October 29, Los Angeles, CA--California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) School of Theater celebrates the work of playwright, poet, and essayist Adrienne Kennedy with the study and presentation of three of her groundbreaking pieces during its 2009-2010 season. CalArts will present Kennedy's acclaimed Funnyhouse of a Negro, along with the rarely performed Sun: A Poem for Malcolm X Inspired by His Murder, and June and Jean in Concert. All performances will be held in performance spaces on the CalArts campus, 24700 McBean Parkway, Valencia CA, 91355.
Funnyhouse of a Negro, directed by Michael John Garces, Artistic Director of Cornerstone Theater Company, runs December 9-15, 2009 in E400. June and Jean in Concert will be presented as an acting workshop April 2-5, 2010. Sun: A Poem for Malcolm X Inspired by His Murder has been re-imagined as a puppetry piece directed and designed by Dan Rae Wilson and runs April 27-30, 2010.
Kennedy first came on the national scene in 1962 with Funnyhouse of a Negro. "The play explores the complicated issue of intraracism," said CalArts School of Critical Studies faculty member Douglas Kearney. "Looking into internalized racial hatred is of vital importance today when the election of a black president invites some people to oversimplify the impacts of bigotry."
As a recurring presence in the School of Theater season, Kennedy's work will be a touchstone for the students and faculty throughout the year. Inspired by the themes of Hollywood movies and by cinematic techniques, her staged works are praised as surrealistic dream plays, hauntingly fragmentary and nonlinear lyrical dramas--high points in the development of the American one-act play and harbingers of feminist themes in contemporary Black womens' writing.
Adrienne Kennedy began to write and have her plays produced in the 1960s. She has been commissioned to write plays for the Public Theater, Jerome Robbins, The Royal Court, the Mark Taper Forum and Juilliard. Kennedy has been a visiting lecturer at many universities, including Yale, Princeton, Brown, New York University, the University of California at Berkeley and Harvard, and received an honorary doctorate from Ohio State University in 2003. Her plays have been widely anthologized and performed around the world. Kennedy is the recipient of an award in literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim fellowship, a Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund Writers' Award, the Pierre LeComte duNouy Foundation Award, the Anisfield-Wolf Lifetime Achievement Book Award, the PEN/Laura Pels Foundation Award for Drama and three Obies.
Michael John Garces (director, Funnyhouse of a Negro) is the Artistic Director of Cornerstone Theater Company. In his initial season as Artistic Director, Michael wrote the first play of Cornerstone's Justice Cycle, Los Illegals, which was subsequently produced in Phoenix, Arizona by Teatro Bravo. Other directing credits include, most recently, the break/s by Marc Bamuthi Joseph which co-premiered at the Humana Festival (Actors Theatre of Louisville) and the Walker Art Center. He has twice been in residence with a consensus-run collective, Sna Jtz'ibajom, in the highlands of Chiapas Mexico, collaborating in the creation of community-engaged work with the members of the Mayan community. Michael is on the executive board of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers. His full-length plays include points of departure (INTAR Hispanic American Arts Center) and Acts of Mercy (Rattlestick Playwrights Theater); short plays include tostitos, (Ensemble Studio Theatre Marathon of One-Act Plays) on edge and the ride (Humana, "The Open Road Anthology"), audiovideo (The Directors Project) and sandlot ball (Mile Square). His solo performance piece, agua ardiente, ran Off-Broadway at The American Place Theatre, and he performed in and wrote for "The Borges Project," which was presented at the Cultural Center of the Philippines for the 31st World Congress of the International Theatre Institute (UNESCO).
Michael is a recipient of the Princess Grace Statue, the Alan Schneider Director Award, and a TCG/New Generations Grant. He is a resident playwright at New Dramatists, and a member of the Center Theatre Group's Writers' Workshop.
For more information about the Adrienne Kennedy works and any other CalArts School of Theater performances, please visit www.theatercalarts.com .
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 BFA and MFA 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.