FOR THE NEW CITY'S DREAM UP FESTIVAL PRESENTS
NEW YORK, July 15-- "The (New) Trial" is a radical version of "The New Trial" by Peter Weiss (1916-1982), adapted and directed by Dennis Yueh-Yeh Li. The play experiments with identity and power-relations, presenting a surreal look at the life of Joseph K, the chief attorney in an international corporation. The play explores K's obsessive idealism and his self-destructive methodology in helping others. Confined in his own docile body, K is manipulated as the public mask for the corporation to win the "war" over current global market expansion and eventually is abandoned by the corporation once the victory is obtained. "The (New) Trial" will have its world premiere September 1 to September 6 as part of Theater for the New City's 2015 Dream Up Festival.
"The New Trial" was originally written by Peter Ulrich Weiss (8 November 1916 – 10 May 1982), a German writer, painter, graphic artist and experimental filmmaker of adopted Swedish nationality. He is particularly known for his plays "Marat/Sade" and "The Investigation" and his novel "The Aesthetics of Resistance." Weiss earned his reputation in the post-war German literary world as a proponent of an avant-garde, meticulously descriptive writing, as an exponent of autobiographical prose and also as a politically engaged dramatist. His "The Investigation" served to broaden the debates over the so-called "Vergangenheitspolitik" or "politics of history." Weiss' magnum opus was "The Aesthetics of Resistance," called the "most important German-language work of the 70s and 80s." His early, surrealist-inspired work as a painter and experimental filmmaker remains less well known.
"The New Trial" is a naturalistic play presented in both English and German depicting the life of a mundane docile body named K. It seeks to coerce its audience to reflect on their own bodies. Inspired by this goal, "The (New) Trial," follows the chronological plot of Weiss' work, further exploring the construction of these docile bodies of the self and of others while also bringing Weiss' aesthetic and German post-war theater to American audiences. The play enables performers and audience members to experience and examine the power-relations within the society of the show as well as their own.
The work is staged in a deconstructive way, interwoven and interrupted by excerpts from Kafka's "The Trial" and by performers' monologues that allow them to share personal experiences of their lives as actors as well as comment on contemporary society through the lens of their own cultural backgrounds. "The (New) Trial" experiments with creating layers of identity, using the presence of the audience as a tool to show the way people manipualte the power dynamic based on who's watching. The play also allows us to witness the process of civilization with its discontents and the hierarchal system of power that constrains us. These layers of power are created in the play through performers speaking to themselves as performers and as characters on stage and through one or more characters being portrayed by different performers. "The (New) Trial" is set on a stage whose floor is a giant mirror, forcing actors to perform characters while simultaneously presenting themselves as actors on stage. The play uses expressionist music as well, employing a powerful sensory experience that deconstructs the many layers that make up identity. The show is constantly experimenting with procreating, penetrating and subverting different power relations among human beings.
Dennis Yueh Yeh Li (adaptor, director, producer) earned his Master's degree in Performance Studies at Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. As a director, playwright, performer and performance artist, he has devised productions that address sexuality, literature, philosophy and politics. His work offers unique perspectives on time, space, identity and power-relations. He is currently the Artistic Associate of The Living Theatre and an ensemble member of The Forum Project. His directing credits include "Freud Out Loud--A Performative Reading of Civilization and Its Discontents" (Judson Memorial Church), "To Defend Freedom" (The Secret Theatre), "Upcoming Train/Stopped Clock/Untitled Waiting" (Theater for the New City), "Marat/Sade" (Taipei, Taiwan) and others.
The cast features a newly formed international theater ensemble: Leah Bachar (United States), Brad Burgess (United States), Jody Doo (Singapore), Maria Hoffmann (Germany), Samantha Höfer (Germany), Omri Kadim (Israel), and Maite Uzal (Spain). Lighting design is by Yi-Chung Chen (Taiwan), stage design is by You-Shin Chen (Taiwan) and sound design is by Yung-Chin Chang (Taiwan).
The sixth Dream Up Festival (www.dreamupfestival.org) will be presented by Theater for the New City (TNC) from August 30 to September 20, 2015, offering a lineup of wide-ranging and original theatrical visions embracing drama, musicals, improv, aerial and more. This year, owing to growing popularity, the festival has expanded beyond its primary venue. Previously, all productions were presented at Theater for the New City, 155 First Ave. This year, 19 productions will be presented at TNC and seven will be presented at an outside venue, The Producers Club Theaters at 358 West 44th Street.
The festival is dedicated to new works. TNC feels this festival is especially needed now in a time of declining donations to the arts, when grants are not being awarded due to market conditions and arts funding is being cut across the country and abroad. The festival aims to push ideas to the forefront through imaginative presentations so as to challenge audience expectations and make us question our understanding of the way art illuminates the world around us.
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