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THE OTHER HERE
BIG DANCE THEATER’s latest work, THE OTHER HERE collides Eastern and Western elements to offer an engaging meditation on the quest for purpose in a modern world rife with perplexity. Layered with the pleasures of BIG DANCE THEATER's expert use of dance, music, and visual design, including re-inventions of ancient Okinawan dance, as well as singing and dancing to Okinawan traditional & pop music, THE OTHER HERE moves us through a surprising day inspired by the real-life Million Dollar Round Table, the exuberant global gathering of top life insurance salespeople. As the salesmen sing, dance, drink tea, make speeches and take lunch around a large table/dance-floor/stage, they embody for us the slipperiness of contemporary life, where death and disaster mean everything and nothing, sincerity and falsity are hopelessly intertwined, and cultures exist in global free-fall.
Woven in and around this world of surfaces, and gradually taking it over, is "the other here", an alternative reality inspired by the classic stories of the legendary Japanese writer Masuji Ibuse. Masterpieces of subtle, emotional accumulation, the stories—“Life at Mr. Tange's”, a servant-master tale of vanished prosperity, and “The Carp”, a restrained tale of loss—turn the convention's surface agendas inside out to root us in a realm of meaning and depth. Suffused with the wisdom and humanity of Ibuse, and the beauty and wit of BIG DANCE THEATER's artistry, THE OTHER HERE elegantly and entertainingly takes us on a journey from disjunction to connection, from artifice to truth.
Co-Directed by Paul Lazar and Annie-B Parson, choreographed by Annie-B Parson, THE OTHER HERE promises to be an exquisite evening of theater, with Takeshi Kata’s set beautifully cycling through the seasons, and Peter Flaherty's video carp swimming in and out of the action. THE OTHER HERE will also feature lighting by Jennifer Tipton, sound by Jane Shaw and costumes by Claudia Stephens. Veteran BIG DANCE THEATER members Paul Lazar and Molly Hickok will be at the center of the six-member ensemble.
The Japan Society, New York, is the lead commissioner, with funds from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and co-producer of The Other Here. The Other Here is co-produced by Big Dance Theater, and co-commissioned by the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland, Dance Theater Workshop, and Works & Process at the Guggenheim. Essential development support provided by Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival through its Creative Development Residency Program. Additional residency support provided by Lafayette College in Easton, PA. Kim Whitener, KiWi Productions, is Executive Producer.
The Other Here was made possible, in part, by a grant from the Association of Performing Arts Presenters Ensemble Theatre Collaborations Grant Program, a component of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Theatre Initiative. Additional support for The Other Here has been received from The Greenwall Foundation, Asian Cultural Council, Mental Insight Foundation, Altria Group, Inc., The Tobin Foundation, The JPMorganChase Regrant Fund, a project of A.R.T./NY, the Bossak-Heilbron Charitable Foundation and by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency.
The Other Here would not have been possible without the support of Big Dance Theater’s Commissioning Club: Nancy Crown, William and Mary Gridley, Peter and Helen Hage, Hope Hickok, Lisa Yun Lee of Promesse de Bonheur, Barbara Parson, Starry Night Fund of the Tides Foundation, Catherine Tharin and Monty March, and Micki Wesson.
Big Dance Theater is a participant in the New Generations Program funded by Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and administered by Theatre Communications Group, the national organization for American Theater.