REDCAT Festival Celebrates the NOW

NOW Fest features Poor Dog Group’s ‘The Murder Ballad’ with Jessica Emmanuel.

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The New Original Works (NOW) Festival—REDCAT’s summer celebration of vital new works for the stage—began a three-week run last night in LA featuring artists that challenge traditions and create hybrid art forms.

Week one of the festival, which continues through Saturday, features works by Poor Dog Group (PDG), an experimental theater troop; Opera Povera, a consortium of performers and designers; and experimental theater artist and CalArts faculty member Susan Simpson (Film/Video MFA 93).

  • The Murder Ballad by Poor Dog Group is a “volatile mix of desire, jealousy and emancipatory yearning.” The movement-based work is based on Jelly Roll Morton’s legendary 1938 recording of a dark, murderous narrative that Morton used to perform in the brothels of New Orleans’ seamy Storyville district. The heroine’s voice is embodied by Jessica Emmanuel (Dance BFA 06), who with a feral, sensual energy delves into the psyche of a woman betrayed. The work is directed by CalArts alumnus and PDG member Jesse Bonnell (Theater BFA 07).
  • In the piece To Valerie Solanas and Marilyn Monroe in Recognition of their Desperation, Opera Povera artistic director Sean Griffin and vocalist Juliana Snapper pay tribute to composer Pauline Oliveros’ composition. The title connects the tragic lives of two iconic women—actress Monroe and radical feminist writer Solanas, who’s best remembered for publishing the SCUM Manifesto and for her attempted murder of Andy Warhol.
  • Susan Simpson’s Exhibit A blends historical fact with fiction to explore the “convergence of radical visionaries that populated the hills of Silver Lake in the 1950s.” The director and puppeteer uses archival letters and journal entries to examine the lives of the area’s notable denizens, including Harry Hay and John Lautner, while unnamed alien visitors roam the transforming landscape.

All three works are presented at this weekend’s performances.

New Original Works Festival: Week 1
631 West 2nd St., Los Angeles
July 27-28 at 8:30 pm
Tickets: $18, $14 students and $10 CalArts community

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