This January, playwright, collagist, and Richard B. Fisher Next Wave Award recipient Charles Mee returns to BAM for a fourth time with The Glory of the World. Here—in an excerpt from 2011's BAM: The Complete Works—Mee shares dynamic memories of America's oldest performing arts center:
|Mee's The Glory of the World comes to BAM Jan 16—Feb 6. Photo: Bill Brymer|
By Charles Mee
We live in a world these days where it’s taken for granted that BAM is one of the greatest cultural institutions on the planet. And yet, not long ago—certainly within my own lifetime—it was a big old dark neglected pile of stones right off Flatbush Avenue where no one I knew ever thought to go.
The first time I ever walked into the theater at BAM it was completely inadvertent. A friend had invited me to see a theater piece called The Photographer/Far from the Truth, inspired by the work of the 19th-century photographer Eadweard Muybridge, whose obsession with animal and human locomotion led to developing a photographic means to project a series of images that had been captured by a set of still cameras: galloping horses, running bison, nude women descending staircases. I knew Muybridge’s work, and I thought it was great, but, of course, I knew no one could make a good theater piece out of it. Still, I went anyway, because I had nothing else to do, and I thought it might be kind of exciting to venture out into the unknown wilderness—and stop for some cheesecake at Junior’s.