Lincoln Center Festival Launches With Monkey: Journey to the West July 6
By Adam Hetrick
The Lincoln Center Festival, featuring the spectacle Monkey: Journey to the West and Les Liaisons Dangereuses directed by John Malkovich, begins July 6 with theatrical offerings from across the globe.
Running through July 28, the Lincoln Center Festival showcases works from ten different countries at venues on and off the Lincoln Center campus.
Monkey: Journey to the West, a music theatre piece based on a classic Chinese folktale, conceived, written and directed by Chen Shi-Zheng, launches the festival July 6. It continues through July 28 in the David H. Koch Theater. It has a score by Blur singer-songwriter Damon Albarn and features designs and animation by Jamie Hewlett, who along with Albarn, created the virtual band Gorillaz*.
According to the festival, "A theatrical spectacle that has been performed around the world, Monkey: Journey to the West is a vibrant musical retelling of the ancient Chinese folktale that follows the fantastical trek of the monk Tripitaka, who travels from China to India seeking the Buddhist sacred scriptures. Led by the irrepressible Monkey King on a journey through an enchanted world, the monk and his magical animal companions encounter a series of perilous and comic adventures and misadventures."
Additional theatrical productions of note include Les Liaisons Dangereuses, running July 9-14 in the Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College under the direction of Malkovich, who played Vicomte de Valmont in the film. It played the Shakespeare Theatre Company of Washington, D.C. last December.
Adapted by Christopher Hampton, the new French-language production, according to the Festival, takes place on "a set that resembles a rehearsal studio, with clothing and water bottles scattered about. Each scene is announced by Valmont's valet, Azolan. The actors are matched in age to the characters they portray, and the love letters central to the plot are sent on smartphones and electronic tablets. All the actors—even those not in a particular scene—remain on stage observing their colleagues. The self-consciousness of the actors as they watch each other perform mirrors the self-consciously executed intrigue as the plot unfolds."
Also planned is the U.S. premiere of Murmurs, running July 24-28 at the Lynch Theater. It is conceived and directed by Victoria Thierrée Chaplin and stars her daughter Aurélia Thierrée. A combination of movement, circus and illusion, it is billed as "a journey of the imagination, where buildings dissolve and the realms of illusion and reality overlap."
According to LCF, "The French title of this mysterious and enchanting show, Murmures des Murs, or 'murmuring walls' gives an indication of the non-linear narrative, which has the logic of a dream. A woman who is moving out of her house is gradually surrounded by shape-shifting Venetian architecture, fantastical creatures, and anonymous masked figures. Nothing is what it seems and anything might happen. Transformations, breathtaking chases, and surreal images abound in this topsy-turvy world."
Shun-kin, a co-production by Complicite, Setagaya Public Theater and the Barbican Theatre, will run July 9-13. Simon McBurney directs the Japan-set production based on the writings of Jun'ichirō Tanizaki.
Michaels Reise Um Die Erde (Michael’s Journey Around the World) will be staged July 18-20. The one-hour production from Wiener Taschenoper is a selection from the second act of Karlheinz Stockhausen's epic seven-opera cycle Donnerstag.
For tickets and a complete list of events, visit LincolnCenterFestival.org.
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