October 19, 2014 – Dance Place, Washington, D.C. For tickets click here
October 23, 2014 – King’s College, London For tickets click here
November 4-5, 2014 – Unity Theatre, Homotopia!, Liverpool, UK For tickets click here
Inspired by queer icon Derek Jarman, JARMAN (all this maddening beauty) merges video and live performance to reconstruct the essence of the cult figure, artistic legacy and punk movement through the Transatlantic lens of today. Can we ever fully recover our queer history or will our legends be forever pressed between the pages of the archive? JARMAN brings together a community of over 40 performers through video and sound, manipulated in real time by one performer whose own story of artistic survival unravels within that of Derek Jarman’s. JARMAN is performed by force/collision Founding Director John Moletress with a text by OBIE award-winning playwright Caridad Svich, and lasts approximately 70 minutes in duration.
Producing Company: force/collision
Text: Caridad Svich
Director / Performer: John Moletress
Video: Benjamin Carver
Sound: David Crandall
Scenic: Lisi Stoessel
ABOUT DEREK JARMAN:
Derek Jarman was a leading avant-garde British filmmaker whose visually opulent and stylistically adventurous body of work stands in defiant opposition to the established literary and theatrical traditions of his sometimes staid national cinema. Jarman advocated a personal cinema more dedicated to striking imagery and evocative sounds than to the imperatives of narrative and characterization. His comments on one of his strongest films are revealing: “The Last of England works with image and sound, a language which is nearer to poetry than prose. It tells its story quite happily in silent images, in contrast to a word-bound cinema.”
Jarman displayed a fascination with violence, homoeroticism, gay representation and mythopoeic imagery. Proudly and openly gay, Jarman shared news of his HIV infection with his public and incorporated his subsequent battles with AIDS into his work, particularly in The Garden (1990) and Blue (1993). Excavating and reclaiming suppressed gay history was an ongoing project that informed his several unconventional biopics: Sebastiane (1975), Jarman’s sun-drenched directorial debut about the martyred Christian saint; the unusually accessible and slyly anachronistic Caravaggio (1986); the raw and angry modern dress version of Christopher Marlowe’s Edward II (1991); and the stark and theatrical Wittgenstein (1993).
Trained in the fine arts, Jarman began as (and remained) a designer of sets and costumes for ballet and opera. He made his first films (super-8 shorts) while working as a set designer on Ken Russell’s The Devils (1971) and Savage Messiah (1972). He continued to paint and exhibit his work at London galleries while making his own films, which also reflected a painterly concern with composition. In Jubilee (1978), Queen Elizabeth I is conducted on a tour of a futuristic England in which violence and anarchy hold sway; the film became something of a beacon of the punk movement in the late 1970s. Jarman’s take on The Tempest (1979) was a typically irreverent and somewhat rambling reworking of Shakespeare’s play. The WWI poems of Wilfred Owen, set to the music of Benjamin Britten, shaped War Requiem (1988), a powerful essay on the wastes of wars past while commenting on the modern ravages of AIDS.
He chronicled much of his life on super-8 film and incorporated this footage, blown up to 35mm, into his more personal, non-linear narrative films. Jarman’s super-8 movies of beautiful young men in dramatic landscapes featuring caves, rocks and water lent a lushly romantic mood to The Angelic Conversation (1985), a non-traditional rendering of Shakespeare’s sonnets. Last of England, a raging, despairing, and emotionally overwhelming vision of Britain as an urban wasteland, intercut shots of Jarman writing in his room with excerpts from home movies shot by the director, his father, and his grandfather and surreal tableaux of violence and degradation. Pastoral sequences of Jarman’s childhood evince a longing for simpler times for the filmmaker and the nation.
In his last years, Jarman was an outspoken advocate for the rights and dignity of gays and PWAs (Persons With AIDS), but art remained his primary cause. A champion of film art and a dedicated experimentalist, he was a critic of, and at odds with, what he saw as the stifling, repressive commercialism of mainstream cinema. Always struggling for funds, Jarman produced his first seven features for a combined cost of only $3 million. His final film, Blue, was his most unconventional—an unchanging field of blue over which we hear voices and sounds. Blind and mortally ill, Jarman remained a visionary film maverick. He authored a number of books, including a 1984 autobiography, Dancing Ledge. In 1994, Jarman succumbed to AIDS complications at age 52.
Source: Cultural Queer Center, Baseline’s Encyclopedia of Filmmakers
ABOUT PLAYWRIGHT CARIDAD SVICH:
Caridad Svich received a 2012 OBIE Award for Lifetime Achievement in the theatre, and the 2011 American Theatre Critics Association
Primus Prize for her play The House of the Spirits, based on the novel by Isabel Allende. Among her other work are 12 Ophelias, Any Place But Here, Alchemy of Desire/Dead-Man’s Blues, Iphigenia Crash Land Falls on the Neon Shell That Was Once Her Heart (a rave fable), Instructions for Breathing, The Way of Water, and the multi-media collaboration The Booth Variations. Last season Repetorio Espanol in New York premiered her play Love in the Time of Cholera, based on the novel by Gabriel Garcia Marquez; , Single Carrot Theatre in Baltimore premiered The Tropic of X; and Borderlands Theatre in Arizona premiered GUAPA as part of a rolling premiere, courtesy of the National New Play Network, that continues at the Miracle Theatre in Oregon and Phoenix Theatre in Indiana. Other regional premieres include In the Time of the Butterflies (based on the novel by Julia Alvarez) at Mixed Blood Theatre, Fugitive Pieces at Ex-Pats Theatre and The Archaeology of Dreams at University of Nebraska-Omaha. Among her awards are: Trusts National Theatre Artist Residency at INTAR and NEA/TCG Playwriting Residency at the Mark Taper Forum Latino Theatre Initiative, She is an alumna playwright of New Dramatists, founder of NoPassport theatre alliance and press, Drama Editor of Asymptote journal of literary translation, associate editor of Routledge/UK’s Contemporary Theatre Review and contributing editor of TheatreForum. Ms. Svich is also an affiliated artist of the Lark Play Development Center, Woodshed Collective, New Georges and a lifetime member of Ensemble Studio Theatre.