2008-09-05 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio Rockaway Artists Alliance

The Gypsy Retelling Of A Timeless Tale
Commentary by Susan Hartenstein

ARTSPLASH 2008, the latest version of RAA's annual autumn arts celebration, kicks off with an opening reception on Sunday, September 14 from 1 to 3 p.m. in sTudio 6 and sTudio 7 Galleries, and on the outdoor MoonStage.

The reception features live entertainment and refreshments. Admission to the exhibition and reception is

free. Each year ARTSPLASH brings a wide array of artists in the visual and performing arts to the Rockaway Center for the Arts at Fort Tilden. This year is no exception, showcasing the work of 40 artists from as far away as Encinitas, California and Lancashire, England. Susana Beibe is originally from Argentina and now lives in East Elmhurst, Queens. Using the interesting technique of mixed raised acrylic, she examines what she writes is "a fragmented

man's search for a place in the world."

ARTSPLASH 2008 is on view in the RAA galleries from Saturday, September 13 through Sunday, October 12. Gallery hours are: Saturday, 12-4 p.m.; Sunday, 1-4 p.m. and by appointment. Watch this column for the dates of the special events that will take place during ARTSPLASH.

Title: "La Corniza" Artist: Susana Beibe Medium: Mixed media, acrylic One of the pieces on display in ARTSPLASH 2008. Title: "La Corniza" Artist: Susana Beibe Medium: Mixed media, acrylic One of the pieces on display in ARTSPLASH 2008. A highlight of the special events comes on Saturday, September 20 at 8 p.m. on the sTudio 7 Gallery indoor stage. The Dzieci Theatre Group presents "Makbet," the timeless story of overpowering political ambition and murder, reinvented as a haunting Gypsy tale, spun with Scandinavian and Eastern European folk songs and chants.

For what Dzieci terms a "chamber version of Macbeth," the ensemble has learned all of the lines, of every part, through a process of oral transmission. In their rehearsals, and in production, they do not know who will be playing any given role at any given time. As presented by a traveling family of Gypsies, the hour-long performance creates the impression of a ritual or ceremony — a very dark ceremony. Dzieci further states that it "explores (and explodes), the very essence of theatre and storytelling" in this one-act interpretation of the Shakespeare classic. The company lists the play's "6 Rules of Engagement" as follows:

1- Actors must know the entire text. 2- Actors may not play the same role 3- Actors are encouraged to play a Witch, Makbet, and Lady Makbet at least once per enactment. 4- Roles can be taken or given, embraced or refused. 5- We begin in ceremony and return to ceremony at the end.

6- Nothing else is planned.

Dzieci is an international theater company based in Brooklyn. It is dedicated to "a search for the 'sacred' through the medium of theatre." They use techniques from groundbreaking directors that include Jerzy Grotowski, Eugenio Barba and Peter Brook. Employing ritual forms derived from Native American and Eastern spiritual disciplines, and with an ethic based in humanistic psychology, Dzieci "aims to create theatre that is as equally engaged with personal transformation as it is with public presentation.

Thus, the ensemble tries to balance work on performance with work of service.

They engage in creative and therapeutic interaction in hospitals and other institutions.

Dzieci believes that helping others fosters a "profound healing effect" that benefits the patient and strengthens the ensemble.

For Dzieci, process is essential. Their theater pieces are created organically over a long period of time. Their relationship with the world and their audiences feeds that process. Accordingly, they present works in progress and para-theatrical workshops that

invite participants to experience the work underlying our most current investigations."

First presented on the RAA stage in July, the production is back by popular demand. There is a $10 suggested donation.

Next general meeting will be Monday, September 8 at 7:30 p.m. in studio 7 Gallery, RoCA @ Fort Tilden. Featured guest speakers will be authors Dan and Liz Guarino presenting a book signing, discussion, slide show and Q & A about their new book, Images of America: Broad Channel, published by Arcadia Publishing. RAA general meetings welcome members and non-members.

You are encouraged to bring your own artwork and present it in a friendly, encouraging, constructive environment; or just sit and enjoy the work of others and network with fellow artists and art lovers.

You can make the opening ARTSPLASH weekend a full art weekend. Various members of RAA will be displaying their work in the latest Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition (BWAC) group show on the scenic Red Hook Pier, "art in Free Fall." The meet-the-artists opening reception takes place on Saturday, September 13. Entertainment and refreshments will enhance the beautiful gallery spaces of BWAC. Visit: www.bwac.org for more information.


RAA CONTACT INFO: Phone: 718 474-0861; Fax: 718 474-4373; e-mail: rockart116@aol.com; website: www. rockawayartistsalliance.org

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