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Monday, December 7, 2015

In Context: Alas, The Nymphs...




Alas, The Nymphs comes to BAM on December 9. Context is everything, so get even closer to the production with this curated selection of articles and videos related to the show. After you've attended the show, let us know what you thought below and by posting on social media using #AlasTheNymphs.

Program Notes

Alas, The Nymphs... (PDF)

Read

Website
Hotel Savant
The New York company is devoted to exploring “the livid, the uncertain, the magical and sublime.”

Article
Greek Myth of Hylas (Maicar.com)
Alas, The Nymphs... is based on this classic tale of eros and abduction.

Watch & Listen

Video
Excerpts from Hotel Savant Productions (Vimeo)
Sample other Hotel Savant performances.

Audio
Theme from Alas, The Nymphs... (SoundCloud)
Guitarist and electronic music composer Christian Fennesz wrote the theme.

Now your turn...

What did you think? Tell us what's on your mind in the comments below and on social media using #AlasTheNymphs.

20 comments:

  1. When you pump storytelling with style, artifice, abstraction, you jeopardize substance. Jahnke wants to forge a new language of theatre. But mostly I feel what he arrives at are the ornaments of predecessors whose distinctive styles advanced dramatic art: Robert Wilson, Artaud, Godard, Jarman. It's like thinking forming a supergroup of musicians will result in great music. I don't fault Jahnke for being strongly influenced by this name or that name, but I think he needs to ease off on abstruse style and search for a more natural, uncomplicated and human expression---take that back, he needs not to search but to trust his own artistic voice and let things be.

    Alas, the Nymphs feels inflated to the point of bursting, like an episode of classic Star Trek or a Vidal Sassoon commercial that we must extract empathy, identification and insight from. It takes itself too seriously. Some people behind me promptly suffocated their sniggers for manner's sake.

    I don't make the connection between the themes the program talks about, what I witnessed on stage and the actual story of Hylas.

    The actors did the best they could. But it's tough to keep a stiff, robotic exercise fluid and engaging after 45 minutes.

    I'm sorry for the harsh review. I want to be challenged but I need to feel you're talking to me, not over my head. We are all in this together.

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  2. Oh BAM. I don't even know what to say to you right now.

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  3. Honestly, we had no idea what was going on. Several people in the audience just got up and left during the play. I have seen numerous Greek plays in my lifetime, without strobe lights flashing so frequently, without the electronics and obtuseness of this play, and I love Greek plays, which is why I chose to see this play. But this particular production was just so. so. I don't know another word, bad. Sorry BAM.

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  4. I tend to roll the dice on bam -- i saw 8 things in the Next Wave festival -- and I was frankly baffled and disappointed by this. Out of respect to the actors, I stayed. This was like a bad high school theater production of a Chuck Mee play + BREASTS + BJ! I am a sophisticated viewer, but this was obscure and un-followable in a way that was self serving.

    I should have known from reading the pretentious liner notes that I was in for something random. I saw some great pieces of dance and theater this fall -- this was not one of them.

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  5. Ludicrous and desperate. Like an undergrad project.

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  6. Incomprehensible, poorly written, poorly performed, poorly designed. Literally laughable at many points.

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  7. My assessment is not as harsh as those above. For me, it was just boring! Yes, despite the nudity and the sexual assault I was just totally underwhelmed. I expected a multisensory achievement combining electronic music, choreography, video and acting. It turned out to be a stage play with stilted, obtuse language. I thought the female actors were good though, just wish they had something deeper to expound about.

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  8. Part Lindsay Kemp's "Salome," part Charles Ludlum's "Salambo," --minus their wit --
    part Performing Garage's "Dionysus '69," minus it's great dramatic thrust, this potentially provocative concept suffers mostly from a dense, incoherent script. It was a very long 70 minutes.

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  9. Truly atrocious. A fiasco. The worst thing I've seen at BAM in years.

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    Replies
    1. cannot agree with you more...

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  10. we haven't seen most horrible show, most talent-less in every single aspect: director, actors, sound; we made a fatal flaw by talking mid-section seats since seats were not assigned, which made it impossible for us to get out shortly after this pathetic show started, we really had to watch it to the end...i can see they could not take chances with having an intermission, meaning with the audience head count after the intermission...such a waste of precious time and money...disgusting women, brrrr

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  11. The writer/director/genius should go back to his influences to better determine what makes them great, as this production felt like a disordered assemblage of bits cribbed from better-known sources: Beckett, Artaud, Brecht...

    Between the flashing lights, random electronic blurps, gratuitous nudity, rambling and incoherent non-dialogue, stilted acting (misdirected, no doubt) suggesting the actors too weren't clued in -- all ennobled by the glorious liner notes, a seeming parody of pompous freshman-year drama exercises -- one hardly knew where to rest one's understanding. It was about "ancient guilt", we read. But also about ... and ...

    Admittedly, we left early. There were BJs too?

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    Replies
    1. The subtle movement
      periodically employed by the nymphs
      is a choreographic equation inspired by
      eight lines from the text. Based on the
      structure of these phrases, the words,
      when spoken, instigate a form of muscle
      memory, uniting the cerebral and
      corporal. The past as present. Present
      as past. Or, as Dryope emphatically
      states: “Yesterday is today for me. And
      yesterday is here.”

      Delete
  12. Stilted dialogue from the author; poor diction, wooden presentation, and clunky pacing from most of the actors. A sound design that didn't support or enhance the story or actions. Overall, an unconvincing presentation of a weak artistic concept. I'm sure there are productions of the Hylas story that engage us in novel and effective ways. This wasn't one of them.

    I was more engaged by the construction of the two stair units.

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  13. Hm, hate to pile on, but for the circumstance that BAM will read these comments and try to spare their customers such ASSUALT/TIME WASTAGE again, I add my wife's and my review.

    We detested this play.

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  14. The anger in these comments is justified. You might want to give people more of a heads-up that they're purchasing tickets that involve participating in an S&M bondage scene where someone is shoving thorned roses up someone else's ass. But also, if you ARE going to have your audience endure a scene in which a character is getting anally violated by thorned roses, your play better be excellent. This wasn't. One last note, for the lighting director: WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?! Assault your audience's eyes repeatedly throughout the play, great idea!

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  15. Before the impression is made that this production was an "assault" or that its use of nudity or bondage or sex was gratuitous, I would like to emphasize how bored and without sensation these stage arrangements left me. When you manufacture an environment so completely sterile, so devoid of context, how can anything be shocking? Having someone sexually violated onstage can mean everything to an audience, or it can mean nothing. For me, there was nothing at stake because there was no context. The context was sufficiently annihilated by the disjointed, fill in the ______ dialogue.

    I'm familiar with Genet, Artaud, Jarman, Wilson and I can see their influence on the stage pictures. But it feels superficial.

    I once auditioned for Hotel Savant and strive as I may, as an actor, for cohesion of thought in the text, I floundered. I attended this production to see it from the other side. Honestly, it feels the same on both sides.

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  16. Of the many dull pieces in this fall's Next Wave, this was easily the worst. In fact, it is probably the worst thing I've seen in 20+ years at BAM.

    It feels like something a fashion designer who knows nothing about theatre might stage. Terribly ill conceived, obscure relationships, random nudity and costume changes, amateur "simulated" sexual situations, a nonsensical "poetic" script, lighting assaults, projections of rehearsal video - all utterly boring, as noted by other commentators. There wasn't a thing provocative enough to even merit being called offensive. I felt terrible for the actors, pushing to be committed, trapped in a world they seem desperate to escape.

    I can't imagine any person thinking this production would be the least bit compelling. It was a shame.

    BAM, did you see this piece before you booked it? Your programming department should take a long look in the mirror. At least as long as this interminable piece of crap.

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