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Thursday, January 23, 2020

A Conversation Between Medea Writer/Director Simon Stone and Producer David Lan

David Lan: Simon, why choose this very old play about things that happened very long ago?

Simon Stone: Because what happens in the play keeps happening. The curse of our humanity is that we keep making the same mistakes. We try to escape this destiny, to learn from history, yet there’s a resurgence of these themes, these acts as though there were some kind of cosmic karma. We do these plays because, unfortunately, women still kill their children—infrequently and far less often than men—but it happens, and despite the fact that there’s this ancient story of Medea as a warning.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Matthew Lopez on The Inheritance and BAM

There's a reason there's more than one reference to BAM in playwright and screenwriter Matthew Lopez's four-time Olivier Award-winning play The Inheritance, which reimagines E.M. Forster's Howards End in present-day New York's gay community and is currently running on Broadway: Lopez himself is a member of the BAM Young Producers, a community of BAM supporters in their 20s, 30s and early 40s shaping the future of the arts in Brooklyn. Fellow Young Producer Liz Denys recently sat down with Lopez to talk about his work, his personal connection to BAM, and how he felt about last year's Next Wave.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

In Context: Medea

Photo: Caitlin Cronenberg
In visionary writer-director Simon Stone’s powerful contemporary rewrite, Euripides’ controversial icon is reborn. Transposing the devastation of Greek tragedy to a modern American home with a husband and wife in the tumultuous throes of an unraveling marriage, Stone’s stripped-bare staging throws the couple’s every raw emotion into stark relief, from jealousy to passion, humor to despair.

After you've attended the show, let us know what you thought by posting in the comments below and on social media! (Use #Medea and tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.)

Program Notes

Medea (PDF)

Thursday, January 2, 2020

A New Year Message From Katy Clark, President of BAM

The paradox of uncertain times is that they can also yield great ideas and new alliances. At BAM, 2019 was a year in which we charted new territory and saw our institution thrive.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

The 40 Most Unforgettable BAM Moments of 2019, According to BAM Staff

Photo: Julieta Cervantes

Before the curtain falls on a truly remarkable year of heartwarming, surprising, shocking, breathtaking, hilarious, or otherwise unforgettable moments and milestones here at BAM, we asked our fellow staff members to take a look back and share some of their favorites. Were you here for any of these, or do you have your own? Share them with us, and please join or support us in making BAM a home for adventurous art, audiences, and ideas in 2020!

Monday, December 30, 2019

24 Hours with Alia Shawkat

Photo: NayMarie
By Alexandra Biss

“The walls feel a little tight today,” remarked Alia Shawkat’s 62nd scene partner in The Second Woman. “Tell me about it,” she replies without missing a beat. This was about hour 17 of the 24 Alia (and I) spent in the Fishman Space of the BAM Fisher. For all but 15 minutes every two hours, Alia was in a small mesh room set with a table, chairs, stereo, and bar cart. While we could see in, she couldn’t really see out. The walls of her world were defined by the repetition of a short scene with different, mostly male-presenting non-actor scene partners. They have a drink, she asks for reassurance, she throws noodles at him, they dance, she asks him to leave. In between each scene, Alia would get down on her hands and knees to clean up the just-thrown noodles, and reset. Set and reset. Nearly 100 times. The walls of my world from 5pm Friday to 5pm Saturday—watching the world in the box—felt more than a little tight, until they suddenly expanded in new ways.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Holidays at BAM: Cabaret and Beyond

Note: BAM's new Artistic Director David Binder chose A Very Meow Meow Holiday Show to kick off an annual holiday block. Check out the seasonal photos after the jump from the BAM Hamm Archives.

Meow Meow. Photo: Magnus Hastings
By Sally Ollove
with contributions by John Jarboe

“What is cabaret?”

Thank you for asking! Cabaret is a musical by Kander and Ebb that once starred Liza Minnelli. It’s a kind of table. It’s a brand of cracker that 70s suburbanites served at key parties. It’s an indulgence, a secret, a cult, a radical experiment in community building, a trust exercise between performer and audience. An ephemeral queering of traditional performance modes. It’s an artform whose audience is living and getting younger.

Even as audiences get younger, the world around them seems to be collapsing. I used to think of cabaret as a place of beginnings, but more and more I see it as a place of endings or, really, of post-endings. Post-narrative, post-theatrical, post-pretension, post-perfection. At its most basic level, cabaret is a performer sitting metaphorically (or literally) in your lap sharing their virtuosity, vulnerability, and some laughs. Cabaret began on the site of the failed Paris Commune uprising and has a history of flourishing as people who don’t fit into the mainstream struggle: in post WWI Germany, in Harlem during the Renaissance, in Midtown during McCarthyism, and downtown post 9/11. As Brecht, a hanger-on of the Weimar cabaret scene, said: “In the dark times. Will there also be singing? Yes, there will also be singing. About the dark times.” When everything else has fallen away, we’ll still be huddling around a piano with someone to help us laugh through tears and sing songs that touch us in deep and unknowable ways.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Perfecting the Vibe: Wisdom From Four Brooklyn Barbers

Interviews by Akornefa Akyea
Photographs by Sam Polcer

Written by Nigerian-British poet and playwright Inua Ellams, international sensation Barber Shop Chronicles, which comes to BAM Dec 3—8 for its US premiere—is set in cities across the African continent (Lagos, Johannesburg, Accra, Kampala, and Harare) and London, and conjures the sacred space where men—in this case Black men—come together not only for a good trim, but for necessary and unfiltered discussion on black masculinity, immigration, identity and more.

While the services provided at barber shops around the world are similar, each shop has its own unique atmosphere and distinct character. We visited four shops on Fulton St., home also to the Harvey Theater at BAM Strong, where the play will be performed, to find out how they foster a sense of community.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Africa Unite!: A Playlist Inspired By Barber Shop Chronicles

Photo: Marc Brenner
Set in barber shops across five cities on the African content (Lagos, Johannesburg, Accra, Kampala, Harare) and in a major city in its diaspora (London), Barber Shop Chronicles (Dec 3—8 at the Harvey Theater at BAM Strong) explores unfiltered stories about identity, displacement, and black masculinity. Within this rich tapestry of storytelling woven by playwright, poet, and spoken word artist Inua Ellas, is the popular music from the African continent; as the show pivots from city to city, the music—sometimes coming out of a speaker and other times produced by the actors on stage—reorients and guides us from shop to shop, and serves as a joyful and buoyant force in the production.

Monday, November 18, 2019

The Barber Shop as a Sacred Space

Photo: Marc Brenner
By Matthew Allen

One of the bastions of unfiltered African-American discourse—the barber shop—is the setting for a Next Wave show. When contemplating where a Black man can have a safe space to express his feelings and engage in unbridled debate and dialogue, a business where one gets haircuts may be the last place that comes to mind, but it’s true. Making its New York debut on December 3 at the Harvey Theater at BAM Strong, Barber Shop Chronicles (Fuel/National Theatre/Leeds Playhouse) finds six cities throughout the African Diaspora united by two commonalities—getting a fresh trim and speaking your mind.