Lush Valley is set to play September 7- 24 at HERE (145 Sixth Avenue), this highly interactive guided journey is shaped nightly by real-time audience feedback. Lush Valley invites audience members to abandon their spectator hats and become key players in fashioning an alternative of-the-moment national ethos through live video interviews, citizenship tests, lectures, voting procedures and historical hallucinations while creating an ad hoc community within the show. This HERE Resident Artist Production kicks off HERE's 2011-12 Season.
Lush Valley is hatched by the following artists: HERE Artistic Director Kristin Marting, dramaturg Mahayana Landowne and video artist Tal Yarden, writers Robert Lyons and Qui Nguyen, designers Oana Botez Ban, Christopher Kuhl, Clint Ramos and Jane Shaw, and performers Marc Bovino, Karyn De Young, Matthew Lewis, Irene Longshore, Rudy Mungaray, Mariana Newhard, Abigail Ramsay, Suzi Takahashi, Dax Valdes and Reed Whitney. Created by this diverse ensemble of collaborators, Lush Valley takes the pulse of contemporary culture while stripping away assumptions about the American Dream that have been embraced, consciously and unconsciously, for generations.
Lush Valley is set in a government office staffed by eight immigration officers who process audience members nightly for citizenship to Lush Valley. The Lush Valley experience features everything from intimate monologues delivered to individual audience members to surreal comic book group scenes and choreographed sequences of bureaucratic alienation performed by the entire company. Within this complex framework, a narrative built around the hopes and worries of a cadre of immigration officers transpires as they question each other's motives and ethics in granting and denying citizenship. During the show each night, real-time audience feedback shared through person-to-person interaction, texting, on-site kiosks and online social media is incorporated into the proceedings. This production has evolved through a very open, public collaboration that helped define the project through online dialogue (via blog and facebook), in-person community think tanks, video interviews and public art actions.
This production was developed through 8 public think tanks, various retreats and workshops including: a retreat at NACL in the Catskills, a participatory session at CUNY's PRELUDE, a workshop at Baruch College, the art action Picket Dreams (where the Lush Valley team invited 1,000 passers-by to paint their personal American Dream onto a plank and add it to a growing white picket fence of 1,000 American Dreams). An excerpt from Lush Valley was presented as a work in development at HERE's Culturemart festival in January 2011. Most recently, the creative team enjoyed a weekend at the Figment Festival on Governor's Island with a project called Identity Politics (during which they roamed with ballot boxes enticing citizens to vote on elements of Lush Valley's national identity) and a developmental residency at the Playwrights Center in Minneapolis.
Creative Team Biographies:
Kristin Marting (Director) has constructed 24 works for the stage, including 10 original hybrid works, 8 adaptations of novels & short stories and 5 classic plays. She works in a collaborative, process-driven way to fuse different disciplines into a cohesive whole. Recent projects include Orpheus, a collaborative alt-musical; James Scruggs' solo work Disposable Men and his recent new play (RUS)H. She also directed Sounding and Dead Tech (collaborative hybrid works inspired by Ibsen texts), both of which received MAP Fund awards. Her works have toured the US. She has collaborated on several large-scale political action art events, including The Line (2004). For 15 years, she has been developing a unique hybrid directorial/choreographic form that features a "gestural vocabulary" used both as an emotional signifier and as a choreographic element. This vocabulary, though specific to each project, is in a state of constant development with an ever-growing set of permanent gestures being added to the repertoire. She is a co-founder and the Artistic Director of HERE, where she cultivates artists and programs all events for two performance spaces-including 14 OBIE-award winners - for an annual audience of 45,000. She created and co-curates HARP, HERE's Artist Residency Program. For 19 years, she curated The American Living Room, an annual summer festival featuring over 30 new works by emerging artists; and for 8 years, QUEER@HERE, an annual festival of LGBT work. She regularly serves on grant panels for NEA, NYSCA, DCA and TCG among others. In 2005, she was honored with a BAX10 Award for Arts Managers. Previously, Marting co-founded and served as co-artistic director of Tiny Mythic Theatre Company for nine years. She served as Robert Wilson's assistant for Hamletmachine and Salome, and as a director for Childrens Theatre at the Berkshire Theatre Festival. She graduated from NYU with honors in 1988. She has lectured at NYU, Harvard, Columbia and Williams College, among others.