Rhythms in the Light (Rítmos na Luz)

written by: DuCarmo Alexandrino & Timaeus Egan
directed by: George Drance
featuring: DuCarmo Alexandrino

Performance Schedule:
September 27th to October 14th, 2001
Thursday - Sunday 8:00pm
Sunday Matinee 2:30pm
First Floor Theater

Rhythms in the Light is a powerful evening of music, prose and dance, written by Brazilian performance artist DuCarmo Alexandrino ("Alesh") in collaboration with Timaeus Egan, reflecting on the complexity and beauty of life. Alesh tells a story of guidance lost and regained through character acting, fables and a mixture of Brazilian and Latin American rhythms that weave together the traditional and the modern in an inspirational call for enlightenment. George Drance, a member of La MaMa's Great Jones Repertory, makes his La MaMa directing debut with the piece.

The storytelling of "Rhythms in the Light" derives from a common tradition of politically-repressed societies, which was awakened in Brazil during government repression of the 1960s. In that time, with the civil government taken over by the military, students and intellectuals began speaking through double meanings in order to communicate. Alesh constructs the performance around a central story of a grandfather who takes his young grandson fishing in a lake where there is a renowned, large fish that has never been caught. The grandfather catches the creature, then lets it go, in a metaphor of sharing freedom with the community, understanding oneself and finding one's place in the world. The boy will grow up with this image in his head, but it will be a haunted image: after returning to the house, the grandfather, an intellectual, is arrested. The grandfather has hidden his notebook inside a straw costume which is a family heirloom. Years later, after the boy's father and grandfather have both disappeared, he returns to the straw costume and finds the long-lost notebook, which contains a page with the title, "Rhythms in the Light.'" He discovers its meaning by dancing in the costume. It is a lesson in repression versus freedom, personal identity versus societal duty, tradition versus individualism and political resistance versus acquiescence.

The piece was originally developed in Brazil but is entirely new in this La MaMa incarnation. It incorporates traditional Brazilian folk dance, modern dance, singing and characters that are right off the Brazilian streets. It is performed in English but its songs, a mixture of folkloric and modern selections, are sung in Portuguese, Spanish and English.

DuCarmo Alexandrino grew up in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil's third largest city, and has enjoyed a prolific career as a dancer, singer and actor. He was a student of many renowned artists including Denise Stoklos and Rufo Herreira. As a singer, he recorded with the Grammy winning musician and composer Milton Nascimento. In Brazil, he developed a program called "Multicultural Interarts," which mixes dance with music and theater and which he has taught to college teachers there and in other countries. He is presently in the USA on the invitation of the New School University, teaching this technique. His nickname, Alesh, is an abbreviation of his last name.

Co-author Timaeus Egan is a poet, writer, sculptor and painter who works as a graphic artist at AOL-Time Warner. He lives in New York City and has traveled to and researched Brazilian music, culture and history for the past 15-years. He has collaborated with Alesh on a number of productions including "Mysticus Brazilis" and "Vozes."

Director George Drance has been for six years an actor of La MaMa's Great Jones Repertory. As a director, he was trained at Columbia University under the tutelage of Andrei Serban, Priscilla Smith and Anne Bogart. He has also acted at NYSF and ART, Boston. He directed an English adaptation of Calderon de la Barca's "Life is a Dream" (the 1677 version) at Marquette University and Cathedral of St. John the Divine. He worked two years in Honduras with Teatro la Fragua (The Forge Theatre) and was a founder of Theatre YATU in Nairobi. He has also directed plays at the Oglala Sioux Reservation in Pine Ridge, SD and was recently appointed an artist in residence at Fordham University.

2001 page