Chang In A Void Moon
Friday through Sunday
The Annex
Episodes #53, #54 & #55

written, directed & designed by John Jesurun
featuring John Hagan, Donna Herman, Ruth Gray, Helena White, Anna Kohler, Sanghi Wagner, Oscar de la Fe Colon, Lisa Herman, Nicky Paraiso, Rebecca Moore, Greg Mehrten, Mary Shultz, Black-Eyed Susan, Ching Valdes-Aran, David Cale and Antonio Cerezo
music by Barbez

CHANG IN A VOID MOON, the first serialized play ever produced in NY, began in 1982 at the Pyramid Club with Episode #1, won a Bessie in 1985, and has been highly acclaimed through over 50 episodes to-date. The Village Voice wrote, "Chang…proves that childishness and exaggerated foolery aren't incompatible with a decidedly serious vision of the world." NY Beat said it contains "the astonishingly fleet, literate dialogue of screwball comedies." Now in its 21st year, the original theater work returns with members of the original cast in three entirely new episodes. Performers will include original cast members John Hagan, Donna Herman, Ruth Gray, Helena White, Anna Kohler (Wooster Group), Sanghi Wagner, Oscar de la Fe Colon, Lisa Herman (Golden Palominos), Nicky Paraiso (La MaMa/Meredith Monk), Rebecca Moore, Greg Mehrten (Mabou Mines) and Obie Winners Mary Shultz (Meredith Monk), Black-Eyed Susan (Charles Ludlam), Ching Valdes-Aran and David Cale. There will also be special surprise guests.

John Jesurun, a winner of the MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship in 1996, is widely acknowledged as one of the foremost innovators of avant-garde theater, creating virtuoso works that overlap media and language in surprising and unpredictable ways.
Each episode of CHANG IN A VOID MOON plays with various media forms, pop-cultural constructs and entertainment genres. Essentially a soap opera, the drama (comedy and mystery) of "Chang…" revolves around the exploits of a businessman by that name and his schemes to defraud the Peters clan, a wealthy family steeped in severe dysfunction. The construction of "Chang…" is as important as its text. It is converged by the influence of film, television and radio rather than by theatrical convention. Scenes begin and end abruptly, as if cut and spliced together. Camera effects are replicated: actors are frequently suspended on platforms in various configurations to suggest overhead shots, long shots, and shots from below. Stagings have included helicopter rescues, sailboat races, a floating saxophone, car crashes and chases.
Like all of Jesurun’s work, Chang is driven by word-play: puns, allusions, and non-sequiturs. Playful phrasing enhances the dialogue’s rhythmic quality, and speaking Jesurun’s dialogue, his characters create a nearly symphonic chorus. Throughout the play, rhythms are often interrupted then redeveloped. This style, distinctly Jesurun’s, has been viewed as a precurser of “sampling” which anticipated the technique’s casual and widespread use in all forms of pop music.
Music is by Barbez, a New York art-rock ensemble. The New Yorker has written, “Barbez includes a brilliant theremin player who smokes cigarettes and a full –throated Russian singer who comes across like Joan of Arc with a sense of Humor. They cover everything from Bertolt Brecht to Black Sabbath, but the real attractions is their melodically haunting originals. With a folk-music sound located somewhere between turn-of-century Eastern Europe and modern America, it’s arty rock that moves between brooding and winking.”
Born in Battle Creek, MI in 1951, John Jesurun was originally trained as a sculptor at the Philadelphia College of Art and studied film at Yale before turning to playwriting in the early 1980's. He was the Associate Producer of "The Dick Cavett Show." for two years. He has received grants and fellowships from the Rockefeller and Guggenheim Foundations as well as the NEA. In addition to La MaMa, his works have been presented in major venues and festivals both nationally and internationally. Jesurun's work has long been distinguished by his use of film and video to destabilize the audience's sense of reality. In 1986, his "Deep Sleep" had two 70-minute films projected on facing screens while the five actors were caught in between. The on-screen actors warned their live equivalents, "Do you see the machines? They're the projectors. They are projecting you...You must get off that roll of film so that when the film runs out you'll be safe."
With "Chang…," Jesurun has consistently worked with some of New York’s most exciting performers. Over the years his company has featured: Steve Buscemi, Ethyl Eichelberger, the performance artist John Kelly, Black-Eyed Susan. George Osterman, David Cale, Michael Tighe, Rebecca Moore, Frank Maya, Mimi Goese, and choreographer Neil Greenberg, among others. Many of these performers first came to prominence with their work in "Chang…," and most of them continue to appear in new episodes.
Jesurun received an Obie in 1986 for "Deep Sleep." His other La MaMa works to-date are "Black Maria" (1987), "Red House" (1984), "Number Minus One" (1984), "Dog's Eye View" (1984), "Iron Lung" (1992), "Point of Debarkation" (1993), “Slight Return” (1995) and a revival of his most famous work, "Shatterhand Massacree," in 1992. His play "Philoktetes," written for Ron Vawter, has been published in the Yale Theater Magazine. It will be presented by The Club at La MaMa this Spring, from March 4 to 21, 2004. Jesurun's "Faust/How I Rose" will be presented at BAM's Next Wave Festival in Fall, 2004.

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