BAM’s Next Wave Festival returns with a production by Ivo Van Hove
Brooklyn Academy of Music artistic director David Binder, who programs the 13 Next Wave Festival shows, mixes “incredible light” and darkness, he said.
This is the first in-person edition of the festival since 2019 and it will run from September 28 to December 22. The highlight will be the US premiere of the stage adaptation of Hanya Yanagihara’s novel “A Little Life” (October 20-29) – a coming-of-age tale about four young men that includes depictions of self-harm, domestic violence, child abuse and suicide.
“There’s optimism and there are things that speak to the difficult world we all live in,” Binder said in a phone interview Wednesday. “So I think it’s about a piece of that whole mosaic.”
Ivan van Hove’s production of Yanagihara’s Kirkus Prize-winning novel, set to be performed in Dutch with English subtitles at BAM’s Howard Gilman Opera House, runs just over four hours and features a video screen live to show close-ups of nerve-wracking moments, like a character burning his arm – and pouring salt in the wound. (Yanagihara is the editor of T: The New York Times Style Magazine.)
“It’s an extraordinary production that challenges the audience,” said Binder, who saw the world premiere in Amsterdam in 2018. “Kind of like the whole season.”
Even though it’s long, he said, “I guarantee it’s holding you back every moment.”
It is only the second Next Wave festival that Binder, who started as artistic director of BAM in 2018, has scheduled, after the 2020 and 2021 events were canceled due to the pandemic. He told The New York Times in 2019 that his goal for the first event would “push things along by adding a whole new set of artists,” and that focus continues this year, with 13 programs premiering in eight countries with dance, music and theatre. Nine of the 13 artists and companies are performing at the BAM for the first time.
“It was our guiding principle,” he said this week, “to cover a lot of ground with a lot of new international artists.”
One of the returning performers is German director Thomas Ostermeier, whose riotous production of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” will take to the stage of BAM’s Harvey Theater this fall (October 27-November 5). In Ostermeier’s staging, Ophelia and Gertrude are played by the same actor – as are many other characters; the piece has only six performers. (The Guardian called the manufacture in Berlin, which mixed pop music and drag shows with dueling, “hilariously funny and chillingly self-aware.”)
Next up at the Harvey will be the US premiere of Brazilian choreographer Lia Rodrigues’ carnival dance piece “Encantado”, whose title refers to healing spirits – the encantados – and which includes 100 colorful stage-transforming covers (8 -November 9). Meanwhile, at the Howard Gilman Opera House, another dance piece, Greek director and choreographer Dimitris Papaioannou’s dreamlike concoction “Transverse Orientation,” combining experimental and painterly choreography with music by Vivaldi, will premiere in New York, November 7-11.
Then the main stage switches to opera with the US premiere of Ong Keng Sen’s “Trojan Woman,” a bizarre Korean opera about Greek tragedy (November 18-19). The production, performed in Korean with English subtitles, fuses the traditional Korean musical storytelling form of pansori with K-pop music. (Composer “Parasite” Jung Jae-il composed the music in collaboration with renowned Korean pansori master Ahn Sook-sun.)
Binder has also programmed works in the United States, including an orchestral hip-hop performance by Los Angeles producer and rapper Flying Lotus, composer and DJ Miguel Atwood-Ferguson and Wordless Music Orchestra which is presented as an interpretation of their Hollywood Bowl. performance in Los Angeles this summer (Oct. 6-7).
The festival is set to end with an immersive installation by Brooklyn-based interactive electronics artist Andrew Schneider, whose world premiere of “NOWISWHENWEARE (the stars)” at BAM Fisher might be the closest a New Yorker will come. Clear Sky Stargazing (Nov 29-Dec 22). Visitors will enter a completely dark space and be guided by an invisible voice as 5,000 programmed points of light, which the artist says are inspired by Yayoi Kusama’s “infinity” mirror hall, respond to each individually.
The season also includes the US premiere of Belgian theater collective FC Bergman’s wordless production “300 el x 50 el x 30 el” (September 28-October 1), which follows the inhabitants of a small village scared by a disaster. imminent. . (The title refers to the dimensions of Noah’s Ark.) Argentinian choreographer Constanza Macras will present ‘Open for Everything’, which highlights contemporary Roma, at the Harvey (October 5-8). Grammy-winning violinist Jennifer Koh and bass-baritone Davóne Tines’ staged musical work “Everything Rises”, which seeks to “replace abstract slogans and inert statements about diversity with lived experience and engagement direct”, will be at BAM Fisher (October 12-15).