Katiana Rangel and Jim Fletcher: Blasted
December 15, 2021 @ 7:00 pm
One event on December 16, 2021 at 7:00 pm
Actor/Director Katiana Rangel, longtime collaborator Jim Fletcher and cellist and composer Lori Goldston will come to PS21 in residency from December 11–17, refining and developing their two-person version of Sarah Kane’s Blasted, a play that shocked and outraged audiences and critics when it premiered in London in 1995.
In Blasted, a young woman, a middle-aged journalist and a soldier are gathered in a war zone. Amidst the ruination around them, the foul-mouthed journalist and young woman nest in a hotel room, witnessing the destruction that is not only occurring outside, but gradually happening in every level of their twisted relationship.
Outside and inside blend into one another and the horror of that reality begins to feel like a dream through Sarah Kane’s innovative and explicit style of writing. Blasted is the first of five plays Sarah Kane wrote in her brief lifetime. She died in 1999 at the age of 28, and she is now widely acknowledged as one of Britain’s greatest playwrights of the last 50 years. Harold Pinter, whom Kane clearly admired, famously eulogized her in four words: “She was a poet.”
Despite the notoriously graphic and violent content of the language and events in the play, Blasted retains a formal integrity. Everything happens in one hotel room over the course of a few days, even as the characters’ bodies, the room itself, and the world outside undergo clear transformations. Each act ends with a blackout and, according to the stage directions, “The sound of spring rain” (Act One), “The sound of summer rain” (Act Two), and so on through the seasons to Act Four, followed by an Epilogue.
The characters speak to each other in a pitch-perfect colloquial that is, however, non-naturalistic, as it is severely shorn of subtext, asking listeners to take them literally at every turn. Kane also specifies that certain stage directions are to be spoken–a fundamental stipulation that is often disregarded in productions of this play. This is only the second production ever of Blasted in New York theater circles. In addition to Rangel and Fletcher taking the parts of the characters, the renowned cellist Lori Goldston performs live all the parts where rain, or the sound of rain, are specified.
PS21 says — ‘Please be advised this performance contains explicit and mature content including violence, strong language and nudity, and is not suitable for children.’
Rangel, Fletcher and Golston first joined forces in 2018, when Goldston played the cello accompaniment to Rangel and Fletcher’s staged reading of Ama (The Pearl Diver).
The residency will culminate with two work-in-progress performances, on December 15 and 16, and the performers will return to PS21 in March of 2022 for a full-scale production of Blasted, where audiences will be “compelled to follow an authentic and original voice into theatrical territory you have never visited before.” (Ben Brantley, The New York Times).
For more than two decades, Jim Fletcher (he/him) has performed extensively with a number of the premier experimental theater groups in New York City, where he is most prominently associated with Richard Maxwell’s NYC Players and Elizabeth LeCompte’s Wooster Group. He is also a collaborator of the art collective Bernadette Corporation, and is one of the contributors to the group’s novel Reena Spaulings (2005).
Among his many theatrical roles, Fletcher has starred in Rambert’s Love’s End with Kate Moran, as Jim in Elevator Repair Service’s Gatz (his real-life father, Ross Fletcher, a physician, played Henry Gatz, the fictional Jim’s father), Maxwell’s Isolde, and Compagnie l’heliotrope’s Pollock (presented at PS21 in 2019, and in July at the 75th Festival d’Avignon). He performs extensively with The Wooster Group, most recently in their productions of A Pink Chair (In Place of a Fake Antique) and The Mother, by Bertolt Brecht, which in October had its New York premiere at The Performing Garage. In 2012 he received an Obie Award for Sustained Excellence.
Classically trained and rigorously de-trained, Seattle-based Lori Goldston (she/they) is a cellist, composer, and improviser. Her voice as a cellist, amplified or acoustic, is full, textured, committed and original. She rose to prominence in the Pacific Northwest music scene as co-founder of the Black Cat Orchestra and as a session cellist, notably joining Nirvana on a US tour and appearing on their famous MTV Unplugged in New York set.
With the Black Cat Orchestra, she toured and recorded for prominent national acts, including David Byrne (on his 1997 album Feelings), the One Reel Film Festival, and NPR’s This American Life. In the early 2000s, Lori began collaborating with Mirah, performed and toured with the bands Instead Of and Earth, and embarked on a solo career distinguished by genre-bending originality. She has also been an active presence in the theater. In addition to her work with Katiana Rangel and Jim Fletcher, she has collaborated on numerous plays and co-created the puppet opera The Wreck of the St. Nikolai for On the Boards and the radio play The Post Office.
A native of Brazil, Katiana Rangel (they/them) founded Untitled 29, a theater and performance research group, where they translated, co-directed, and performed Sarah Kane’s last play, 4.48 Psychosis, “a manifesto for living by one about to die” (The Guardian). In NYC, Katiana recently conceived, with the anthropologist Jasmine Pisapia, The Vessel, a series of eulogies directed by Richard Maxwell.
As a solo artist, Rangel has created several performance works, including Suspended (Movement Research at the Judson Church, Performance Art Festival in Pittsburgh, 12 Minutes Max at Base, Seattle) and Iraci or What’s Underneath My Skin (ITINERANT Festival, NYC). They are also a founding member of the dance group Les Ballets Nomades (Voices Transposed: The Refugee Crisis 2016 at Manhattan Movement and Arts Center), and a collaborator of New York City Players.
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