Electric Party

March 3, 2013 at 4 PM  – BAR

254 Crown Street, New Haven, CT


Electric Party is a stream of dramatic elements – songs, rhythm, dance, poetry – that emerge from a seemingly casual atmosphere of a party in which the poetic word intersects with the present circumstances in which we are living. This experiment in the potentialities of a party as a form of art explores the edges of theatrical and social behavior, and plays with the sometimes ambiguous division between the two.  Electric Party is an articulated game that unfolds throughout the night:  songs, poems, dances and actions appear and disappear without resolution, continually playing with the rhythms of the party, riding its waves. While guests eat, socialize, drink and dance, the gathering arrives to moments of high intensity through structured and precise sequences of action performed by the Open Program Team.


Electric Party Songs

February 21 & 22, 2013 at 8 PM – Calhoun Cabaret

189 Elm Street  New Haven, CT 06511


Electric Party Songs created by the Workcenter’s Open Program under the direction of Mario Biagini, is a flow of songs and actions based on the poetry of American poet Allen Ginsberg (1927-1997). Members of this international group elaborated and composed all of the songs, approaching the meanings, rhythms and sounds of the spoken texts as the seeds of musical and dramatic creation. Their varied backgrounds generate a stylistically diverse body of music, drawing inspiration from blues, rock, pop, opera, punk, and traditional sources. The team weaves into Electric Party Songs its investigation of traditional songs from the Southern United States and the possibility of catalyzing contacts and interactions.

I Am America

February 28 & March 1, 2013  –  Whitney Theater

53 Wall Street,  New Haven, CT 06511


I Am America, directed by Mario Biagini, brings the poetry of Allen Ginsberg to life in a visceral performance with language culled from Ginsberg’s poetry as well as calls, shouts and traditional songs from the American South.  Original compositions by members of the Workcenter Open Program, developed in intensive collaboration over a period of three years, complement and build upon these sources.

Meeting with Mario Biagini

Friday, April 6, 2012  – 7:30 PM 

220 York Street

Biagini will discuss modalities of performance research developed by Jerzy Grotowski and the new directions which this embodied research is taking within the Workcenter’s current praxis.  Biagini will also talk about his present work with the Workcenter’s Open Program, which he directs.  Open Program performances are based on the work of Allen Ginsberg as well as traditional songs from the south of the United States.  Biagini’s research with the Open Program investigates the living aspect of the poetic word as a tool for contact and action, its rhythmical and sonic qualities, and the complexity of its meanings.

Saturday, April 7, 2012  10:00 AM – 2:00 PM   [220 York Street, Theatre Studies]

Workshop with Mario Biagini

This works session will investigate essential elements of the performer’s craft such as organicity and impulse, and explore the fundamental difference between movement and action. Under the direction of Mario Biagini workshop participants will work on ancient songs from the Afro-Haitian tradition and elements of the physical training developed at the Workcenter over the past twenty-five years.

Workshop is limited to 15 participants.

Those interested in participating please send a short letter of interest to: dominika.laster@yale.edu

Grotowski and the Workcenter

Considered one of the most important and influential theatre practitioners of the 20th century, Jerzy Grotowski revolutionized contemporary theatre in multiple ways.  Grotowski changed the way Western theatre practitioners and performance theorists conceive of the audience-actor relationship, theatre staging and the craft of acting.  Perhaps best known for his notion of ‘poor theatre,’ Grotowski’s practice extends beyond the confines of conventional theatre assuming a long-term and systematic exploration of the possibilities of the human being in a performance context.  In practical terms, Grotowski’s praxis explores the ways in which specific performance techniques unlock forgotten potentialities in the human being.  Drawing most significantly on the traditional songs and ritual movement of the Afro-Caribbean diaspora, Grotowski’s latter work deploys performance techniques as an instrument in the work on oneself.  Termed “Art as vehicle,” this final phase of work culminated in an intense thirteen-year-long research at the Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards.

Before his passing in 1999, Grotowski designated Thomas Richards and Mario Biagini as the sole legatees of his Estate including his entire body of written work.  Since that time, Richards and Biagini, respectively the Workcenter’s director and associate director, have continued to develop the essential investigations initiated by Grotowski.  The Workcenter’s rigorous, long-term practical investigations constitute an important and singular paradigm of embodied research operating continuously for a quarter of a century.