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Video Teaser from the World Premiere of Last Audience
For those of you who were not able to be with us, here is a glimpse from the world premiere performances of Last Audience at New York Live Arts, October 16-20, 2019.
I was amazed and humbled by how audiences gathered around this work and how individual audience members rose to the task of embodying it. As a collective of individuals and as an experiment of how we might conjure in the moment, Last Audience was personally and deeply gratifying, moving, challenging. The best thing a work can give us is knowledge about ourselves and each other… this piece gave it to me in abundance. I hope it did the same for its audiences.
Over the past ten years I have been in conversation with fellow artists, collaborators and audiences on how agency is structured, how decision-making is distributed and how we all participate in the authorship of images and narratives in performance. Last Audience asked these questions in very direct ways while also looking at the requiem mass as a compositional structure and at Greek Tragedies for their language on the formation of democracy.
Enjoy this glimpse into the work.
Photos from the World Premiere of Last Audience
We are thrilled to share photographs by Simon Courchel from the premiere of Last Audience.
Last Audience had its premiere to sold-out performances at New York Live Arts on October 16-20, 2019.
A work embodied by its audience, it is comprised of a set of unique scores written for each performance. The piece grapples with agency and manipulation, negotiating the individual and the collective inside a theatrical context. Drawing on language and themes from requiems and Greek classical tragedy on judgement and democratic formation, Last Audience moves inside the unstable space between the perfunctory and the transformative.
The performance began with a pre-show meal, COMMUNE, cooked by artist Yanira Castro with invited guest artists. These free, communal meals were open to the public to embrace the forms of congregation and collectivity that come with sharing food and a conversation. Invited guest artists shared a poem, reading, dance, dessert.
Director, Choreographer, Writer: Yanira Castro
Performance Facilitators & Collaborators: Yanira Castro, devynn emory, Kathy Couch, David Thomson
Soloists: Leslie Cuyjet, Kirsten Schnittker, Pamela Vail
Lighting Designer: Kathy Couch
Composer/Performer: Stephan Moore
Dramaturg: Susan Mar Landau
Costume Designer for Soloists: Miodrag Guberinic
Stage Manager: LD DeArmon
Assistant Director: Simon Courchel
Marketing Assistant: Tara Sheena
COMMUNE Food and Event Facilitator: Athena Kokoronis
COMMUNE Guest Artist Organizer: Tara Sheena
COMMUNE Guest Artists:
October 16 – Tara Sheena
October 17 – Helen Betya Rubinstein
October 18 – Stephanie Acosta
October 19 – Tina Wang
October 20 – André Daughtry
COMMUNE Dessert Makers:
October 16 – Jeremy Toussaint-Baptiste
October 17 – Athena Kokoronis
October 18 – Stephanie Acosta
October 19 – Martita Abril
October 20 – Darrin Wright
The creation of Last Audience was made possible, in part, by a New York Live Arts’ Live Feed creative residency program, which supports and nurtures the development of new work with residencies and commissions generated over two years. Lead support of Live Feed is generously provided by Partners for New Performance and Rockefeller Brothers Fund.
Last Audience was also made possible by the generous support of The MAP Fund, supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; a NYSCA Individual Artists’ Theatre Artist Commission made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; and by a grant from New Music USA, made possible by annual program support and/or endowment gifts from Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, New York State Council on the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Howard Gilman Foundation, Helen F. Whitaker Fund, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Inc., The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Baisley Powell Elebash Fund, The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.
The development of Last Audience was made possible, in part, with artistic residencies at Yaddo, Marble House Project, Headlong, and a production residency at Amherst College.
SOLD OUT! BUT….
All performances of Last Audience are currently sold-out online BUT a wait list will begin at 1pm the day of the event. Call the front desk of New York Live Arts at (212) 691-6500 to sign up.
We will try to get you all in!
And if you do have a reservation, please remember to RESPECT THE RESERVATION! If you won’t be able to attend, please call to cancel your ticket… ensuring that someone else will be able to get a spot.
LAST AUDIENCE @ New York Live Arts
October 16-20, 2019 @ 7:30PM
TICKETS AVAILABLE FOR LAST AUDIENCE!
Tickets for Last Audience are officially live! We are grateful to New York Live Arts for working with us to ensure these tickets remain free to all. Please do claim your spot soon – audience capacity is limited.
Reserve your spot today…and, kindly respect the reservation!
We are so excited to bring this piece to you October 16-20, 7:30pm, at New York Live Arts. A free, public meal, COMMUNE, precedes every show at 6:30pm. We hope to welcome you then.
To read more about the project:
Interview with Kathryn Yu in No Proscenium, “a canary torsi Explores the Requiem in ‘Last Audience”
Peter Libbey in The New York Times, “New York Live Arts Lineup Puts the Focus on Community”
“One must straightforwardly realize what has not yet appeared in history namely, democracy.” – Joseph Beuys
Last Audience is an immersive performance event where audience members are invited to embody the work. It is a collaboration between choreographer Yanira Castro and composer Stephan Moore—Bessie-award-winning artists whose twelve-year collaboration has resulted in over ten projects that have toured nationally and internationally. Last Audience is an evolution in our continued line of questioning about the construction of theatrical experience and the audience’s role within it. Commissioned and presented by NY Live Arts with an accompanying two-year Live Feed Residency, it will premiere October 16-20, 2019.
Our practice involves the creation of algorithmic systems, scores, and software programs, which ensure that elements of each project (choreography, music, environment) unfold uniquely in each performance in response to the actions of the audience, democratizing and decentralizing control over how the work is made and experienced. In Last Audience, we aim to advance this practice by inviting the audience to embody the work. They are this work’s performers, stage crew, and musicians, as well as its audience. For inspiration, we are borrowing and re-contextualizing the traditional requiem mass for its structure and potential political themes (mercy, judgment, benediction). Each night, an audience of 75 will be guided through a 10-part score, which is unique to that evening. These scores prompt movement, sound, text and scenic changes. We will sing, shout, whisper, construct costumes, form tableaus, orchestrate lighting, and dance as part of a communal live act. Castro and Moore will guide the performances along with three long-standing collaborators: Kathy Couch (environment/light/set), and David Thomson and devynn emory (performer/choreographers).
To prepare several distinct scores for the run of performances, Moore will be developing a diverse set of materials – an invented instrument, pre-recorded materials, and sections of generative electronic scores that will be controlled by the audience – as well as language and other methods for guiding interaction. Versions of these materials will be developed over the course of numerous residencies and encounters with test audiences.
We recognize that democracy is a tall order. As the Beuys’ quote that begins this statement suggests, it is a myth. Western theater is rooted in Greek democracy and tragedy, where the chorus (representing society) is a body that tries to make sense of what is happening from within the play. Our audience occupies the position of both witness and chorus, both itself and the representation of itself—the subject and the doer of the work. With Last Audience, we ask: How do we engage participation and questions of agency? Can theater bring understanding and nuance to the way we commune?
Cue points: 27:55, 43:21, 50:10, 1:02:56.
STAGE premiered at Abrons Arts Center’s Playhouse in September 2017. It was part of a trilogy of works, CAST, STAGE, AUTHOR. STAGE is an improvised work for dancers and stage machinations with a musical score by Stephan Moore, performed live by Moore with Scott Smallwood and Suzanne Thorpe. In STAGE, the frame is constantly in flux, made unreliable by lighting, stage elements and the performers’ constant play with how they project presence to an audience seated in the balcony.
This score was created by Stephan Moore using a software algorithm that listened to the environment surrounding the computer where the software was running, collected sonic fragments from the environment, and then, on cue, composed a structured accompaniment to a choreographed dance sequence. This was created as an early experiment in how a generative system might be incorporated into “Last Audience.” Note that a contrasting realization of this score structure (Version 8a) can be found in Stephan Moore’s New Music USA profile.
Cues: in Act 3 (1:18:44) and Act 1 (3:27)
“Court/Garden” at Federal Hall was presented by LMCC as part of The River To River Festival 2015. A spectacle in three acts, CG took as its inspiration the ballets of Louis XIV’s court as a metaphor for the 1% (Act 1) and the participatory practices of the Occupy Wall Street Movement (Act 3). In CG’s third act, the audience was invited to create chaos with the performers–to shine light on what they wished to see, write text and have it read aloud by others, and make and parade in the “Queen’s” skirt.
Start and End Dates
10/16/2019 — 10/20/2019
New York City, New York