Arts Watch: “The People L.E.S.” Lands at Abrons Arts Center

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An outdoor spectacle is coming to the Lower East Side this week courtesy of Big Art Group, and everyone is invited to participate. This Friday and Saturday, four-story high moving live images will be projected onto the walls of Abrons Arts Center’s amphitheater as part of the Big Art Group’s The People L.E.S.

Big Art Group is no stranger to theatrical spectacles. They have been creating participatory events that push the formal boundaries of theater, digital media and visual arts and since their founding in 1999.  The People comes to the LES after several other iterations and site-specific productions in Italy, Germany and Austria, and is loosely based on the Greek dramatist Aeschylus’ tragic trilogy, The Oresteia. The project takes its inspiration from the foundational ideas of “community dialogue and the birth of democracy” raised through the play’s stories of war, politics, murder, family and revenge. Timeless themes.

The People L.E.S  was created with 36 Lower East Side community members and Abrons’ very own Urban Youth Theater and combines live theatrical reenactments with real-time video and filmed interviews with the LES community members who share their ideas about democracy, war, terrorism and justice as it relates to their personal histories. Designed to be experienced as “a kind of living television,” the live action takes place both inside and outside the building– performers can be viewed through windows and doorways, while the projections take over the building’s exterior.

Audience members play a crucial role — as well acting as a kind of greek chorus and witness to the proceedings and helping to transform Abrons Arts Center into a theatrical “town square.”  Admission is free.  Reservations are not required.

Abrons Arts Center // 466 Grand Street //  Friday and Saturday May 9 and 10, // 8pm // Free admission.