Spring arts season offers unique collaborations

Presentations run gamut from Virginia Woolf adaptations to innovative works of dance and sculpture

Photo/Mike Lovett

Susan Dibble, professor of theater arts

From a stage adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s stories to Afghan and Indian music residencies; a modern dance and sculpture collaboration to a celebration of the Rose Art Museum, the spring arts season features a variety of offerings to entertain and challenge.

The season kicks off Feb. 4, when Daniel Stepner, Mary Ruth Ray, Joshua Gordon and Judith Eissenberg – music professors who comprise the world-famous Lydian Quartet – pay tribute to composer and Brandeis alum Peter Lieberson Ph.D. ’85 with a performance of Shostakovich’s Quartet no. 10, Lieberson’s String Quartet and Brahms’ Sextet in G major. The Lydians also will present the premiere of a short work by faculty member Yu-Hui Chang Ph.D. ’01, composed in honor of President Fred Lawrence.

Heinrich Schütz brought German church music to a pinnacle of interpretive depth that would be equaled only by Bach. On Feb. 11, musicology professor Eric Chafe and guests will discuss Schütz’s musical interpretation of texts from both Jewish and Christian perspectives. Professional singers and instrumentalists join the Brandeis University Chorus, the Chamber Choir and the Early Music Ensemble for a performance of Schütz cantatas.

From Feb. 16 to 19, the Brandeis Theater Company (BTC) will present “Ordinary Mind, Ordinary Day,” an original stage adaptation by theater professor Adrianne Krstansky and Abigail Killeen M.F.A. ’05 of four of Virginia Woolf’s early short stories. It follows Woolf’s characters in a quest beyond fact and reason – to the inner life beneath our days.

Woolf was steeped in depression and “kept in a dark room, drinking milk, only allowed to write for half an hour a day,” says Krstansky, noting her stories are also filled with humor, ecstasy and incantation. “I think if Virginia Woolf were alive today, she would be Patti Smith.”

The stories depict simple events, Krstansky says – a ride on a train, listening to a concert, a walk in a garden – but “it is how the imagination is sparked by the everyday that make these stories, to me, about a struggling of faith.”

Other spring offerings include the BTC’s “She Stoops to Conquer,” a satirical 18th-century comedy of manners by the Irish author Oliver Goldsmith. Eric Hill, professor of theater at Brandeis, will direct the production, which runs from March 29 through April 1. Hill recently directed the Berkshire Theatre Festival hit production of “The Who’s Tommy,” and the Berkshire Theatre Group’s holiday production of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”

From April 16 to 20, undergraduates in their final year of theater arts studies present their thesis work – plays, musicals and one-person shows. The performances in the weeklong festival reflect the mission of the department to develop an understanding of classical and contemporary theater as a collaborative process and a tool for social change.

A unique international music collaboration will come together at Brandeis from March 7 to 10 as part of the MusicUnitesUs program. Homayun Sakhi is the outstanding Afghan rubab player of his generation. Ken Zuckerman, an American, is internationally acclaimed as one of today’s finest sarod virtuosos. Salar Nader, born in Germany, is one of his generation’s leading performers on the tabla. Together, the trio will create a new and exciting world music fusion.

MusicUnitesUs also will host the symposium, "Making a Difference Through the Arts: The Practice of Cultural Advocacy," on March 13 with cultural advocates Richard Kurin, undersecretary of the Smithsonian Institution for History, Art, and Culture; Ethel Raim, artistic director of the Center for Traditional Music and Dance in New York City; Zeyba Rahman, director of the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music; Jessye Kass '13, co-founder of the Attukwei Art Foundation; and moderator Theodore Levin, senior project consultant for Aga Khan Music Initiative.

On April 19 and 20, The Rose Art Museum will present an academic symposium to as part of its 50th anniversary celebration.

The season concludes with “Beyond the Boundaries,” the first collaboration between choreographer Susan Dibble, chair of theater arts, and sculptor Tory Fair, professor of fine arts. In work that’s part abstraction and part storytelling, the collaboration is sure to expand your imagination. Dibble describes it as a “moveable feast” in the tradition of Isamu Noguchi and Martha Graham, or Merce Cunningham and Jasper Johns. “Beyond the Boundaries” is part of the Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Creative Arts at Brandeis. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the festival.

For more details on events, please visit Brandeis Arts. To purchase tickets for some performances, visit Brandeis Tickets.

Categories: Arts

Return to the BrandeisNOW homepage