STOPPED BRIDGE OF DREAMS is the newest work from the Obie Award-winning MacArthur Fellow John Jesurun, a writer, director, multi-media innovator and long-time La MaMa artist, whose production of STOPPED BRIDGE OF DREAMS at the Ellen Stewart Theater marks Mr. Jesurun’s return to La MaMa for the first time in a decade. Heading the cast of STOPPED BRIDGE OF DREAMS is the celebrated downtown actress Black-Eyed Susan.
Written, directed and designed by Mr. Jesurun, STOPPED BRIDGE OF DREAMS unfolds inside an anonymous globe-circling jetliner, a modern-age pleasure palace operated by a mother (Black-Eyed Susan) and son (Preston Martin). Inspired by 17th century Japanese writer Saikaku Ihara’s “floating world” stories, STOPPED BRIDGE OF DREAMS follows this mother and son as they hauntingly travel back and forth between parallel worlds of the 17th century and now.
Mr. Jesurun characterizes STOPPED BRIDGE OF DREAMS as “cross-media storytelling.” Audience members can enter the piece through the website or the live experience, which layers text, video, music and live internet feeds to reflect the anxiety of spiritual and sexual dislocation of contemporary life.
The play features a variable nightly series of revolving micro-plays and characters that at times will be live-streamed on the web or beamed in from remote locations. Each night, a featured role will be portrayed each night by a different guest artist, thus giving the work yet another new twist throughout the run.
As well, audiences will be able to follow the show online by browsing through the living, growing archive on the STOPPED BRIDGE OF DREAMS website. Mr. Jesurun considers the website an extension of the live production that charts the geography of the characters’ relationships and histories along with commentary and video clips of performances, thus rendering each performance of STOPPED BRIDGE OF DREAMS unique to any other performance of the play – before or after.
The show will be performed by Preston Martin, Claire Buckingham, Ikechukwu Ufomadu, and beloved downtown theater actress and Obie Award-winner Black-Eyed Susan.
Telepresence and multi-media production for STOPPED BRIDGE OF DREAMS is by CultureHub, an incubator at La MaMa for creativity focused on the intersection of art and technology, whose vision is to bring artists from diverse disciplines and cultures together to explore art and technology as a means for developing new forms of expression, sharing creative experiences and promoting global collaboration, learning and innovation.
One of four shows being fully-produced by La MaMa during its 50th anniversary “Homecoming” season, STOPPED BRIDGE OF DREAMS indeed marks a homecoming for Mr. Jesurun, whose numerous works include several ground-breaking works at La MaMa: DEEP SLEEP (1986) starring Steve Buscemi and winner of the Village Voice Obie Award for Best Play, BLACK MARIA (1987), IRON LUNG (1992), SHATTERHAND MASSACREE (1992), POINT OF DEBARKATION (1993) and CHANG IN A VOID MOON, his most recent production at La MaMa in 2003.
Written, directed and designed by John Jesurun; lighting by Jeff Nash; costumes by James Reilly; technical direction by Jesse Ricke; projection consultant, Richard Connors; music by Jim Coleman and Dan Kaufman; sound design by Kumi Ishizawa; telepresence and multi-media production by CultureHub; website design by Ben Williams; production manager, Sarah Holcman; assistant directors: Kevin Hourigan and Ryan Amador; production interns, Jamie Billings, Justin Fischer, Alex Thrailkill.