The Kitchen Theatre,
From Tuesday to Saturday, April 2-6, 2013, The Kitchen presents the New York premiere of choreographer Camille A. Brown's Mr.TOL E. RAncE. Inspired by Spike Lee's controversial film Bamboozled and Mel Watkins' book On The Real Side: Laughing, Lying, And Signifying - The Underground Tradition of African American Humor that Transformed American Culture, from Slavery to Chris Rock, Brown's ensemble piece celebrates the humor and perseverance of the black performer while examining the stereotypes that persist in popular black culture.
Mr. TOL E. RancE is performed by Brown and her company: Juel D. Lane, Mayte Natalio, Waldean Nelson, Mora-Amina Parker, Willie "Tre" Smith III and KeonThoulouis, and features original music, which will be played live by Scott Patterson.
Performances start at 8:00 P.M. at The Kitchen (512 West 19th Street). Tickets are $15. There will be a post-show discussion with Brown and her company following each performance. The April 3 show is a special students-only performance. Contact email@example.com for more information.
In On The Real Side, Mel Watkins quotes Henry Bergson's work Laughter, "To understand laughter, we must put it back into its natural environment, which is society, and above all we must determine the utility of its function, which is a social one."
Camille A. Brown employs live original music, animation, comedy, theater and poignantly retrospective dance vocabulary in Mr. TOL E. RAncE. The piece, in addition to celebrating African- American humor, addresses pervasive black stereotypes in pop culture and speaks to the issue and addresses forms of modern day "minstrelsy." The piece blends and contrasts the historic with the contemporary, traveling a psychic arc from Bert Williams to Dave Chappelle.
According to Brown, "these sources were used more as a vehicle to explore the idea of drawing parallels between historic and current images of Blacks on television. Creating this piece, I found this story so complex and delicate. We are embarrassed by stereotypes, but embrace them as well. They come from the fabric of who we ALL are and entertainment was birthed out of them. Now that we have choices, (or do we?), I want to ask the questions: Why are we laughing? Is it okay that we do?"
Brown's attempt to understand "why" by exploring the origins of these stereotypical images is the driving force of this piece, as is the ensuing complexity that comes with such an endeavor. At the root, Mr. TOL E. RAncE is a personal new work that strives to engage the community in a timely dialogue about where we have been, where we are, and where we might want to be.
The creative team includes Carolyn Meckha Cherry (costumes), Isabela Dos Santos (animation), Kamilah Forbes and TalvinWilks (dramaturgy), Scott Patterson (music), Philip Treviño (scenic design) and Burke Wilmore (lighting). Mr. TOL E. RAncE features original music by Kurt "KC" Clayton, Brandon McCune, Jonathan Melville Pratt and Patterson, and contributions from Michael Paul Britto and Stacey Muhammad.
Each performance will be followed by a discussion led by various moderators: April 2 - author Michael Eric Dyson; April 3 - filmmaker Stacey Muhammad; April 4 - consultant and producer Baraka Sele; April 5 - scholar Dr. James Peterson; and April 6 - director Kamilah Forbes.
Camille A. Brown, originally from Jamaica, Queens, "is a storyteller with many tales to tell."(The Boston Globe). As the Artistic Director of Camille A. Brown & Dancers, Brown is a prolific choreographer who has achieved multiple accolades and awards for her daring works. She is the 2013 recipient of The International Association of Blacks in Dance Founders Award, winner of the prestigious Princess Grace Award for Choreography, the Mariam McGlone Emerging Choreographer Award (Wesleyan University) and the 2012 City College of New York Women & Culture Award.
Informed by her music background as a clarinetist, Brown creates choreography that utilizes musical composition as storytelling - investigating the silent space within the measure, and filling it with mesmerizing movement.
Brown's choreography and dynamic performances have led to a Bessie nomination for Best Performance in her work, The Evolution of a Secured Feminine, and a Best Choreography nomination from the Black Theater Arts Alliance for The Groove To Nobody's Business, her debut work for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and was among the first cohort of fellows for Ailey's New Directions Choreography Lab.
Dance companies that have commissioned her work are: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Philadanco, Urban Bush Women, Complexions, Ailey II, Ballet Memphis, TU Dance, and Hubbard Street II, to list a few. Camille and her dancers have performed at major dance venues around the country including The Joyce Theater, Bates Dance Festival, White Bird Dance and Jacob's Pillow. Her works have been performed at The Kennedy Center, The Apollo, Brooklyn Academy Of Music, Madison Square Garden and New York City Center. She was the Choreographer for Saverio Palatella's line, Wholegarment 3D, for New York Fashion Week in 2008.
A graduate of the LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts, Brown earned a B.F.A. from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. From 2001-2007, she was a member of Ronald K. Brown's company Evidence, A Dance Company, and was a guest artist with Rennie Harris' Puremovement, and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (2008 and 2011).
A career highlight for Camille, was being named choreographer for the Broadway revival of A Streetcar Named Desire in 2012, along with the off-Broadway musical production Soul Doctor. She also choreographed The Foundry Theatre's production of Pins & Needles in 2011. Brown is currently choreographing William Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale for The McCarter Theater (Princeton, NJ) which will also run at the Shakespeare Theater in Washington, DC in spring 2013. Brown is also working on choreography for Fortress of Solitude, a new musical slated to debut at The Public Theater in 2014. For more information, go to www.camilleabrown.org.
|THAT PLAY: A SOLO MACBETH and SOUTHERN GOTHIC NOVEL Set for Stage Left Studio, May 2013|
May 03, 2013
|Kitchen Theatre Company Begins AND, LATELY... Performances, 5/8|
April 29, 2013
|Ka-Tet Theatre to Stage Chicago Premiere of SMUDGE, 5/25-6/23|
April 25, 2013
|Kitchen Theatre Company Celebrates Earth Day|
April 23, 2013
|Kitchen Theatre Offers Pay What You Can Night at THE MOTHERF**KER WITH THE HAT, 4/24|
April 22, 2013