AGITPROPS:
the Recycling Project


conceived and directed by: Yoshiko Chuma
collaboprating artists and performers: Taryn Griggs, Karinne Keithley, Jeff Larson and Chris Yon
set design: Tom Lee
lighting design: Jeff Larson, Tom Lee and Yoshiko Chuma
stage manager: Katy Pyle
performance schedule:
December 5 - 15, 2002
Thursday - Saturday 10:00pm
Sundays 5:30pm
also Wednesday December 11th at 10:00pm

Preview Wednesday December 4th at 10:00pm

the Club
tickets $15.00


"You need to challenge yourself in many ways," according to Yoshiko Chuma, doyenne of The School of Hard Knocks. One way is to collaborate with younger dancers, whose more academic training inclines them toward a facility with props you didn't find in the earlier generation of dancers. When you have a collection of props in storage since the early 1980s, there is a treasure trove for experimentation, and this was the impetus behind "AGITPROPS: the Recycling Project," a new work to be presented December 5 to 15 by The Club at La MaMa.

The piece is a new collaborative performance,conceived and directed by Chuma, featuring four stellar collaborating artists from the younger generation of the dance and performance scene: Taryn Griggs, Karinne Keithley, Jeff Larson and Chris Yon. Chuma remembers, if she thinks hard, what the props were used for originally; the ensemble members don't, and this gives birth to a series of surprises. An Object Elyseum is born with beach chairs, piles of The New York Post, hardhats, metronomes, a giant bananna and eight, count 'em eight, megaphones. It's all set in a maze of shelves created by Tom Lee.

The objects are re-objectified in dances that sometimes don't have much movement and often make a lot of noise. Sound poetry was and is a key component of Yoshiko Chuma's work and what the heck, there were eight bullhorns to work with. (Those bullhorns weren't cheap, she remembers. Too bad they haven't been used since "The Housing Project" in 1986.) Metronomes, on the other hand, have been a staple of Chuma's devices for almost 15 years.

The four "anchor artists" have been working to develop their segments both individually and in collaboration, under the direction of Yoshiko Chuma. Taryn Griggs, Karinne Keithley, Jeff Larson and Chris Yon transforn the NY Post into high coture, tremble in suitcases, elicit industrial sounds from a soccer ball, emit light from megaphones and muse on oranges.

Since 1984, the School of Hard Knocks has also had a reputation for introducing a fresh new generation of performers and collaborating with mature seasoned artists. "AGITPROPS." continues this tradition by also bringing in a series of guests familiar to the School of Hard Knocks, including Anthony Phillips, Meg Wolfe and Maggie O'Brien. The troupe is a collaborative effort of choreographers, dancers, actors, singers, musicians, designers, and visual artists working under the Artistic Direction of Yoshiko Chuma. It has created and performed original works in the US, Europe and in Asia, continuing to expand The School of Hard Knocks "pipeline." Over the course of the company's history, more than 1,000 people have performed under Chuma's direction in situations ranging from theatrical dance concerts to street performances, parades, and large-scale spectacles.

Yoshiko Chuma was born in Osaka, Japan and has lived and worked in the United States since 1978. Chuma has created more than 45 full-length company works, and as commissions and site-specific events for venues across the world. Her work has been presented in New York in venues ranging from the Joyce Theater to the legendary annual Halloween Parade; and abroad in such varied locations as the formal National Theater of Sarajevo, to the perimeter of the Hong Kong harbor to an ancient ruin in Macedonia. She is comfortable creating work in nearly any environment that challenges perceptions of performance to both audience and participant. Ms. Chuma is the recipient of several fellowships and awards for choreography and career work from: John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, NEA, NYFA, Japan Foundation, Meet the Composer Choreographer/Composer Commission, Philip Morris New Works, and received a 1984 BESSIE award for choreography and creation. She has led workshops and master classes in East and West Europe, Asia, Russia and the U.S. In 1992 at La MaMa, she choreographed "Jo Ha Ku," a work performed to a score by Tan Dun. In 1997, she was choreographer of "Golem" by Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theater, which had music composed, aranged and directed by Frank London (The Klezmatics) and following its La MaMa debut, was subsequently featured in the 1998 Jim Henson International Festival of Puppet Theater. Her last production was "PI=3.14" at The Club at La MaMa.

Chris Yon, a sometimes independent creator/performer, is more often associated with Justin Jones and their Chris & Justin Medicine Show.

Karinne Keithley is a choreographer, writer and sound designer currently living in Brooklyn. Her work has been seen in downtown NYC/Brooklyn since 1995 at venues including DTW, Danspace Project, Dixon Place, Dancenow, Joyce SoHo, and Galapagos. She currently performs with David Neumann, Yoshiko Chuma and Paul Matteson. She is the founder of the Fancy Stitch Machine, a production company dedicated to the proliferation of low-cost joy.

Taryn Griggs, a grad of North Carolina School of the Arts, has worked with Mary Cochran, Sara Hook, Ivy Baldwin, Anna Sperber and Alexander Gish. In 2002 she performed in Susan Rethorst's, Behold Bold Sam Dog at St. Marks Church. Taryn recently returned from the Bessie Schonberg residency at the Yard where she worked with Johannes Wieland and Chris Yon.

Jeff Larson, an NYU/Tisch grad, is a director, performer, designer and technician,who co-founded PHILIFOR & PHILIMOR with fellow NYU alum Annie Campbell. It has produced Samuel Beckett's "Endgame" (directed by Larson) and "Rough Draft," an original multimedia concert conceived by Adam Weiner (staged and technically directed by Larson). He has collaborated with Chris Yon and Justin Jones and appeared widely around town in both theater and dance productions.

This production is supported by the Dance Program of New York State Council on the Arts and private donations.

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