Judith Malina, Living Theatre Visionary, Dies at 88

Arts Watch: The Living Theatre Debuts New Work by Judith Malina at The Clemente


After leaving their home of seven years at 21 Clinton St., the Living Theatre has settled in to the nearby Clemente Soto Velez Center and kicked off their 67th season last night (yes, you read that right) with a brand new piece titled NO PLACE TO HIDE.  Written and directed by 87 year-old living legend (and co-founder of the company) Judith Malina, the show, presented in workshop format as a work-in-progress, takes on the idea of surveillance as a household topic, asking “about the how, why, and what of hiding, taking the (participatory) audience on a journey through the untold history of New York. Challenging political, philosophical, and moral spheres of concealment, the play questions the boundaries between the private and the public while blurring our sense of intimacy.”

The production is presented by executive producer Brad Burgess, with associate artistic directors Leah Bachar, Brad Burgess and Tom Walker. Go here for tickets.

Through March 29th // $15-$20 // 8:00 p.m. // The Flamboyan Theatre at The Clemente // 107 Suffolk Street.

Living Theatre Creates Film Production Branch

living theatre

The Living Theatre has a new creative outlet: film!  The legendary company, which recently gave up its home on Clinton Street, is forming “Love Every Style Productions (L.E.S.)”  Brad Burgess, the Living Theatre’s executive producer, talked with us recently about the new project, which is meant to expand the theater’s reach, to engage with a new digital audience.

The creation of L.E.S. Productions does not mean the Living Theatre is abandoning the stage.  It’s latest production, “Here We Are,” closed on Clinton Street last month, as Judith Malina’s experimental company works towards establishing a new home at the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center.  “Here We Are” will make a return engagement at CSV next Tuesday-Friday.  Malina, who lived above the Clinton Street theater space, has moved to the Lillian Booth Actors’ Home in New Jersey; she remains creative director of the company she co-founded in 1947.

Living Theatre Closes Its Doors on Clinton Street, Celebrates With a Grand Farewell

The cast and crew (minus Judith Malina) from the Living Theatre’s production, “Here We Are,” on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. It was the last performance that will be held at 21 Clinton Street and the end of a 60-plus year career for Ms. Malina.

We stopped in for a fun, yet bittersweet, event — full of tributes, performances and an “end of the road” party with the Living Theatre last night.  John Clancy (founder of The Present Company that created the NY International Fringe Festival) read from his one man show.  Penny Arcade performed.  There was a special screening of Love and Politics, the documentary about co-founder/living legend Judith Malina. And then we were treated to a special midnight encore performance of “Here We Are,” the group’s last show on Clinton Street and Ms. Malina’s last show before going in to retirement.

New Arts Venue Planned in Living Theatre Space

As we reported earlier in the month, the legendary Living Theatre is in the middle of its last production at 21 Clinton Street, the company’s home for the past six years.  What will happen to the space after the show closes in February?  There were some clues last week when Community Board 3’s liquor license agenda came out, and now a few more details have surfaced.

According to documents posted online, Stephen Michael Rondel and Tyler Maganzini are hoping to open a new performance venue in this location named the “C.O.W. Theatre.”  There will be improv performances, repertory theater, one man shows and children’s theater. The team is asking for a wine and beer license for the concession area in the basement.  Rondel is the founder and executive director of the New Acting Company, which offers classes to both kids and adults and stages professional productions.  Maganzini runs the Black Mountain Winehouse and the Union Grounds bar, both in Brooklyn.  We’ll hear more about their plans Monday, Feb. 11 when CB3’s SLA Committee meets.

Meanwhile the Living Theatre hopes to stay in the neighborhood. We should have news about their future plans soon.  But the current production, “Here We Are,” is your last opportunity to see 86-year old Judith Malina’s groundbreaking theater company in action on Clinton Street.


Living Theatre Opens Last Show on Clinton Street

86 year old Judith Malina and the Living Theatre will be moving out of their home on Clinton Street next month, but not before putting on one last show for us.  Their latest production, Here We Are opens tonight and will run through February.  It promises to stay true to the spirit of non-violent, anarchist/experimental theater they have been producing for over sixty years.

In the show, the international (and multi-generational) company “visits the Anarchist collectives of France, Spain and The Ukraine for the 19th and 20th centuries, and finds (them)selves transported to an immersive and participatory underground outdoor/indoor crossroads of our present moment. The ensemble and the audience work together to manufacture and perform the potential creative possibilities for a post revolutionary world of beauty and non violence.”

Living Theatre’s Judith Malina Performs in “The Plot is the Revolution” This Weekend

Judith Malina

The Living Theatre and Italy’s MOTUS will present The Plot is the Revolution, starring living legend Judith Malina (still going strong at an amazing 86 years old) and Italian actress Silvia Calderoni, this weekend. The show was presented to a sold out crowd at La Mama as part of Under The Radar Festival 2012, this past summer.  Malina and Calderoni, directed by Enrico Casagrande and Daniele Nicolòcreate, create an encounter between two women representing two versions of Antigone — separated by generations, but united in the belief that theater can incite political transformation. In staying true to the Living Theatre’s consistent agenda, the story involves a journey through history and theater, as the two form a “political commitment to become participants in a search for the beautiful, non-violent anarchist revolution.”

The Plot is the Revolution runs October 25-27 at 8pm at The Living Theatre (21 Clinton Street). Tickets are $20; $15, students and seniors,

Arts Watch: Summertime Festivals on the LES

Summer is here and so are the summer festivals. This week two of them kick off on the LES: the undergroundzero festival begins on Friday the 29th, and Dixon Place’s HOT Festival revs up on Sunday, July 1st.

Created originally as an annual guest artist festival at Collective: Unconscious in 2007, the month-long undergroundzero festival has evolved into a “resident coalition of established independent theater companies producing in New York City,” including the Living Theater, which will act as this year’s host.

The Living Theatre Turns to Crowd Funding in Bid For Survival

Last month, we told you about the plight of the legendary Living Theater on Clinton Street.   Co-founder Judith Malina temporarily averted eviction from the performance space as well as her apartment located above the theater.  The experimental institution’s troubles are not over, though. The bills keep piling up – and the theater’s long-term future is uncertain.

Now crowdfunding start-up Lucky Ant is trying to help.  The Living Theater is the featured project on Lucky Ant’s web site; the goal is to raise $24,000 in the next 13 days not only to pay the rent but to hire a consultant who will help Malina and company develop a five year financial plan.

Watch the video posted above to hear about the dire situation in Malina’s own words and see more info about the fundraising campaign here.

You might also want to have a look at this passionate plea from John Clancy (a founding artistic director of the Fringe Festival) about the importance of saving the Living Theater.


Living Theatre Revisits Seven Meditations On Political Sado-Masochism

A Poster from the 1973 Production

The Living Theatre is presenting a rare revival of one of their most significant pieces, Seven Meditations On Political Sado-Masochism, which has not been performed since it’s debut in 1973.  Seven Meditations was written after co-founder Judith Malina and members of the company were imprisoned–and some tortured–by the Médici dictatorship in Brazil in that same year. Described as “a visceral examination of the social contract between the governed and the government,” the play explores Sacher-Masoch’s Six Houses of Bondage: Love, Money, Property, State, War and Death, with a seventh meditation on Revolutionary Change. Associate Director Brad Burgess tells us the show has been updated to address the political prisoners and victims of the current revolutions. The show is being presented by the Culture Project’s Women Center Stage which is at The Living Theatre all month. Directed by living legend, Judith Malina.  The show contains nudity and a simulated torture scene. Every Tues. and Wed. at 10:30pm during March // Pay What You Can at the door // 21 Clinton Street.

Living Theatre Offers Free Live Stream of Final Performances of KORACH

The Living Theatre is honoring the spirit of the Egyptian Revolution by live-streaming their final performances of KORACH – a play about “the first recorded anarchist in history.”  The piece was written and directed by living legend Judith Malina, a pioneer in experimental and political theater

KORACH follows the history of anarchists who have been wiped out because they frightened the government. Inspired by the Books of Moses, the Jewish Mishnas, and also the Psalms, KORACH begins with the Israelites’ trek through the desert and eventual uprising against Moses, lead by Korach and his tribe.

Living Theatre Offers Free Yoga and Qi-gong

A free Qi-gong and yoga class at the Living Theatre

There is a special qi gong (pronounced Chi Gong) yoga class being offered at the Living Theatre right now on Friday evenings at 5pm, through the month of February. The instructor is artist and performer Kennedy Yanko. She has studied and continues to work privately with her sifu (which means teacher in Chinese) since she was 15. She is also a member and performer at the Living Theatre.  She incorporates yoga and qi gong for the practice of the class.  Her teacher bio is here.

Neo-Futurists Bring (Un)Afraid to the Living Theatre

Experimental theater company Neo-Futurists (creators of the long-running “Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind: 30 Plays in 60 Minutes“) are bringing a new show to the Living Theatre for a four-week limited engagement. Presenting what is billed as their “Fall 2010 horror show and fear experiment,” the show will examine the concept, causes and consequences of fear.  Attempting to summon a different guest spirit each performance, from such deceased masters of horror as Edgar Allen Poe, HP Lovecraft, Mary Shelley, M.R. James, the New York Neo-Futurists call upon the forces of chance and change to present a different show every night. Oct. 14th – Nov.6th // $18.00, $12 Student rush // 21 Clinton Street.

Blondie of Arabia Comes to The Living Theatre

A workshop of a new solo show, Blondie of Arabia, will debut at the Living Theatre tonight. The show, written and performed by Monica Hunken, chronicles the true story of a desert odyssey in the Persian Gulf, while Hunken was working with a catering company at a royal wedding party and ended up biking across three countries in the Middle East. Alone. Directed by Laura Newman.

June 3-5 // 8pm // 21 Clinton St. // Tickets: $15, $10 for military/senior // 10% of proceeds go to support Follow the Women.

Weekend Arts & Entertainment

Along with our weekly music and art opening picks (not to mention the Big Art Group Takeover at Abrons), here are a few other activities you might want to check out on this action-packed weekend:

James Braly

Writer/performer/storyteller James Braly will preview his newest work-in-progress, Asylum, tonight and tomorrow night at Dixon Place.  Braly is best known for his successful one-man show, Life in a Marriage Institution, and for his ongoing hijinks at the famed story-telling joint, The Moth. Asylum is the (real-life?) story of a high school pothead who checks himself into the only place he can’t get high: a psychiatric hospital. $10. 8pm.