SEGUIRIYA: THE HEART BEATS

conceived and directed by: Shigeko Suga
performers: Mieko Seto Naomi Shibata Minouche Waring, Kumi Kuwahata, Aundré Chin, Bret Boyle, Lisa Ann Williamson, Antonio Cerezo and Mitsunari Sakamoto
musician: Cristian Puig
set: Jun Maeda
lighting: Scott Rosenfeld & Levia Lew
costumes: Denise Greber
stage manager: Kaori Fujiyabu
assistant stage manager: Jeng-Hua Yu

Performance Schedule:
April 25 to May 12, 2002
Thursday - Sunday 8:00pm
Sunday Matinee 2:30pm
First Floor Theatre
$15.00


La MaMa will present Indalo Artists in "Seguiriya, the Heart Beats," a Flamenco Butoh ritual drama conceived and directed by Shigeko Suga, from April 25 to June 12. Seguiriya is an Andalucian Flamenco rhythm that is a part of more dramatic melodies leading to the sound of heart beats. In this work, it expresses the inner dialogue of a woman who suffers from stroke, who was once a flamenco dancer with great passion for life.

The dramatic situation of this interdisciplinary work is somewhat reminiscent of "Wings" by Arthur Kopit, a play in which the stroke victim was a wing-walker. In fact, director Shigeko Suga attests that Kopit's play was inspiring and provocative to her. The words are mostly sung or chanted in "Seguiriya, the Heart Beats," and drawn not from Kopit's play but from traditional Andalusian flamenco lyrics and words of Suga's own mother, who was a stroke sufferer.

The work is performed primarily by Mieko Seto as pre-stroke dancer and Naomi Shibata as the woman deprived of life. They are supported by the ensemble of: Minouche Waring, Kumi Kuwahata, Aundré Chin, Bret Boyle, Lisa Ann Williamson, Antonio Cerezo and Mitsunari Sakamoto, who play various roles surrounding the woman. Flamenco music and chants will be performed by Cristian Puig. Set is by Jun Maeda, costumes are by Denise Greber and include traditional Flamenco costumes. Stage Manager is Kaori Fujiyabu.

Shigeko Suga is a member of La MaMa's Great Jones Repertory Company and a noteworthy Flamenco dancer in her own right. Since 1991, she has been pushing the Flamenco envelope by melding it with Japanese dance forms and classic plays in a succession of ingenious concept pieces. She adapted Genet's "The Maids" into a Flamenco story at The Kitchen in 1991; the production was subsequently presented as part of the International Tollwood Festival in Munich in 1998. She adapted Genet's "Le Balcon" into a Flamenco story at La MaMa in 1992, featuring the late Maria Alba in her final performance. The New York Times (Jennifer Dunning) wrote, "There cannot have been many flamenco-Butoh stagings of the plays of Jean Genet. But Shigeko Suga, a member of La MaMa's Great Jones Repertory Company, proved that it can be done....Every bit of the stage space is used imaginatively. And the actors are persuasive."

In 1995, Suga directed her "Sotoba Komachi, Teatro Flamenco y Butoh" in Mexico City, featuring Maria Elena Anaya. The piece was an adaptation of Yukio Mishima's play about a bag lady and the young poet who falls in love with her ("Sotoba Komachi", part of his "Five Modern Noh Plays"), interpreted through a mixture of Spanish Flamenco, Japanese Butoh and Samurai Sword Movements. It was subsequently presented by La MaMa. In 1997 at La MaMa, she choreographed Las Flamencas Oriental: CoCo Girls in "Pasando," an evening of steamy, sexy, Spanish dance designed to evoke a traditional Andalusian nightclub.

Her last work was "Shiku-Hakku, The Eight Sufferings" (La MaMa, 2000), a work based on Japanese Buddhist legends. Jack Anderson (New York Times) wrote, "Flamenco, Butoh, African and tap and modern dance were skillfully combined with speech and acting" and Ryo Abe wrote in OCS News, "In spite of its heavy subject, Shigeko Suga's direction with humor led the spectators into laughter."

Suga has acted in La MaMa's "Mythos Oedipus" as Hera and in the Serban/Swados "The Trojan Women" as Hecuba. Her teachers included (Butoh) Natso Nakajima and Ushio Amagtatsu of San Kai Juku and (Flamenco) Maria Alba. She is also a member of Pan Asian Rep, Yara Arts Group, Theatre Dionysus and Los Danzantes Spanish Dance Company.

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