Image by Ian Douglas

BRONX GOTHIC

OKWUI OKPOKWASILI

A solo creation at the intersection of theater, dance, and visual art installation, Bronx Gothic gives palpable force to the charged relationship between two girls on the verge of adolescence in 1980s outer-borough New York City–where Newports are bought in singles at the corner bodega, sex saturated notes are passed in class, and Orchard Beach erupts in flame.

Okwui Okpokwasili’s acclaimed piece has been hailed as a breakthrough work. Hers is a performance of psychic and physical collisions that threaten to break the body—an unflinching look into the exquisite turbulence of one woman’s memory. Created in collaboration with director and visual designer Peter Born, Bronx Gothic draws inspiration from Victorian-era novels and West African griot storytelling to reveal a tale of sexual awakening with humor, love, strangeness, terror, and rigorous physicality by a fearless mover.

“In language that is by turns blunt and poetic, crudely funny and incantatory, Ms. Okpokwasili conjures and probes this adolescent friendship, a jumble of insults, anger and love…A magnetic performer”  -The New York Times.

Join us for an Artist Talk Back following the show on Saturday night.

Bronx Gothic was co-commissioned by Performance Space 122, Danspace Project, LMCC, and a 50th Anniversary Grant from the Jerome Foundation. Residency support was provided by Under Construction at the Park Avenue Armory; New York Live Arts; Baryshnikov Arts Center; and LMCC’s Extended Life Dance Development program. Additional commissioning support was provided by Le Mallion in Strasbourg; Théâtre de Gennevilliers in Paris; Theatre Garonne in Toulouse; and Zagrebačko Kazalište Mladih (ZMK), the Zagreb Youth Theatre in Zagreb, Croatia.

An early iteration was shown in the Platform Series: Parallels 2012 curated by Ishmael Houston-Jones at Danspace Project. The full version of Bronx Gothic premiered at PS 122’s 2014 COIL Festival, where it enjoyed a sold-out two week run. The piece was later presented by ShowBox in Los Angeles; it also toured to Zagreb, Croatia, and throughout France. Another iteration, Bronx Gothic: The Oval, was a featured installation and performance at the 2014 River-to-River Festival in New York.

The 2015-16 tour of Bronx Gothic is managed by MAPP International Productions, a nonprofit producer of major performing arts projects that raise critical consciousness and spark social change. Bronx Gothic is a recipient of the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project Touring Award, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

The North American Tour of Bronx Gothic is produced by MAPP International Productions.

Women & Their Work Known for its groundbreaking spirit, embrace of artistic innovation, and commitment to artists, Women & Their Work serves as a catalyst for new ideas in contemporary art. Presenting more than 50 events each year, we serve as a vital hub for the new and the innovative. Since 1978, we have created significant opportunities for artists and audiences to experience the art of our time through ambitious exhibitions, commissions of new work, performances, and education programs that inform audiences of all ages. womenandtheirwork.org

Women & Their Work is a Partner of the National Performance Network (NPN). This project is made possible in part by support from the NPN Performance Residency Program. Major contributors include the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts (a federal agency). For more information: npnweb.org

The sound for this performance is kindly supported by BASSBOSS

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