Under the artistic direction of the legendary Judith Malina, The Living Theatre will continue to produce its unique avant-garde political theatre in New York City. Additional performances of its current hit, HERE WE ARE, are set to play downtown's Clemente Soto Velez Cultural and Educational Center (107 Suffolk Street) in Manhattan, March 26-29 at 8pm.
Written and directed by Judith Malina, HERE WE ARE opened on January 23 to enthusiastic reviews, playing its final performance at 21 Clinton Street on February 23, marking the longest run for the company in one venue in New York City. Catherine Rampell, in her New York Times review, called HERE WE ARE "bizarre and whimsical and lyrical." She concluded that attending a production of The Living Theatre is an "essential New York experience." In his Back Stage review of HERE WE ARE, Jonathan Mandell described the production as "hugely engaging." He added, "Using the language of the avant-garde, HERE WE ARE has some substantive things to say. The Living Theatre, rightly labeled legendary, but still fresh, is worth catching."
The Living Theatre will no longer produce in its Clinton Street venue, which it opened in 2007 with a revival of Kenneth H. Brown's THE BRIG. As widely reported, Ms. Malina is taking up residence at the Actors Fund's Lillian Booth Actors Home in New Jersey. The vibrant 86-year-old avant-garde actress, director and writer -- who co-founded The Living Theater in 1947 as an imaginative alternative to commercial theater with Julian Beck -- will continue to lead the company with Associate Artistic Directors Brad Burgess and Tom Walker. The Living Theatre vigorously continues its ongoing research of innovative theatre forms involving audience participation and new methods of communication and social/political organization.
In HERE WE ARE, Malina has again redefined theatre's role in our lives with a production that changes and transcends the actual definition of what art can produce, and that art and life are far more connected than we have been willing to accept. As we enter 2013 the world has not ended, but it remains in disarray. HERE WE ARE asks: Where are we? How did we get here? What have we tried in the past that has mislead us? What are the new ideas for the new world? How can we achieve them together and put aside violence, without the fear of retribution? How can the theatre help us do this?
HERE WE ARE takes a look at how decisions are made and how we govern ourselves. It seeks to find better solutions to our problems. The ensemble and the audience work together to manufacture and perform the potential creative possibilities for a post-revolutionary world of beauty and non-violence. The play explores the inadequacy and inefficacy of the voting process, which is the core of our own poorly organized society -- and is largely responsible for why we do not live in the world we want.
The ensemble includes Leah Bachar, Sarah Braenne, Soraya Broukhim, Brad Burgess, Jay Dobkin, Eno Edet, Leonie Ettinger, John Paul Harkins, Thaddeus Harvey, Jen Emma Hertel, Dennis Yueh-Yeh Li, K'Sandra Nova, Mary Round, Tom Walker, and Fabian Zarta.
HERE WE ARE includes set design by Nicholas Benacerraf; lighting design by Simon Harding; and music composition by David Personne. Assistant Director is Nathan Shreeve.
Additional events presented by The Living Theatre at Clemente Soto Velez Cultural and Educational Center are to be announced.
Ms. Malina was born in 1926 in Kiel, Germany, and is the daughter of Rabbi Max Malina, one of the founders of the German Jewish Congregation in New York City. In 1947, after studying acting and directing at the Dramatic Workshop at the New School with Erwin Piscator, she and Julian Beck co-founded The Living Theatre as an artistic challenge to the commercial theater, producing nearly 100 production including THE CONNECTION, THE BRIG, FRANKENSTEIN, ANTIGONE, PARADISE NOW, SEVEN MEDITATIONS ON POLITICAL SADO-MASOCHISM, I AND I, RESISTENZA and KORACH, and last year's HISTORY OF THE WORLD. Her literary output includes the plays PARADISE NOW, MYSTERIES AND SMALLER PIECES and THE LEGACY OF CAIN; collections of her diaries including "The Diaries of Judith Malina 1947-1957" and "The Enormous Despair"; and two books of poetry, "Poems of a Wandering Jewess" and "Love and Politics." As an actress, she has appeared in films including "Dog Day Afternoon," "China Girl," "The Addams Family," "Household Saints," "Enemies: A Love Story," "The Deli," and "Nothing Ever Happens"; and television series including "ER," "Miami Vice," "The Street" and "The Sopranos."