Bad Bugs Bite

January 23 - February 9, 2003
Thursday - Sunday 7:30pm
The Annex Theatre

conceived and directed: Andrea Paciotto
created with the collaboration of:
music and media programming: Jan Klug
visuals and media programming: Sander Trispel
performers: Charlotte Brathwaite , Monika Haasova, Jelena Jovanovic
additional film/assistant director: Zlatko Stojilovic
light designer/technitian: Jasper Buurman

The play focuses on the violent and aggressive impulses stemming from the body. It interweaves movement theater, text and music into a dreamlike, kaleidoscopic composition of video, sound and live actions. Although it is non-didactic, it is a challenge to indifference in light of man’s destructive and violent actions.

The piece draws upon a fairytale by Serbian Nobel Prize winning author Ivo Andric (1892-1975) named “Aska and the Wolf,” the viscerally disruptive sculptures of American artist Kiki Smith, and three short stories written by Andrea Paciotto. Andrea Paciotto is one of La MaMa's resident directors; this production has been developed in Europe and mentored by Anne Bogart. It will premiere at the Grand Theatre in Groningen, the Netherlands, on January 16, 2003.

In Ivo Andric's fairytale, a little lamb survives the encounter with a wolf by finding within her little body the strenght to react, not to defend herself, but to dance. She feels an unexpected power. Andric says in the story, "We really don't know how much strength and what capacities are concealed within ourselves. We do not suspect all we are capable of; we come into being and pass away without ever recognizing all we could have been and done." The performance is based on the same question: what traces do we have hidden in ourselves? In order to address this question, the body, considered as a container that can transcend material and physical reality, becomes the main focus of the performance. In some of Kiki Smith's sculptures, the body is opened, dissected, fragmented and manipulated; this production attempts to do this electronically. Through a system of video cameras, projectors, motion tracking devices, contact mikes and interactive computer tools, the body is scanned to expose the traces of hidden memories. These tools also become a means through which the intimacy of the performers is intruded upon. Their physical and emotional activities are monitored and amplified to create the illusion that it is possible to magnify and expose the inner workings of one’s consciousness. The actions they execute on stage are directly linked to visual and acoustic events in the space and mixed live with other pre-recorded images and sounds. The resulting live-film is simultaneously visible through large video projections enveloping the space. The audience are meant to feel as if they were entering inside somebody's dream. There is an aggressor, a victim and a witness; these roles are played subtly in a game without defined borders. The audience, drawn into the game, is confronted with an experience leaving them with the impression that what they have seen was a reflection of their own dream.

The Indifference Project is a multicultural, multi-national project originating out of an urge to react, within the frame of a creative process, to the complex international political events surrounding the conflict in the Balkans. Without transforming the artistic process into a political discourse or didactic representation, the project aims to raise questions about man’s destructive and violent actions and behaviors and the occurrence of indifference towards such behaviors. Through the physical experience of the performance, it wishes to seduce the audience into an intimate confrontation with their own individual attitudes.

"Bad Bugs Bite" was initiated by Andrea Paciotto in November, 2000, as a DasArts Field Project, and has been developing in various stages, through workshops, performances and experiments. Different artists and organizations in Europe, the Balkans and the United States collaborated along in the process. In December, 2000, a video interview, “Greetings from Serbia” was filmed in Belgrade. In August 2001, a collaborative performance/installation entitled “The Identity Crises of Emir Kusturica” was created at La MaMa Umbria International, in Spoleto (Italy), with the collaboration of Belgrade’s Center for Cultural Decontamination and Radio B92. In January, 2002, the experimental interactive script-website, “IN EMBRYO,” was launched on-line. In April, 2002, the performance, “Aska and the WolfPATCH” was presented at the Grand Theatre in Groningen. The piece was the result of a research period on the application of interactive computer programs in live performances in collaboration with Dutch video artist Sander Trispel and German composer/musician Jan Klug. Their research was carried on through a workshop with De Waag and residencies at Stichting Steim and the Grand Theatre. In May and June, 2002, there was a workshop with actors of the National Theatre and students from the Film Academy in Belgrade, concluding with two presentations: “3 Patches, A Work Demonstration” and “Prototypes,” which were performed at Belgrade’s Beton Hala Theatre on May 30 and June 1. In September, 2002, “Confession” was presented as an experiment in the informal setting of an apartment to a small number of invited audiences.

"Bad Bugs Bite" is conceived and directed by Andrea Paciotto, and created in collaboration with: Jan Klug (music and media programming), Sander Trispel (Visuals and media programming), three performers (Charlotte Brathwaite, Monika Haasova and Jelena Jovanovic), Zlatko Stojilovic (Additional film/assistant director), Jasper Buurman (Technician/light) and Kim Meijer (photos and design).

Director Andrea Paciotto began studying and working in the theater as an actor in Italy, but soon focused his attention towards directing and creating performances. He drew note for his 1994 US directorial debut at La MaMa: "W," a stunning adaptation of Büchner's "Woyzeck." Francine Russo wrote in the Village Voice, "Stripped to its elemental passions, 'W' skips the sociology and hurtles headlong at the heart."

His other noted La MaMa stagings include "Geranos: Dance Within the Labyrinth," an adaptation of the myth of the Minotaur created with Mia Yoo. Tobi Tobias, writing in the Village Voice, characterized the production as "a cross between Peter Brook and Adrianne Mnouchkine, before they got delusions of grandeur." In 1999, he helmed an admirable multicultural version of Frank Wedekind's "Spring Awakening" at La MaMa. The New York Theatre Wire (Melinda Guttmann) wrote, "For those who love European avant-garde performance art this production of an Expressionistic Theatre classic should not be missed! For those who want to experience the excitement of authentic cabaret, this production is thrilling!"

Paciotto grew up in Spoleto, Italy and was educated in Perugia and Pontedera and the United States. As an actor, he performed internationally with directors including Ellen Stewart, Andrei Seban, Luca Ronconi, Ludwig Flaszen and Jertzy Stuhr. He is a member of La MaMa's Great Jones Repertory Company and a resident director of La MaMa Umbria International. His works have been performed internationally, mainly in Europe, the United States and Mexico. He received a B.A. and a M.F.A. degree in directing from Brooklyn College.

He has worked for several Cultural and Governmental Institutions and independent groups in Mexico. In Europe, his theatre works have been shown in festivals and venues in Italy, The Netherlands, Austria, Turkey and Yugoslavia. Since September 2000 he has been enrolled in DasArts, Amsterdam’s Center For Advanced Research in Theatre and Dance and he began developing experimental projects on theatre and new media. These were carried out also through residencies within Stichting Steim, De Waag and the Grand Theatre. He has conducted workshops and practical courses in acting and theater at the University of Viterbo in Italy, at the Escuela Nacional de Danza in Mexico City and at the National Theatre in Belgrade.

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