The Mother and Other Plays
THURS JAN 15, 8:30 PM
SAT JAN 17, 7:00 PM
SUN JAN 18, 5:00 PM
Run time: 60 minutes
ABRONS ARTS CENTER EXPERIMENTAL THEATER
466 Grand Street / tickets $20
How do you solve a problem like The Mother? Bertolt Brecht’s 1932 play, about a Russian woman who is radicalized when her son joins the Communists, is didactic, ideological and Epic in every sense. My Barbarian, an art collective consisting of Malik Gaines, Jade Gordon and Alexandro Segade, confronts these legacies of leftist theater, along with the symbolic and political ramifications of motherhood, with a playful, and critical, sense of humor. My Barbarian’s The Mother and Other Plays includes masks made of old Soviet newspapers (really!), musical numbers, improvised content, and, also maintains the Brechtian concept of the Lehrstück, or learning play, by inviting audience members to participate in select scenes. Complicating the narrative, My Barbarian interrupts the piece with scenes from their repertoire, including Counterpiblicity (2014), a performance based on MTV’s The Real World: San Francisco (1994) and an essay by queer theorist José Esteban Muñoz.
The Mother and Other Plays premiered in the form of a multi-media art exhibition at Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects in 2013, and was included in the 2014 Whitney Biennial. This production was made possible in part by a 2014 LMCC Process Space artist residency.
photo by Stephanie Berger
Performed by Malik Gaines, Jade Gordon, and Alexandro Segade
Script by Alexandro Segade
Masks by Jade Gordon
Score by Malik Gaines
Backdrops by Alexandro Segade
Set Design by My Barbarian
Video Design and Production by My Barbarian and Robert Hickerson
Production Manager: Robert Hickerson
Thanks to Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects
My Barbarian: Malik Gaines, Jade Gordon, Alexandro Segade
Since 2000, My Barbarian has presented performances at sites including MoMA, The Kitchen, New Museum, Whitney Museum, Studio Museum in Harlem, and Joe’s Pub (NYC), LACMA, MOCA, Hammer Museum, REDCAT, LAXART, Schindler House (LA), SFMOMA (San Francisco), Aspen Art Museum (Aspen), ICA (Philadelphia), American Repertory Theater (Cambridge, MA), Power Plant (Toronto), Galleria Civica (Trento, Italy), De Appel (Amsterdam), El Matadero (Madrid), Peres Projects (Berlin), Torpedo (Oslo), Townhouse Gallery/Rawabet Theater (Cairo), and many others. The group has combined performance with installations and video in the solo exhibitions “Blood on the Cat’s Neck” at the Goethe-Institut’s Wyoming Building, New York, 2014; “Universal Declaration of Infantile Anxiety Situations Reflected in the Creative Impulse” at Gallery 400, University of Illinois, Chicago, 2014, and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, 2013; “PoLAAT: Together Forever?” at Yaffo 23, Jerusalem, Israel, 2013; “Flat Busted Window Beauty Fatale,” at Transformer Gallery, Washington DC, 2012; “Broke People’s Baroque Peoples’ Theater” at Human Resources, Los Angeles, 2012; “Ecos de los Ecos,” at Museo El Eco, Mexico City, 2010; “The Night Epi$ode” at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, 2010, and Participant Inc., New York, 2009; and in collaboration with Lara Schnitger, “Dance Witches Dance,” at the Luckman Gallery, Los Angeles, 2009, and Museum Het Domain, Sittard, NL, 2008. The group has been included in the 2014 Whitney Biennial, 2009 Baltic Triennial, 2008 and 2006 California Biennials, 2007 Montreal Biennial, and 2007 and 2005 Performa Biennials, and has participated in numerous group shows and festivals. My Barbarian has received grants from the Foundation for Contemporary Art (2013), Creative Capital (2012), City of Los Angeles Cultural Affiars (2010), and Art Matters (2008). Their work has been discussed in the New Yorker, New York Times, LA Times, Artforum, Art in America, Frieze, Texte zur Kunst, Bomb and various international newspapers, and by scholars including Shannon Jackson in The Drama Review, Tavia Nyong’o in Social Text, and José Muñoz in his book “Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity.” My Barbarian is represented by Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects.
In addition to his work with My Barbarian, Malik Gaines has published numerous articles and essays and has curated exhibitions and performance programs. He holds a Ph.D, in Theater & Performance Studies from UCLA, and is Assistant Professor of Art at Hunter College, CUNY. He has presented collaborative work with Alexandro Segade as the collective Courtesy the Artists, at the Kitchen, the Studio Museum in Harlem, Recess Activities, and MoMA PS1. Segade has also presented solo performance work at the Judson Church, TBA Festival, Yerba Buena Center, LAXART, REDCAT and others. He has held teaching positions at Parsons, Cooper Union, and Columbia University and holds an MFA in Interdisciplinary Studio from UCLA. Jade Gordon holds an MA in Applied Theater from USC and has utilized Theater of the Oppressed techniques as a practitioner. She has taught at the Stella Adler Academy of Acting and the CalArts School of Theater. Gordon is on the programming committee of Human Resources LA and co-owner of Wombleton Records in Los Angeles.
Robert Hickerson (Video Production; Production Manager) Robert Hickerson is a video artist based in Brooklyn. He has worked with My Barbarian previously on “The Mother and Other Plays” at the Whitney Museum and Gallery 400, Chicago, and with Segade and Gaines on Courtesy the Artists at MoMA Ps1, the Kitchen, and Recess Activities. His solo work was recently included in the Ihaitibasel Festival in Miami and in a group show at the 99¢ Gallery in Brooklyn. His solo exhibition “Joan” was held at Ammo Studios, New York in 2014. Hickerson holds a BFA in Fine Arts from Parsons.
“The New York- and Los Angeles-based performance collective (Malik Gaines, Jade Gordon and Alexandro Segade), which since 2000 has camped, queered and estranged the history of leftist politics and the institutionalization of their own practice, offers an appropriately Brechtian hijacking of Brecht himself.”
By Nate Cohan, Art in America, Published March 19, 2014
“Their practice combines musical theater and visual art, and they engage theatrical forms like Augusto Boal’s “Theater of the Oppressed” with a decidedly queer, campy vigor.”
TEXTE ZUR KUNST, Published September, 20143