LIVE: Dionysia @ EMPAC, Troy [GailSez]

November 17th, 2011, 11:13 am by Sara

NOTE: Dionysia is a performance piece based on fragments of ancient Greek text and pottery. Therefore, my review is based on fragments of information about the Poor Dog Group and their “premiere” performance at The Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) on 11/11/11.

GailSez: I freely confess that I found this performance so atrocious that I left at intermission – before they got to the part where one brother fed another a stew made with the flesh of his children. I have seen and reviewed close to 100 shows a year for the past 15 years and I cannot recall the last time I walked out of a show at intermission.

“Over the past three years, Poor Dog Group has been working towards a stronger understanding of our past with our sights firmly set on the future of contemporary theater..” – Director’s Note

“[The Poor Dog Group is] ’an amoebic collective’…founded in 2007 by a group of people who all graduated from Cal Arts at the same time…the collective’s works tend to be topical, multi-media performance pieces — ‘They’re not plays,’ said [PDG Artistic Director Jesse] Bonnell” – The Troy Record

Bonnell is right, Dionysia is not a play. Neither is it the “future of contemporary theater.” I know this because, while I may only have inklings of what that will be, I know for certain what it will NOT be.

The Future of Contemporary Theater Will Not Be…Boring

Theater cannot be any of those things and continue to exist. Dionysia is all of those things.

Click to read the rest of this story at GailSez.


Be Here Now: Ancient Greek Satyr Play “Dionysia,” Reinvented by L.A.’s Poor Dog Group at EMPAC [Berkshire on Stage]

November 8th, 2011, 12:08 pm by Sara
Dionysia (photo: Poor Dog Group)

Dionysia (photo: Poor Dog Group)

Those who are fortunate enough to discuss the ancient foundations of theatre with Kate Maguire, Artistic Director of the Berkshire Theatre Group, discover just how passionate she is about the Greek Plays. She stresses their role in defining theatre, but laments how little known they are, and how infrequently performed, especially in our region. “Just about every modern play draws from the same basic concepts invented millennia ago,” she once reminded me.

A good example of what she meant might be Dionysia which will receive two state-of-the-art performances in Troy at RPI’s EMPAC on November 11 and 12, 2011. It’s the East Coast premiere. Berkshire on Stage will see and review it.

So some warm thanks go to EMPAC at RPI in Troy for not only giving us a chance to see what a great Greek play looks like, but updating it with the contemporary Los Angeles based Poor Dog Group which is now in residence there. What is old and traditional will be made fresh and exciting by this company. One of things about EMPAC is how brilliantly they blend technological innovations into classic theatre. This makes the performance on stage incomparable, and a three dimensional full tilt experience that television and even film simply still can not accurately replicate.

Click to read the rest of this story at Berkhire on Stage.

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