dancing vs. the rat experiment

The Annex
October 26 - November 12, 2006
Thursday - Saturday 7:30pm
Sunday 2:30pm & 7:30pm

Witness Relocation
Choreographed by Dan Safer


"Dan Safer and Witness Relocation strike me as a smart, inventive company with interesting things to say and a unique and evolving vocabulary with which to say them. This piece at La MaMa is a charmer."

- Martin Denton, nytheatre.com

Witness Relocation creates fiercely physical, visually arresting performances that defy easy categorization. www.witnessrelocation.org

About DANCING VS. THE RAT EXPERIMENT:

Where does that title come from? This production pits the company against Population Density and Social Pathology, John B. Calhouns landmark Behavioral Psychology Study, published in Scientific American, 1962.

In an eerily comfortable living room, danced scenes of daily life play out, and all the little things you dont normally notice are blown up and magnified, with brutality and beauty and a sick sense of humor. Beneath the surface something is brewing (as it always is). The room gets more and more crowded, furniture gets tipped over, and maybe the end of the world is happening on a very small scale. A documentary voiceover describes the disintegration of a society of rats, and maybe that has something to do with what is happening to all these people, or maybe it is just a coincidence. Then (what happened to that living room set? And all the conventions so carefully set up?) everybody is playing life or death games, and from these contests, the losers of each round are kicked out of the show, until only two remain, a different two every night, a new outcome. Like rats running through a maze, or suddenly finding yourself on a reality tv show, or getting dehumanized through basic army training or a high school gym class. In the end, the two survivors carry on, so maybe its a happy ending. Everyone wears suits and nice cocktail dresses, and a couple of beers are drunk.

The show pulls elements from Witness Relocations acclaimed Dancing vs. Blood on the Cats Neck (2004), which was produced in Bangkok at Patravadi Theatre, and collides a raw, American style of extreme dance theater with the grace, precision and formal storytelling methods of Thai Classical Dance.

- [WRs productions have] the sheer wonder of spectacle and the thrill of watching a company who clearly has their hands on the reins of craft poetic and gorgeously playful Safer and company achieve the sublime. nytheater.com

- Raw physical intensity against a backdrop of grace and beauty.- Bangkok Magazine

- Full of thought provoking images and theatrical originality one rarely sees these days; images that remained with me long after I left the theater. - Fred Frumberg, Amrita Performing Arts

ABOUT WITNESS RELOCATION

Witness Relocation (www.witnessrelocation.org) was formed in 2000. The company has performed at The Danspace Project/ St. Mark's Church, The Ohio Theater/ Soho Think Tank (in the Koltes NY Festival and the award winning Ice Factory Festival), The Revolutions International Theater Festival (NM), Dixon Place, New York University, and Patravadi Theatre, Bangkok. Past projects between members of Witness Relocation include productions at Dance Theater Workshop, the Currican Theater, and Baltimore Theater Project.

From 2004-06, Witness Relocation engaged in an ongoing collaboration and residency with the renowned Patravadi Theatre of Bangkok, Thailand. From a rigorous exchange of methodologies, ideas and practices has come a radical shift in direction. Out of the collision and collusion of different artistic as well as cultural perspectives, a unique interdisciplinary performance style has developed, combining Eastern and Western techniques; dance, theater, and installation art.

ABOUT DAN SAFER

Recent productions of choreographer/director Dan Safer include "In a Hall in the Palace of Pyrrhus" (NY and on tour), Thomas Lehmen's "Schreibstück" at the Bangkok Fringe Festival, "Bangkok Nutcracker"; "Cling," and "Dancing Vs. Blood on the Cat's Neck" at Patravadi Theatre; "Roberto Zucco" for the Koltes NY Festival at the Ohio Theater/Soho Think Tank, David Gieselmann's "Mr. Kolpert" at Dixon Place (NYC), Fassbinder's "Germany In Autumn & Katzelmacher" at New York University, and "No Exit" at the Dancespace Project/ St. Mark's Church. His work has been presented at the Ohio Theater, Dance Theater Workshop (four consecutive seasons), Joyce Soho, Downtown Arts Festival, Bryant Park Summerstage, Baltimore Theater Project (Outstanding Ensemble Award), and the 1st Annual Viewpoints in American Performance Conference.

Safer's work as an independent choreographer includes "The 2004 Miss Air Hostess Beauty Pageant" in Bangkok, the Thai TV soap opera "Mud," and theater productions including "The Maids" (CSC Rep, directed by David Esbjornson) and "Just As If…" (78th Street Theater Lab, directed by Andre Belgrader). Recently he was choreographer-in-residence at the AshLawn Opera Festival (Charlottesville, VA.), where he made dances for "West Side Story" and "The Merry Widow."

He has performed with Hong Kong choreographer Dick Wong, Obie award winners Ridge Theater, Jane Comfort & Company, Mabou Mines, the Blacklips Performance Cult, and others. He founded and directed the Bangkok Performance Boot Camp, is on the faculty at NYU. He has guest taught at Playwright's Horizons Theater School, Swarthmore College, Patravadi Theatre, University of New Mexico (Albuquerque), Tricklock Theater Company, Dhurakijpundit University, the Naropa Institute, and many other places.


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