Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

THE KNICK’S Perry Yung, Marko Mandi, Mia Yoo, Eugene Chai, Tunde Sho and more set for U.S. Premiere of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s PYLADE at La MaMa, Dec. 3 -18

La MaMa is presenting PYLADE — a play by the late, celebrated Italian film director Pier Paolo Pasolini — in its U.S. premiere 40 years after the author’s murder. The production directed by Ivica Buljan, director of the Croatian National Theatre, begins performances beginning December 3 at La MaMa’s Ellen Stewart Theatre (66 E. 4 St.) with the press opening set for December 6, and continues through December 18. For tickets go to www.lamama.org or call 646-430-5374.

This contemporary adaptation of the Greek myth, PYLADE will be performed by La MaMa’s Great Jones Repertory Company (GJRC), a multi-faceted company of artists created 35 years ago by Andrei Serban, Elizabeth Swados and La MaMa’s founder Ellen Stewart.

Tundé Sho and Marko Mandić star in Pier Paolo Pasolini's Pylade, directed by Ivica Buljan, at La MaMa's Ellen Stewart Theatre.

Tundé Sho and Marko Mandić star in Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Pylade, directed by Ivica Buljan, at La MaMa’s Ellen Stewart Theatre. (© Theo Cote)

The PYLADE Cast features guest Slovenian actor, Marko Mandi as Pylade with Great Jones Rep company members Mia Yoo, Perry Yung (The Knick), Cary Gant, Eugene Chai, Maura Donahue, Valois Mickens, John Gutierrez, and Tunde Sho as Orestes. La MaMa Artistic Director, Mia Yoo who will play the role of Electra remarked, “It is so important for Great Jones Rep to be able to collaborate with artists like Ivica Buljan and Marko Mandic. Their experience and artistic influences exert a profound and positive impact on our work as an ensemble, and the relevance of Pasolini’s work to the politics of today has real resonance — it’s very exciting to be part of this project!”

Maura Donahue, Marko Mandić, and John Gutierrez perform Ivica Buljan's sweaty, unhinged staging of Pylade.

Maura Nguyen Donahue, Marko Mandić, and John Gutierrez perform Ivica Buljan’s sweaty, unhinged staging of Pylade. (© Theo Cote)

Ivica Buljan, “one of the most successful exports of Croatian drama” (TimeOut) applies the techniques of Antonin Artaud in his work as a director. Although PYLADE marks his first time working with GJRC, Mr. Buljan has long held an interest in working with the company based on the experience of their work and his own significant history at La MaMa.

Mia Yoo plays Electra and Eugene the Poogene plays a soldier in Pylade.

Mia Yoo plays Electra and Eugene the Poogene plays a soldier in Pylade. (© Theo Cote)

Pasolini’s PYLADE, a contemporary reinterpretation of the relationship between Pylades and Orestes from Greek mythology and the ORESTEIA, is a poetic, tragic meditation on democracy, consumerism, and the struggle for real social change. The rhythm and emotion of Pasolini’s text, translated into English by Adam Paolozza and Coleen MacPherson, is heightened by the music and movement incorporated into this production by Buljan and GJRC, to create a total theatre of movement, text, spectacle and music. “The re-construction” of democracy was of principal interest to Pasolini,” stated Mr. Buljan.

PYLADE is one of six little-known plays written by Pasolini, best-known for his groundbreaking film work in the 60’s and 70’s: THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. MATTHEW, OEDIPUS REX, THE CANTERBURY TALES, ARABIAN NIGHTS and SALO, OR THE 120 DAYS OF SODOM. Little has been written about his work as a playwright.

It is generally accepted that Pasolini was killed by a male prostitute in November, 1975. However, forensic evidence presented during the murder trial concluded that “Pasolini was the victim of an attack carried out by more than one person.” Political conspiracy theories persist surrounding his death. What is indisputable is that Pasolini was a poet, playwright, novelist, journalist, actor and political figure who created a provocative and controversial body of work. He invariably created a sensation as he expressed his controversial views on fascism, Catholicism, homosexuality and capitalism. In an interview in L’Espresso magazine shortly before his murder, Pasolini spoke about his favorite theme, “I consider consumerism to be a worse form of fascism than the classic variety.”

updated 12/18/15

What the critics are saying:

“Pylade is a one of a kind production, that shines because of its fearlessness and commitment…director Ivica Buljan, delivers the kind of work that you know will haunt each person who saw it.”

Jose Solis, Stage Buddy

“The Best Play of the New York Season…seeing it once is not even a true option.  You have to return to it again in order to fully extoll its hard-core politico-sensationalism.”

~Randy Gener, CultureofOneWorld.org

“under Ivica Buljan’s fine direction and the company’s terrific performances—especially that of Marko Mandić in the lead role—it also makes for an intense and entertaining (if difficult to digest at times) evening of theater.”

JK Clarke, Theater Pizzazz

“This production achieves this mixture of sacrilegious and transcendence through an alchemy of sound, movement, and acting…Marko Mandic is one of the bravest actors in the city.”

~Aurin Squire, New York Theatre Review

“The clarity of the Greeks, the raw intellectuals of Pasolini, and the boldness of La MaMa make up for an invaluable spectacle in New York City.”

~  Mateus Ciucci Ferreira, Theatre is Easy

“A grand display of dynamic staging combining dance, physical combat, and glorious tableaux!”

~  Darryl Reilly, TheaterScene.net

“Pylade is the tragedy of the hubris of the liberal elite and the nihilism of the disenfranchised — a tragedy our world is presently living through again as people across the globe increasingly turn to extremist ideology….we feel the full brunt of this tale of cyclical cataclysmic confrontation.”

Maura Donohue and Valois Mickens. (© Theo Cote)

Maura Donohue and Valois Mickens. (© Theo Cote)

~Zachary Stewart, TheaterMania

Formerly under the direction of La MaMa’s late founder, Ellen Stewart, GREAT JONES REPERTORY COMPANY is an OBIE-winning company known for their experimental productions of Greek tragedy that employ classical elements, unique visual, design and performance styles, world music, and movement. Started in 1972 by Ellen Stewart, Andrei Serban, and Elizabeth Swados, GJRC is an intergenerational, racially and ethnically diverse ensemble of artists, actors, designers, and musicians whose landmark works remain a significant part of La MaMa’s history, most notably, FRAGMENTS OF A GREEK TRILOGY (1972), which ushered in a new movement in American ensemble theatre and was noted as one of the most brilliant works of its time. Great Jones Repertory Company’s numerous New York productions and international tours include MEDEA, ANTIGONE , SEVEN AGAINST THEBES, ELECTRA, MYTHOS OEDIPUS, and DIONYSUS: FILIUS DEI, ANGELS OF SWEDENBORG, and FRAGMENTS OF A GREEK TRILOGY. MIA YOO has been a member of GJRC since 1995. Her many roles have included Medea, Electra, Andromache, and Jocasta. She created GERANOS for the GJRC which toured internationally. She worked very closely with Ellen Stewart as her artistic associate, and became La MaMa’s Artistic Director in 2011.

MARKO MANDI is a leading actor of the Slovenian National Theatre known for his portrayals of Hamlet, Caligula, Platonov, and MacBeth. He works extensively in film and theater in both classical and contemporary art projects. He has received a number of national awards for his work: the Sever Foundation Award, four (4) Borštnik Awards and the Prešeren Foundation Award. As a film actor, he is known for, Landscape No.2 (2008), Gold (2013), and Inferno (2014) by acclaimed director, Vinko Moderndorfer winner of Best Full Length Feature at the Brooklyn Film Festival.

IVICA BULJAN, acclaimed Croatian director, combines movement, writing, spectacle and music to reinterpret old classics and create dynamic contemporary theatre. He has worked in institutions large and small, both in Croatia and abroad. At the beginning of his career he was director of the Croatian National Theatre in Split (1998-2002) and in 1999 he co-founded Ljubljana’s Mini-theatre. Buljan is known for choosing collaborators from the non-theatre world to push the boundaries of modern theatre, and he compares his theatre to “a mixture of Patti Smith, Roberto Bolaño and GW Sebald.”

As a guest lecturer, he has taught at theatre academies in Rennes and Saint-Etienne, France. He is a several time winner of the Borštnik Award for the best plays in Slovenia. He received the City of Havana Award. In 2012, Buljan was awarded the highest accolade of the Republc of Slovenia in the field of art, the Prešern Foundation Award for performing arts. He is the holder of the Republic of France’s Order of Arts and Letters. Since 2014. he is Programme Director at Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb.

An integral part of New York City’s cultural landscape, La MaMa has a worldwide reputation for producing daring work in theatre, dance, performance art, and music that defies form and transcends boundaries of language, race, and culture. Founded in 1961 by theatre pioneer and legend Ellen Stewart, La MaMa is a global organization with creative partners and dedicated audiences around the La MaMa presents an average of 60-70 productions annually, most of which are world premieres. To date, over 3,500 productions have been presented at La MaMa with artists from more than 70 nations.

PYLADE runs Thursday, December 3 – Friday, December 18, 2015, playing Thursdays – Saturdays at 7pm; Sundays at 4pm. Tickets $25 Adults; $20 Students/Seniors; ten tickets priced at $10 are available for every performances as part of La MaMa’s 10@$10 ticketing initiative (advance sales only). For tickets go to www.lamama.org or call 646-430-5374. The Ellen Stewart Theatre is located at 66 East 4th Street (between Bowery and Second Avenue), New York, NY 10003.

Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an award-winning filmmaker, a Best Actress nominee, a photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Examiner.comJade Magazine and Playbill.com.

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