THE WOOSTER GROUP ON FILM AND VIDEO
February 17 – February 23
Anthology is overjoyed to pay tribute to the astonishingly inventive, always uncompromising, and altogether remarkable experimental theater company, The Wooster Group. For over 35 years the Group has been expanding the conventions of theater and performance by radically reworking canonical plays (by Eugene O’Neill, Racine, Shakespeare, Chekhov, Gertrude Stein, and others), combining wildly disparate cultural texts and references (their pieces have incorporated Japanese theater and film, vaudeville, B-movies, and much more), and pioneering the use of video and other multimedia tools in their productions.
The Group’s crucial place in the annals of downtown NYC alternative culture, as well as their impressive longevity, suggest parallels with Anthology itself – we were even neighbors for several years in the mid-70s, when Anthology was located at 80 Wooster, just down the block from the Performing Garage, the Group’s longtime headquarters. As such, it is entirely appropriate that we honor the Group with this extensive series, bringing together the official video versions of some of the company’s productions, archival documentation of many other works, films and videos, and a special event featuring Jim Fletcher and Young Jean Lee reading from unproduced screenplays The Wooster Group has created over the years.
Focusing on the period 1975-2005, the series captures the extraordinary confluence of gifted theater artists who formed and sustained the Group through its first three decades – including founders Elizabeth LeCompte – the Group’s visionary director – and Spalding Gray, and performers Ron Vawter, Willem Dafoe, Kate Valk, Peyton Smith, Ari Fliakos, and Scott Shepherd, among many others. To demonstrate the full scope of the Group’s boundless creativity, we will also be presenting a sidebar series showcasing the many fascinating films and videos that have featured performances from various of the Group’s members, as well as three programs devoted to the work of Ken Kobland, a filmmaker who has been collaborating with the Wooster Group for decades.
Very special thanks to Clay Hapaz, Archivist for The Wooster Group, for organizing these programs; and to Elizabeth LeCompte, and all the members of The Wooster Group.
This series coincides with the Wooster Group's latest production, "Early Plays", based on the Glencairn Plays by Eugene O'Neill; a collaboration with New York City Players, the production is directed by Richard Maxwell, and will be taking place at St. Ann's Warehouse from February 15-March 4. For more info, visit thewoostergroup.org