Maybe things won’t ever be okay and you might need some sort of exorcism, but let’s figure out if we can be happy in the meantime.
Cheerfully nihilistic dance/theater by the iconoclastic Witness Relocation/Dan Safer. Topics include animals, pleasant afternoons, high kicks, torture, a viola, and vivid descriptions of dystopia.
THE HISTORY OF EMPIRES is comprised of a solo directed and co-choreographed by Dan Safer, performed and co-choreographed by Marcus McGregor, and a duet with Daniel Pettrow and McGregor.
THE HISTORY OF EMPIRES marks McGregor’s return to performance after a 15-year hiatus, following a long and distinguished career as a dancer with DANCE THEATRE OF HARLEM and FELD BALLET. Daniel Pettrow is known for his work with THE WOOSTER GROUP, French director Arthur Nauzyciel and choreographer John Heginbotham, amongst many others.
THE HISTORY OF EMPIRES was originally developed starting September 2020 at the height of the pandemic when Safer and McGregor and then composer Frederickson hunkered down together with Chuck Mee’s text and Frederickson’s score weekly for almost two years in a ‘pod’ at Safer’s home/studio in upstate New York. The piece has grown to include a film by Tom Kalin (SWOON, SAVAGE GRACE) and recorded texts by Kevin Mambo (FELA) and Angela Winkler, the German New Wave film star of THE TIN DRUM, and a duet section created with McGregor and Pettrow. Everything is designed by Jay Ryan (lights) and Deb O (set/costume) and produced by Sophie Ancival.
Photo by Christopher L. Hicken
Director / Choreographer: Dan Safer
Performer / Co-Choreographer: Marcus McGregor
Performer / Co-Creator: Daniel Pettrow
Text: Chuck Mee
Original Music / Sound: Christian Frederickson
Set and Costume Design: Deb O
Lighting Design: Jay Ryan
Projections: Tom Kalin
Voiceovers: Kevin Mambo and Angela Winkler
Producer: Sophie Ancival
Stage Manager: Sarah Greenberg
Since 2000, Witness Relocation have made cheerfully nihilistic dance/theater all over the world. This is their eighth show in 16 years at La MaMa. Witness Relocation formed in 2000 and makes shows ranging from original dance/theater to fully scripted plays to many things in between. They’ve received three New York Innovative Theater Awards and perform at venues including Abrons, Bushwick Starr, NYC Summer Stage, JACK, American Repertory Theater, Fuse Box Festival, and internationally in France, Thailand, Poland, Russia, Romania, Egypt, and more.