100 Northern Ave
Boston, Massachusetts 02210

The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) presents the inaugural theater production in its new facility - the world premiere of This Place is a Desert, a boundary-blurring creation conceived and directed by international theater and opera director and MIT Theatre Associate Professor Jay Scheib, in collaboration with media artist Leah Gelpe, March 22 – 25, 2007. Performances Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 reserved; $15 ICA members, students, and seniors, and can be purchased at icaboston.org, by phone at (617) 478-3103 or at the box office during museum hours, and one hour before program.

Inspired by the work of Italian modernist filmmaker Michelangelo Antonioni, Jay Scheib creates theater for a generation raised in the language of cinema. The audience views this portrait of human love gone increasingly wrong in fragments—through windows, reflected in mirrors, and through partially-drawn curtains. The action is projected live onto a wide screen above the stage architecture. A lone cinematographer moves through the set providing a sensually charged, live cinema study of four lovers destroying each other in an attempt to defy their impenetrable loneliness. Said Scheib, “The goal of situating the action within these partial-view rooms is, on one hand, a practical consideration—we use cameras to see up close, to see around corners, and to mediate our experience of Reality amplifying an erotics of the partial view. With the camera we differentiate between Reality and Realistic. I am using an Italian filmmaker to understand something unique about American life. Either we are ugly people and we deserve the world that we live in, or something is wrong in us, and the world in which we live is merely symptomatic of a deeper anxiety. This Place is a Desert is a motion-portrait, it’s a tool for understanding Reality—and this reality, thanks to technology, is always partially seen and partially screened.”
This Place is a Desert began as a workshop with the Kretakor Ensemble in Budapest. The current production was developed in residence at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and given an open studio showing as part of the Prelude Festival in New York in 2005.
Scheib’s recent works include the critically acclaimed Women Dreamt Horses at PS122 in New York; a multimedia adaptation of Tolstoy’s The Power of Darkness; at Trafo in Budapest; a live art installation All Good Everything Good at Raum Space, Bologna Italy, and the world premier of Irena Popovic’s opera Mozart Luster Lustik at the Sava Center in Belgrade. Other credits include: The Medea after Heiner Müller and Euripides at La Mama in New York with subsequent performances in Turkey; The Demolition Downtown by Tennessee Williams at MIT; Musset’s Lorenzaccio at the Loeb Drama Center; Koltès’ West Pier at the Ohio Theatre; Falling and Waving, at St. Ann’s in Brooklyn. He is winner of the Richard Sherwood Award, The Wade Award and numerous fellowships. Scheib is currently Associate Professor of Theatre at MIT, and a regular guest professor at the Mozarteum Institute für Schauspiel und Regie, in Salzburg, Austria. He holds an MFA from Columbia University.
Leah Gelpe has collaborated with Scheib on 15 productions since 1996, including The Power of Darkness, The Medea, West Pier and Falling and Waving. She was video designer for Brittanicus and Island of Slaves at the ART, and sound designer for David Rabe's The Black Monk at Yale Rep, The Lady from the Sea at the Intiman Theatre, Saved at Theatre for a New Audience, and Godard (distant & right) at the Ohio Theatre in New York and Theatre des Amandiers, Nanterre, Paris. She holds an MFA in film from Columbia University.

Producer Shoshana Polanco has been creating, producing, and performing original work since 1997. Her latest ventures have been La Perla in her native Buenos Aires, committed in New York and Pedestrian: A Walking Tour for Multiple Voices and Portable Phones in New York. She was Creative Producer of BAiT - Buenos Aires in Translation, a festival of 4 English-Language World Premieres at PS122 in New York.

Official Website: http://www.icaboston.org

Added by secronin on March 15, 2007