The Wooster Group on Screen and In Person
dir. Elizabeth LeCompte/Ken Kobland, US, 1977/2013, Video, 75 min.
Screening followed by a discussion between Jesse Pires and Ken Kobland
The Wooster Group’s 1977 production Rumstick Road has been recognized by critics and scholars as a landmark work that helped usher in a new era of experimental performance. Composed by Spalding Gray and Elizabeth LeCompte in response to the suicide of Gray’s mother, Rumstick Road combines Gray’s personal recorded conversations, family letters, the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, 35mm slides, music, and dance.
The video reconstruction keeps faith with the theater piece by registering, in a new composite, the vivid texture of time and memory that shaped the original production. LeCompte and filmmaker Ken Kobland have worked with Wooster Group archivist Clay Hapaz to layer, juxtapose, and blend together numerous archival fragments – including U-Matic video, Super 8 film, reel-to-reel audio tapes, photographs, and slides – in order to reconstruct that lost performance.
“Genuinely haunting” — Ben Brantley, The New York Times.
“Not merely a document of something extraordinary — something extraordinary all on its own” — Calum Marsh, The Village Voice.
“A brilliant and engrossing work; one whose abstraction and complexity are at the service of genuine emotion” — Richard Eder, The New York Times
This program has been supported through a grant from the Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation
Special thanks to Clay Hapaz, FringeArts, The Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania and Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI)