Meet Rose. The once love-stricken canine is now dead, suspended in the “Buddhist Bardo,” the after-death plane between incarnations. There she meets her old friend, Bunny. In his past life Bunny, a gourmet cook, was a rabbit leather queen who tinkered in S&M. And now….
Lee Breuer’s most recent work, “An Epidog,” the continuing story of Rose from Breuer’s trilogy of epic plays, “Animations” which began with “A Dog’s Life,” will continue its tale of the dog. “An Epidog” begins previews at The HERE Arts Center, January 10. The show opens on January 13 and plays thru February 18.
“An Epidog” is produced with a 1995 grant from the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays, a joint project of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and American Express in cooperation with the President’s Committee in Arts and Humanities.
Through music, storytelling, classical Japanese Bunraku puppetry, and language turned inside out and upside down, the play offers an update on Rose, chronicling her brush with death at the pound, her salvation by Leslie, an M.A. student in “Gender Ontology” at Brown, and concluding with the death of Rose, her nose in her water bowl brimming with Dom Perignon. Based on Chinese and South Indian models, “Epidog,” which is narrative in form, uses more than 20 major and minor bunraku puppets designed and built by Julie Archer, which will be manipulated by and interact with the performers.
Marking another technological leap in Mabou Mines’s 25 year history, the precedent setting aspects of the production were the result of the company’s collaboration with the Gertrude Stein Repertory Theatre. Videoconferencing–thanks to GSRT technology–made possible intercontinental rehearsals with the play’s composer Ushio Torakai and Butoh dancers in Japan, and Mabou Mines performers Ruth Maleczech, Frederick Neumann, Clove Galilee and Terry O’Reilly in New York City.
A team of designers, directors and technicians at the Gertrude Stein Repertory Theatre have created a “virtual” Bardo, through changing 3D designs, animated backgrounds, and virtual environments. This pioneering approach to theater is supported by AT&T.
Well-known for its technological innovations, Mabou Mines, now celebrating its 25th anniversary, has produced more than 48 original works, which have been presented at major arts centers, theaters, universities and festivals throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. Methods and techniques developed by the company have had a formative influence throughout the experimental theater world, and have contributed to building bridges in the arts amongst diverse disciplines and cultural traditions.
“An Epidog” marks Breuer’s first play since the premiere of his gender-bending version of “Lear,” which was presented in 1990. The winner of countless awards and fellowships for his play writing and direction, Breuer recently completed seven months of work and research in India and Bali as a Fulbright Scholar, and spent three months in China teaching at the Beijing Academy of Drama. With Mabou Mines, of which he is a founding director, he works as a director, author, adaptor, producer and performer. His adaptations and direction of Beckett works received wide critical acclaim including three Obies.