HARP

(HERE Artist Residency Program)

American Weather Chris Green

Show Description

American Weather is a new work of material theater directed and composed by Chris Green about five disparate individuals working in the shadows of the American empire as it crosses over its apex. Using ready-mades, figurative puppets, live projections, customized technologies, spoken text, and original music for brass and voice, five multi-disciplinary performers will visualize and embody the weather-like American condition through overlapping, surreal sub-plots that together come to form an overall arc. The aesthetic of material theater (a form of puppetry where any type of object or natural matter can become animated) provides a persistent allusion to American materialism. Although scenes and images may address themes that are political by nature, the piece is not designed to promote a set of political opinions about America. Rather, American Weather investigates a growing national ambiguity, and our increasing need as Americans to become comfortable with it.

American Weather includes puppeteers / dancers Yoko Myoi, Kirsten Kammermeyer, Erin K. Orr, Quince Marcum, and musician Yasmin Reshamwala. The piece will be developed in ensemble over the next two years through HERE’s Resident Artist and Dream Music Puppetry Programs for a premiere at HERE in New York City. During the next two years, American Weather will engage the public in the following ways:  1) Excerpt showings will be followed by talk-backs and charrettes (design intensives), wherein audiences collaborate to help build new ideas; and 2) Street-level conversations around the ‘neutral’ topic of the weather will be casually initiated by the ensemble, and the unpredictable results of these encounters will be woven into the piece’s text. The goal of these efforts is to engage the American public both during and after development of the piece and invite them to more closely examine how we, as citizens, are writing and also interpreting the American narrative.

Main image of exploratory workshop by Richard Termine, headshot by Erin K. Orr

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Artist Bio

Chris Green (Director, Composer) is a Brooklyn-based designer, composer, and director.  His theatrical, sound, and installation works have been presented over the past 18 years in venues including Lincoln Center, New York City Center, St. Ann’s Warehouse, National Geographic Museum, Teatro del Lago (Chile) and La Jolla Playhouse, among others. Chris Green Kinetics has received awards from the American Association of Museums, TEA, and AIA.  Honors include Creative Capital (2009), MacDowell Fellowship (2012), and LMCC Process Space residency (2013). American Weather is supported with grants from the Jim Henson Foundation.

Erin Orr (Dramaturg) is an experimental visual storyteller. Original work includes Savage Nursery (with Sxip Shirey); It's A Bee, Honey, (with Baby Dee), Don Cristóbal, Billy-Club Man(Abrons Art Center), and The Brothers Booth (The Player’s Club) with Cynthia Von Buhler.  Current commissions include Ziegfeld’s Midnight Frolic (Liberty Theater).

Kirsten Kammermeyer (Performer) received her BA in Theatre Arts from San Francisco State University. She has performed with Basil Twist in Behind the Lid (2007), Petrushka (2008-12), and Arias with a Twist (2008-13); Chris Green’s Firebird (2012/13/15), and Erin Orr / Rima Fand‘s Don CristobalBilly Club Man (2012), among others. Currently, Kirsten is attending the NYU Steinhardt School of Education, pursuing her graduate degree in Educational Theater.

Yoko Myoi (Performer) is a puppeteer, and dancer.  Performance credits include: Brian Rogers (re-develop death valley; 2 Husbands) Dan Hurlin (Hiroshima Maiden) Tom Lee (Ko’Olau), Lake Simons (White Elephant), Chris Green / David Neumann (Firebird, Lincoln Center and New York City Center). 

Quince Marcum (Performer) is an actor and writer, known for Shortbus (2006), Bedford (2004) and All Roads Lead (2013).

Yasmin Reshamwala (Musician) is a Brooklyn-based art director and props stylist, and musician with collaborators including Kate Spade, Wonderland Magazine, Matthew Barney, Dash 7 Design, and Swoon. 

Artist Statement

American Weather began when I overheard a man say, “This country has lost its narrative.” I wanted to illustrate this state of fractured or lost narrative on stage, knowing that it would resonate across a wide political spectrum. It occurred to me that talking with Americans about the weather, a once innocuous topic, can these days slip quickly sideways into environmental concerns, religious feelings, violent thoughts, or conspiracy theories. As an ensemble, we want to ask: if America has lost its narrative, what kinds of new, home-made narratives are filling the void? The resulting personal anecdotes, endemic clichés, and contemporary narrative fragments pulled from our discussions and encounters with the public will then be curated and interpreted into stage pictures that are designed to skirt the boundary between what is literally strange, but emotionally familiar. The relationship between humans and materiality will be an ever-present dynamic as performers navigate seamlessly between roles as puppeteers, dancers, and actors. Stylistically, the guiding concept is about changeability, permutations, and protean performance. For example, a rhythmic scene with five disparate but multi-dimensional characters moving in unison may transition into a scene where the performers, now in shadow, move miniature sets to the sound of empty space. Qualities of movement are choreographed dramaturgically as well as structured improvisationally. Humor and absurdity will provide our root notes as we plot connections between the parts of American life that appear ridiculous and mundane but that may, in fact, outlive America itself to become part of the world’s canon of great mythology.

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