Long Neglected Modernist Masterwork Channels the Voices of War's Aftermath
CalArts' Center for New Performance (CNP) in association with Los Angeles-based Poor Dog Group Premiere Gertrude Stein's Brewsie and Willie.
Los Angeles, CA, July 1, 2010—Men and women of the armed forces grapple with the anxiety of returning home in Brewsie and Willie, a world premiere stage adaptation of Gertrude Stein's post-World War II novella. Produced by California Institute of the Arts' (CalArts) Center for New Performance (CNP) in association with Poor Dog Group, a groundbreaking experimental theater collective, Brewsie and Willie opens with a preview on July 14th and runs Wednesdays through Sundays until August 1 at 8 pm. The location is the 7th Floor Penthouse at 533 South Los Angeles Street. Tickets and other information are available at brownpapertickets.com.
In timeless fashion, Brewsie, Willie and an array of other soldiers and nurses exist in limbo bracketed by the end of the war and their return to civilian life. This period of aimless rest and relaxation becomes a space of rambling reflection and the progenitor of a vast, indescribable anxiety. The core performing ensemble is drawn from Poor Dog Group, a thrilling young company made up of recent CalArts alumni, whose work has drawn attention throughout the United States and eastern Europe.
"The Poor Dog Group brings its remarkable aesthetic courage to the production," said CNP Artistic Director Travis Preston, who is also directing the production. "We are thrilled to pool our talents and resources with this vital collective of emerging artists and in the process, infuse both our organizations with fresh energy and direction."
This exploration of Stein's work exemplifies CNP's and Poor Dog Group's shared interest in developing original theatrical expression through radical reexaminations of existing texts. A closely knit ensemble, the group is uniquely suited to recreate the intimacy found among young soldiers. The fragility of their position as emerging artists is echoed in the vulnerabilities of Brewsie, Willie, and their fictional compatriots.
CalArts' Center for New Performance (CNP), the professional producing arm of the California Institute of the Arts, was established in 1999 as a forum for the creation of groundbreaking theatrical performance. Originally entitled the Center for New Theater, the name was expanded in 2005 to reflect the broad range of the Center's interests. Seminal artists from around the world are brought to CNP to develop work that expands the language, discourse, and boundaries of contemporary theater and performance. CNP productions have included Stephen Dillane's Macbeth, directed by Travis Preston, which premiered in Los Angeles and has subsequently toured to London and Australia, with upcoming performances in France and Germany; What to Wear, a post-rock opera directed and written by Richard Foreman and composed by Michael Gordon; and AH!, an interactive opera no-opera performed in 13 languages, which received its world premiere last September at REDCAT.
Poor Dog Group most recently presented the absurdist comedy, The Internationalists, at the Lillian Theater in Hollywood. In summer 2009, they toured the production through Poland, Croatia and Serbia. Click here for more information about Poor Dog Group.
Brewsie and Willie has received significant support from Kashco, the downtown realtor and development corporation. As a part of President Obama's American Recovery & Reinvestment Act, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) selected CNP and Poor Dog Group to receive $50,000 to support artist salaries for Brewsie and Willie.
CalArts has a multidisciplinary approach to its studies of the arts through six schools: Art, Critical Studies, Dance, Film/Video, Music and Theater. CalArts encourages students to explore and recognize the complexity of the many aspects of the arts. It is supported by a distinguished faculty of practicing artists and provides its Bachelor and Master of Fine Arts students with the hands-on training and exposure necessary for an artist's growth. CalArts was founded in 1961 and opened in 1969 as the first institution of higher learning in the United States specifically for students interested in the pursuit of degrees in all areas of visual and performing arts.