee, Chuck Mee, Adrienne Kennedy, Robert Patrick, Eric Ehn, Huntrezz Janos, and Christopher Rivas.
Up next is Timothy White Eagle’s The Indigo Room (November 11–21), which follows with an immersive, new work that considers life anew after the isolation of the pandemic. Then, James E. Reynolds’s History/Our Story: The Trail to Tulsa (December 9–12) will combine several art forms to explore one of the darkest chapters in American history.
In Cage Shuffle: A Digital Duet (February 13–27), Paul Lazar speaks a series of one-minute stories from the score of Indeterminacy, while simultaneously performing choreography by Annie-B Parson.
Then, Kara Feely directs Look Out Sh^!head, Episode 3 (January 27–February 6) by Object Collection. The work is composed by Travis Just, based on French director Eric Rohmer’s 1980s film cycle Comedies et Proverbes.
Written by Ellen Maddow and directed by Paul Zimet, Lemon Girls or Art for the Artless (March 10–27) is a comedic celebration of older women. The cast includes Michael Lynch Ellen Maddow, Lizzie Olesker, Tina Shepard, Louise Smith, and Jack Wetherall.
For more information, visit LaMaMa.org.