Butter Melts Away My Letters
First Floor Theatre
February 10 - 27, 2005
Thursday - Saturday 8:00pm
Sunday - 2:30pm & 8:00pm
Playwright & Director: Gian Marco Lo Forte
Choreographer: Stephanie Rafferty

Box office 212.475.7710

In "Butter Melts Away My Letters," a dark dance theater work conceived and directed by Gian Marco Lo Forte, choreographed by Stephanie Rafferty, a group of young friends (male and female) run away to New York City and hustle to make a living. They live in and share a two-floor loft space in the city; every night they open their house to new clients. After a night of sex-for-hire, early in the morning they get together around the kitchen table and talk and dream of other possible lives. But memories and dreams from their past come back. Lo Forte describes it as "a play about the discovery of sex, lost love and beauty as the fool's game that actors play."

The movement-based production is a sequence of memories and flashbacks to childhood, intended to illustrate the experiences that prefigured the characters' falling into this kind of life. It is told mostly from the point of view of a young transvestite, played by Chris Wild, whose voice-over with his remembrances underscores about a third of the play, mixed with occasional narrative from two other characters. The people of the play are meant to embody universal lives, so there are some conceptual twists, for example: in the character known as "the client," a closeted homosexual (played by Julia Martin), there is a woman playing a married man.

The story is conveyed through overlapping fragments of dialogue, monologues and short dance and movement sequences. The playscript by Gian Marco Lo Forte, rendered mostly in voice-overs but occasionally spoken live, is intertwined with music by Stefano Zazzera--primarily disco dance music manipulated with distortion, whispers and sounds--and extensive video by Angela Serra. Choreography by Stephanie Rafferty is frantic and energetic, reflecting primarily modern dance styles and amply influenced by the club scene. Costumes are designed by Denise Greber.

The piece has been developed collaboratively with its cast of six dancer/actors, three of whom are members of La MaMa's Great Jones Repertory. The performers are: Valois Mickins*, Julia Martin*, Chris Wild*, Allison Hiroto, Chris Mehmed and Marissa Lichwick (* indicates member, Great Jones Rep).

This is the second La MaMa production written and directed by Gian Marco Lo Forte and his second collaboration there with choreographer Stephanie Rafferty. In 2003, they adapted Checkhov's "The Seagull" as a dance theater project. Lo Forte is a member of La MaMa's Great Jones Rep and has acted in five of its productions. He designed the sets this year for La MaMa productions of "The Interlude" by Kim Ima and "ArchipelaGO" by SLANT. As assistant to Donald Eastman, he has collaborated on set designs for regional productions of "Frog and Toad," "The Servant of Two Masters" and "M. Butterfly."

Choreographer Stephanie Rafferty , beside her previously-mentioned collaboration with Gian Marco Lo Forte, has choreographed "Regained Innocence" and "Robin Hood," directed by Dan Friedman for the All Star Project at Castillo Theater. She has designed costumes for several shows Off-Broadway.

Composer/Sound designer Stefano Zazzera has composed music for "The Interlude" by Kim Ima at La MaMa, "ABC Talent Show" at Raw Theater, "The Loneliness of N. Chomsky" by N.Salzmann, productions of Ping Chong, the Lincoln Center Institute, Marino Formenti and FUS Festival , Italy. He directed "The Room on the Third Floor" (La Stanza al Terzo Piano), a dance theater work by him and John Sully,at La MaMa in 2001. He runs the NOBODEGA recording studio.

Costume designer Denise Greber designed the striking, colorful Amazon costumes for "Bokan, the Bad-Hearted" by Federico Restrepo at La MaMa this fall. She has been costume designer for productions at La MaMa ETC, Dixon Place, Theatre For the New City, as well as various international venues. She is an actor member of La MaMa's Great Jones Repertory Company and a member and Managing Director of Loco 7 Dance Puppet Theatre Company.

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