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Thursday, July 23, 2015

And here's what the New Yorker said....

7/22





All week long, Geoffrey has been sitting out front in a  sombrero and African skirt with a cup, shaking it as people pass by. He doesn’t usually do that. But then he doesn’t normally wear a sombrero either. The two sisters are camping out on the steps every day until the doors open for Antigona. I went with Pat and Steve B to play a show at a youth hostel in Queens. Got back in time for the last half of Antigona and to meet my son Nate and his friend. Nate is amazed at how the show has grown since he saw them at the Joyce. This is something else, for sure.

Last night, Elise recalled Woodshed’s The Tenant at West-Park (.http://west-parkpress.blogspot.com/search?q=The+Tenant) And Carman recalled the residency of Bread and Puppet theatre.(http://west-parkpress.blogspot.com/2013/11/paper-mache-religion.html )There have been some amazing things here at West-Park. I loved what the New York Times said about a downtown vibe. We’ve had that for years. Maybe now it will be seen by more….

Here is what the New Yorker had to say:




CREDITILLUSTRATION BY DADU SHIN

The grand scale of Greek tragedy suits the passionate flamenco of Soledad Barrio.
For many years, Spaniards have been agitating for the mass graves left over from the Spanish Civil War to be opened up and DNA tests done, in the hope that people who disappeared during those years—the poet Federico García Lorca is only the most famous case—might be identified and properly buried. In 2008, Baltasar Garzón, one of the country’s most prominent investigating magistrates, ordered the exhumations. A month later, the case was removed from Garzón’s jurisdiction, with some saying that, whatever the crimes involved, they were covered by an amnesty passed in 1977. Two years later, Garzón was suspended from judicial activity in Spain—a great victory for the country’s right wing.
“I read that in the paper,” Martín Santangelo, the artistic director of New York’s Noche Flamenca, says, “and I thought, It’s ‘Antigone’—demagogues not just killing people but leaving them in the dirt, dishonoring them.” And that, he says, was the genesis of his “Antigona,” a flamenco version of Sophocles’ play, which opens at the West Park Presbyterian Church on July 21, and will play through August 8. It has eight dancers (a hip-hop specialist as well as flamencos), four musicians, and song lyrics adapted from Dudley Fitts and Robert Fitzgerald’s translation of “Antigone.” In the role of Creon, the king of Thebes, is the singer Manuel Gago, suitably self-important, in big black boots. Creon’s niece Antigone, whom he tries to prevent from burying her brother Polyneices, because Polyneices warred against him, is played by New York’s greatest flamenco dancer—indeed, one of the city’s greatest theatre artists—Soledad Barrio. Barrio is also Santangelo’s wife. He built Noche Flamenca around her.
Greek tragedy and flamenco, it turns out, are well matched, both dealing with grief and defiance on an unashamedly grand scale. And flamenco, with its music and dance, supplies the ritual element that we are told was essential to Greek tragedy but which is often absent from modern productions of it. Never, until I saw Santangelo’s ensemble, their heels stamping, their arms cutting through the air, had I seen a chorus whose physical force could support the fate-heavy songs that Sophocles wrote for his plays. As for Barrio, though she spoke rarely, dancing seemed better than words: no rhetoric, no explanations, but just passion, majesty, absorption. At the end, Antigone, sealed up in a cave by Creon—she did manage to bury her brother—performs a long, nearly demented solo, as she tries to muster the courage to hang herself. She succeeds. Then her fiancé, Creon’s son, finds her and kills himself over her body. His mother, Creon’s wife, enters and, drawing a knife, tops off the pile. “There is no happiness where there is no wisdom,” the blind prophet Tiresias says. Poor Creon falls to the floor. ♦

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