Mabou Mines Presents World Premiere Of Lee Breuer’s ‘Ecco Porco’ At P.S. 122, January 3-27
A Poignant Tale Of A Persecuted Pig, Who Reveals Much About People
Breuer’s “La Divina Caricatura” to Be Published By Sun & Moon Press, January 3
Poor Porco! Gonzo Porco, Ph.D., the loveable, swinish subject of Mabou Mines’ “Ecco Porco,” which premieres at P.S. 122 January 3 (through January 27), has been cruelly indicted for an unspecified crime. His future may even be worse.
Written and directed by Mabou Mines co-founder and director Lee Breuer and starring two of Mabou Mines’ most beloved actors—Frederick Neumann and Ruth Maleczech— the production traces Porco, a true Kafka victim, as he seeks support at Animations Anonymous, where his peers, including Rose The Dog and Sri Moo The Guru Cow (both of “Epidog” fame), are alternately sympathetic and prying regarding Porco’s unnamed crime.
In its rambunctious spirit, philosophy, technical wizardry, wit and superb casting, “Porco” is absolutely Mabou Mines, exemplifying the company’s 30 year mission to bridge the gap between theater and anything and everything: Religion, politics, sociology, biology, anthropology, physics, music, mime, camp, poetry and The Simpsons.
Fast and full of innuendo, “Ecco Porco” takes audiences on a Fellini-esque roller coaster ride through high and low pop culture during which Breuer provides glimpsing references to the 1950’s KGB trial of Meyerhold and the character of Marge Simpson, before swerving back to Dante’s Purgatorio, with a right hand turn into Orson Welles’s Hollywood, and beyond. Calling on a witty range of theatrical strategies—from American cartoons to Bunraku puppetry—“Ecco Porco” is a continuation of Breuer’s Animations series, which began with “The Red Horse Animation”—Mabou Mines’ first production—in 1970.
In addition to Ruth Maleczech, who plays Sri Moo Parahamsa and the voice of Rose, and Frederick Neumann in the role of Porco, the production features Karen Kandel, Terry O’Reilly, Clove Galilee, Judson Wright, Honora Fergusson, Gita Srinivasan, Maude Mitchell and Arya Shirazi. Carol Binion, Barbara Pollitt, Sarah Provost, Cathy Shaw, and Jen Wineman are the puppeteers. The original score is by Bob Telson and Eve Beglarian.
Performances of “Ecco Porco” at P.S. 122, January 3-27, take place Wednesday through Sunday evenings at 7pm. All tickets are $25, and are available by calling 212-477-5288. P.S. 122 is located at 150 First Avenue at the corner of East 9th Street in New York City.
Critics, please note that the show is open for review beginning with the January 5 performance.
One of the most distinguished and influential theatrical innovators, Mabou Mines was conceived in the mid-1960s when five American artists living abroad came together with a shared vision of creating work incorporating new ideas and concepts in music and the visual arts with theater. After five years in Europe, the founding members—Lee Breuer, Ruth Maleczech, JoAnne Akalaitis, David Warrilow and Philip Glass—moved to New York City. In the summer of 1970, the group retreated to Mabou Mines, Nova Scotia, where one of the members had a house, to create their first original work, “The Red Horse Animation.” The piece was performed on an amplified wooden platform which doubled as a percussive instrument.
Creating more than 50 productions over the next 30 years, the company has continually sought and supported collaborations with artists from other disciplines—novelists, visual artists, musicians, filmmakers, videographers, etc—resulting in diverse theatrical innovations. Collaborations with such composers as Philip Glass, Lenny Picket, Bob Telson, John Zorn, Pauline Oliveros, David Byrne, and Carter Burwell, as well as many important contemporary visual artists, comprise a unique collaborative history.
Over its three decades, the company collectively accumulated over 20 Obies (more than any other theater troupe), in addition to numerous other company and individual honors such as awards from the American Theater Wing and the Drama League, as well as many individual awards such as Rockefeller Playwriting Fellowships (4); Guggenheim Fellowships (2); Fulbright Fellowships (3) and Distinguished Artist Fellowships (1). In 1997 Lee Breuer was awarded a prestigious John and Catharine T. MacArthur Fellowship.