Friday, February 21 @ 8pm
Harold Prince Theatre, Annenberg Center, Philadelphia
presented as part of a season residency with Annenberg Center Live
Knee Plays are connectors — literally, joints —
the stuff that fills in the gaps between scenes.
We are the stuff that fills in the gaps.
music of Philip Glass and David Byrne
on texts of Robert Wilson and David Byrne
with projections by Jeff Sugg
conceived and directed by Donald Nally
joined by Dito van Reigersberg
Drawn from Robert Wilson’s massive productions Einstein on the Beach and the CIVIL warS, these two diverse and mesmerizing sets of musical knee plays are substantial works on their own, serving as a record of the time of their creation. In the original David Byrne Plays, Robert Wilson wanted to transform a tree into a book, into a boat, and back into a tree. Byrne was interested in how that may play out under the influence of Noh theatre. Wilson and Philip Glass' were focused on the transformative nature of Einstein's work and life. Transformation is paramount to the Knee Plays, and, while the tree and the physicist remain shadows looming behind our Knee Play reincarnations, they aren't here; their spirit of transformation and connection guide the evening which finds the singers of The Crossing moving into roles that stretch their identities. At one moment they sing, and in the next they are the instrument-wielding band, or a response to the call of Dito van Reigersberg (in a rare cameo), or philosophers with only a voice, a reed or a drum, and words to try to make the connections that Wilson, Glass, and Byrne were exploring. We investigate identity. We laugh at themselves. And we are transformed. Physically. The spirit of Japanese theatre returns to the Knee Plays, if only as an attempt to understand The Other. To connect. To be the knee.