A single snapshot of a butterfly is not going to tell you that it flies. Nor will it tell you that it was once a caterpillar.
Similarly, it can take more than one performance at ArtsEmerson to start to understand the dimensions of this place. Our next two productions—out of a season with 14 offerings on our stages, dozens of films in our screening room and dozens of events in neighborhoods around the city—are quite different from each other. But even with just these two “snapshots” to work with, you can start to get a sense of the facets, both seen and unseen, of our programming.
In the Eruptive Mode is the third in a cluster of performances this season that has focused on the Middle East. Kiss was an ensemble play, with a focus on Syria as seen through the eyes of an American theater troupe. Gardens Speak was a performance installation that literally put you down in the dirt with victims of the civil war in Syria. And now Anglo/Kuwaiti director Sulayman Al-Bassam brings us an evening of six monologues that center on women of the Arab Spring of 2012. Each evening stands alone as a journey into another culture. Each takes us outside ourselves and places us in the world. Taken together, they open a conversation about the world, one taking place in its native tongue. One of the joys of programming at ArtsEmerson is that we get to bring the world to you, and in the process, we hope to open you to our place in it. Now is no time for exceptionalism or isolationism. We are one world. Our neighbors’ perils are our own. Our neighbors’ hopes rest in us a surely as ours rest in them.
Torrey Pines is one of three offerings this season to unpack the incredible creativity in our field as artists adapt to, and incorporate, technologies in live performance. Across the globe there are artists and ensembles that are mixing live performance with film in astonishing ways. In January, Chicago’s Manual Cinema was here with Ada/Ava, a wordless piece created entirely by live manipulation of shadows and overhead projectors. In May you can return for the third in this series, the breathtaking Cold Blood, which mixes modern dance, toy theater and an HD camera to create a spellbinding film right before your eyes. And in the middle, Clyde Petersen’s hand-crafted animated film screens with the live accompaniment of his band to create yet another hybrid experience.
We hope you will continue to explore the dimensions of performance and film that ArtsEmerson has to offer. The more you travel the world with us, the more you’ll understand what we’re up to. And hopefully, you’ll come to share the animating vision at the center of all of this: that of a thriving world fueled on empathy for others, ignited by shared experiences of art.
- David Dower, ArtsEmerson Artistic Director
In the Eruptive Mode – JAN 24 – 28 @ Emerson Paramount Center, Robert J. Orchard Stage
Torrey Pines – FEB 14 – 17 – @ Emerson Paramount Center, Jackie Liebergott Black Box