The Lab announces The Gathering, a four-day free theater festival at GU

The Lab announces The Gathering, a four-day free theater festival at GU

The Laboratory for Global Performance & Politics (The Lab) will present the return of The

The Laboratory for Global Performance & Politics (The Lab) will present the return of The Gathering, a four-day theater festival on Georgetown University’s campus Wednesday, May 4, through Saturday, May 7, 2022. As part of The Lab’s mission to humanize politics through performance, this year’s festival will gather leading artists, thought-leaders, policymakers, activists, scholars, and the next generation of change-makers both in-person and virtually from around the world. Attendees will be inspired by productions and pop-up performances by international artists, and partake in vibrant discussions, forums, and workshops all addressing critical global issues in hopes of sparking transformation and change. 

Launched in 2019 as a biennial festival, this year’s festival marks the first since the pandemic postponed 2021’s event. The Gathering will offer diverse programming centered around the contributions of its Global Lab Fellows including productions, readings, discussions, and workshops, with comprehensive live-streaming for all of The Lab’s community through an interactive portal.

Public performances from visiting artists around the world will explore topics ranging from missing Native Americans, to the arrest of gay men in Egypt, to a multi-media, multi-continental conversation about the collective memories during the pandemic lockdown, and much more.

The Lab’s Global Lab Fellows will also present performances on topics including undocumented low-wage factory workers, the criminal justice system, and the shameful history of colonial white people treating Black bodies as a “different species.”

Workshops will also be held during the four-day festival exploring Hip Hop culture, climate chaos, rhythm, movement, and more.

 While some events are reserved for festival invitees, the public is welcome to attend the following performances and workshops for free with registration.  

PUBLIC PERFORMANCES BY LAB FELLOWS & COLLABORATORS

To register for all FREE events, click here.

How We Go Missing from the Anishinaabe Theater Exchange (Michigan)
May 4, 5 pm, workshop production, FREE with registration
Davis Performing Arts Center, Georgetown University

This work explores the ways Native American people continue to “go missing,” both physically and through lack of representation in the United States. How We Go Missing is composed of two works: one solo performance and one ensemble performance. In the one-woman show, we follow Lucy (an incarcerated Native American woman on death row) as she seeks connection in her final moments. With a lot to get off of her chest in a short amount of time, she discusses topics from love to her identity. Boxed in by beliefs, society, and the self—do we make these boxes, or do the boxes make us? The ensemble work, done via the Indigenous dramaturgical practice of story weaving, plays off these same themes. This piece examines the erasure of Native peoples and explores the stories of missing and murdered Indigenous relatives and the impact on those left behind.

Andares from Makuyeika Colectiva Teatral (Mexico)
May 4, 8 pm, FREE with registration
Davis Performing Arts Center, Georgetown University

Woven from ancestral myths, personal anecdotes, and traditional music, Andares brings together the lives and stories of three characters of Indigenous origins: Mayan, Muxe, and Wixarika. The play shines a light on a range of realities faced by Indigenous peoples in Mexico—land usurpation, widespread violence, community resistance—all at the crossroads of old and new ways of life. Meaning “pathways,” Andares is a sincere, revelatory, and intimate close-up on some of Mexico’s most remote corners and the astonishing stories of its extraordinary people. Conceived by Héctor Flores Komatsu after a year-long search in Mexico, Andares is both a deeply touching and fierce denunciation against a present that seems intent on destroying what was once held as sacred.

Disposable from Global Lab Fellow, Jasmin Cardenas
Thursday, May 5, 1:30 pm, FREE with registration
Davis Performing Arts Center, Georgetown University

What guarantees do working people in America have today? Do parallels exist between low-wage temp workers/day laborers and career professionals? Over the course of two years, actor and activist Jasmin Cardenas interviewed blue and white collar working  people in a variety of fields to consider some of these questions. Voices of undocumented low-wage factory workers and educated professionals are brought to life in this Documentary theater/Verbatim theater solo play. Jasmin Cardenas, Playwright & Performer; Raquel Torre González, Director

Zandezi from Mitambo Theater and Global Lab Fellow, Lloyd Nyikadzino of Zimbabwe
Thursday, May 5, 3:30 pm, FREE with registration
Davis Performing Arts Center, Georgetown University

Zandei is a provocative, daring, and award-winning physical theater piece that uses story and physicality to interrogate and tackle criminal justice systems, from the point of view of those within them. It focuses on Philani, who was wrongfully accused of a crime that he did not commit. Through him we weigh prison vs. society, asking “Is prison a rehabilitation center, or does it actually create more hardcore criminals from innocent people?” Ronald Sigeca, Deviser and Actor; Cadrick Msongelwa, Deviser and Actor; Lloyd Nyikadzino, Director

Drowning in Cairo from Golden Thread Productions (San Francisco)
May 5, 7:30 pm, FREE with registration
Davis Performing Arts Center, Georgetown University

It is May 2001 in Cairo. Moody, Khalid, and their servant Taha are on the Queen Boat, a gay nightclub docked on the Nile. When an unexpected police raid results in the arrest and public humiliation of the attendees, the lives of these young men are altered forever. Adam Ashraf Elsayigh’s debut production weaves budding romances, class differences, and familial expectations into a loving portrait of three men who all struggle to rebuild their lives against all odds.

Black Circus from Global Lab Fellow Princess Mhlongo and collaborator Albert Ibokwe Khoza, South Africa
Friday, May 6, 1 pm & 3 pm, FREE with registration
Davis Performing Arts Center, Georgetown University

Exhibits showcasing artifacts and actual people were popular in the western world during the colonial period. How do we deal with a shameful legacy that echoes into the present? Should we seek to erase it, bury it in the history books, or resurrect and acknowledge this difficult past? This work dwells heavily on the early recorded study of Black bodies as a “different species” to the white man. The artists write: “We pay tribute to the spirit of Sarah Baartman and the many Africans whose lives and bodies were turned into a spectacle for white-supremacist pleasure. We pay homage to our ancestors who gave up everything for the benefit of the world at large.” Albert Ibokwe Khoza, Creative Director and Performer; Princess Mhlongo, Producer and Director

Risk Lab from Global Lab Fellow Ada Mukhina, of St. Petersburg, Russia
Friday, May 6, 1 pm & 3 pm, FREE with registration
Davis Performing Arts Center, Georgetown University

Risk Lab is a series of participatory performances about risk in art and artists at risk. For each performance, Ada Mukhína invites a new guest to the theater via video link. Based on interviews and the lived experiences of artists at risk from all over the world, this piece challenges the role of art in modern society. Look forward to artistic provocations that invite you to think, make decisions, and act according to them! The first two episodes of Risk Lab with Abhishek Thapar (India/Netherlands) and Anis Hamdoun (Syria/Germany) premiered in Camden People‘s Theatre in London in 2018. The third episode with Anna Sagalchik and Tim Tkachev (Belarus/Russia)  premiered in Deutsches Theater Berlin in 2021. New episode created especially for The Gathering 2022, by Ada Mukhina and Elina Kulikova (Russia).

How to Eat Mangoes from Global Lab Fellow Afshan D’souza Lodhi, of Manchester, U.K.
Friday, May 6, 1 pm & 3 pm, FREE with registration
Davis Performing Arts Center, Georgetown University

How to Eat Mangoes is a performative, interactive lecture from our resident Rishta Aunty, who sells mangoes by day and matchmakes at night. This sensual piece takes  the audience through the intricacies of the mango and unearths the hidden sexual core that sits in the center of our beings. When our hands are enough to rupture skin, do we bring a knife to a mango fight? Are we afraid of getting messy, of truly digging deep inside flesh and tasting honesty? How to Eat Mangoes is a radical antidote to the narratives of destruction and death that we are being fed by the mainstream media.

Performing Dangerously, The Lab’s Tenth Anniversary Celebration
Friday, May 6, 7:30 pm, FREE with registration
Davis Performing Arts Center, Georgetown University

Inspired in part by Azar Nafisi (Lab Associate Artist and best-selling author of Reading Lolita in Tehran) and her new book Read Dangerously, this special evening of performances celebrates the courage and resilience of performing artists around the world who are creating courageous art in the context of danger. Participants include many long-time Lab collaborators such as Belarus Free Theatre; Heather Raffo (9 Parts of Desire); Mélisande Short Colomb with a live excerpt from her celebrated virtual performance of Here I Am; Diaries from Ukraine, featuring youth voices from the war; and more.

Resonant Bodies: Dance Party from Resident Movement Artist and Global Lab core member, Emma Jaster
Friday, May 6, 9:30pm
TBD

Resonant Bodies is an outlet for all that cannot be expressed in words while we celebrate reunions, resilience, and all that is yet to come. Part of an ongoing research project in embodied listening, Resonant Bodies continues the Lab’s tradition of Witnessing Across Difference, In Your  Shoes, and Performing One Another, to connect beneath and beyond words. Framing the ongoing work of theater and dance practitioners worldwide as an intentional tool for working across cultures, this project aspires to build empathy and trust through joyous action—replacing analysis with kinesthetic response and sublimating rage in dance. This  is a participatory performance celebrating the body as a culture-bearer and its movement as a tool for connection with the otherwise “other.” Featuring the media genius of Katerina Vitaly and Taylor Verrett, and the physical genius of dancers from around the world. 

Theatre, Asylum, and Magic: Devising The Cassette Shop from Inaugural Lab Fellow, Asif Majid
Saturday, May 7, 11:45 am
Davis Performing Arts Center, Georgetown University 

Luciar and Alé are two strangers who have an unexpected meeting in the most unlikely of places: a cassette shop. Their first conversation is weird, confusing, and complicated. However, it soon becomes clear that there is much more to their relationship than meets  the eye. The Cassette Shop is a mix of testimony, ethnopoetic, devised, and documentary theater created by a group of asylum-seeking Storytellers in Washington, DC. Hailing from Iraq, Indonesia, The Gambia, Venezuela, China, and elsewhere, the group worked for over a year to create a production that is true to the experience of asylum-seeking, while emphasizing the hope and hilarity that is so often central to such journeys. This session, Theatre, Asylum, and Magic: Devising The Cassette Shop, offers an excerpted reading of The Cassette Shop, followed by a panel and dialogue with the Storytellers and creative team. Asif Majid, Lead Deviser; Nikoo Mamdoohi, Director; Tameem and Kartika, Performers

Lockdown Memory from Anna Dora Dorno, of the 2019 Artist Residency co-created by The Lab and the European Union National Institutes for Culture
Saturday, May 7, 11:45 am, FREE with registration
Davis Performing Arts Center, Georgetown University

Lockdown Memory is a performance lecture that makes the new multimedia languages dialogue with those of the stage, telling the complexity of an innovative project in which theater, video art, and documentary films are intertwined through a remote collaboration with artists from all over the world. Text and visual notes, physical and musical scores, conversations in Zoom, and scenes from the daily life of the artists are the dramaturgical fragments that bounce off the walls of an aseptic room. In search of a single glimmer, a virtual window to a world that had to mark its own borders, due to the pandemic. The performers on stage relive moments and situations caused by the lockdown, giving voice to the delicate social situations in the countries of the artists involved: from the protests of Black Lives Matter in the United States to the social revolt in Chile, from the mass exodus from the Indian megalopolis to the return to normality, after the tragedy, in the city of Wuhan. Anna Dora Dorno, Director & onstage performer; Nicola Pianzola, Original Text and onstage performer; Sun Young Park, Juliana Spinola, Anuradha Venkataraman, Cecilia Seaward, Jesus Quintero, Ana Gabriela Pulido, Maham Suahil, Jialan Cai, and Yuwei Jiang Danial Kheyrikhah, Performers on Video

PUBLIC WORKSHOPS

Verbatim Bodies from Global Lab Fellow, Trà Nguyen of Vietnam
Thursday, May 5, 10:00 am
Davis Performing Arts Center, Georgetown University

Would you like to create your own artwork that lies between theater and performance art? Would you like to see how a “character” emerges from your own body and not from a script? Would you like to practice a few techniques in theater-making, and then try them out with others? This workshop is for you! Theater maker Tra Nguyen will share her working hypothesis Verbatim Bodies, and lead a hands-on (and on-your-feet) session on creating performance using her unique methodology. By the end of the workshop, everyone will have created, participated in, or observed an original theater/performance work!

Cultural Diplomacy Through the Lens of Hip Hop Culture: Why & The Urgency of Now from Junious Brickhouse of Next Level and Urban Artistry
Friday, May 6, 10:00 am
Davis Performing Arts Center, Georgetown University

As a fully actualized global culture, consisting not only of music but also language, fashion, and traditions, Hip Hop is a uniquely effective vehicle for cultural diplomacy  around the world. Next Level is an initiative of the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs (ECA) at the U.S. Department of State, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Meridian  International Center that brings multidisciplinary teams of Hip Hop Artist Educators to communities around the world to engage in cultural diplomacy by means of empowering local Hip Hop artists to create sustainable careers for themselves and sustainable institutions for their community. Through the lens of Hip Hop, we are able to engage in meaningful cross-cultural dialogue and effect change in the lives of individuals and communities, including our own. This workshop will share observations and best practices from Next Level residencies and encourage participants to identify places in their communities of practice where these principles could enhance communication, conflict transformation, economic development, and artistic excellence.

Creative Writing and Climate Chaos from founding member of LubDub Theater, and Georgetown alum, Miranda Rose Hall
Friday, May 6, 10:00 am
Davis Performing Arts Center, Georgetown University

Join playwright Miranda Rose Hall for a workshop about creative writing and climate chaos. The workshop will offer participants a chance to imagine, write, and share fictional work about the realities of our times. We will focus on writing for performance, though writers of all disciplines are welcome.

Chonta’s Sound: Drumming from Inaugural Lab Fellow, Manuel Francisco Viveros
Saturday, May 7, 10:00 am
Davis Performing Arts Center, Georgetown University

This workshop aims to present, identify, and explore two representative rhythms of the music and culture of the Colombian South Pacific Coast Region: El Bunde and El  Currulao. As a rhythm and as a rite, El Bunde is an important expression in certain Afro-descendant cultures south of the Colombian coast in the Pacific Ocean. Its cadence, the call and response in its song, and the relationship with life and death are part of its main characteristics. The Currulao encompasses an entire sound from which many of the rhythms in the coastal towns of the Pacific Ocean in Colombia and northern Ecuador emerge. The hour-and-a-half workshop seeks to bring its participants closer to the unknown Colombia. With Chonta’s Sound Musicians: Mauricio Nieto Lugo, Edilberto Castaño, Manuel Francisco Viveros

Puppets for the People from Jessica Litwak, Artistic Director of The H.E.A.T. Collective, core member of Theatre Without Borders, and Fulbright Scholar
Saturday, May 7, 10:00 am
Davis Performing Arts Center, Georgetown University

 Join theater artist and drama therapist Jessica Litwak for this fun, creative, and therapeutic puppet-making workshop. Learn the tools to build and bring to life a puppet using simple materials. These playful puppet-building workshops have been done in conflict zones in and with traumatized populations in Palestine, Israel, India,  Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq, and all over Europe and the U.S., with kids from ages 4–18 and with all types of adult groups. They encourage self-expression and community building. The workshops have also been extraordinarily effective for training actors, drama therapists, Theatre of the Oppressed practitioners, theater-makers, social workers, and human rights workers. Jessica Litwak is an internationally recognized theater educator, playwright, director, performer, puppet builder, and drama therapist.

The Lab humanizes global politics through performance. We cultivate a distinctive global community of collaborators that includes students, emerging and established artists, educators, policy leaders, and activists. Our work harnesses narrative, memory, and acts of witnessing with the aim of sparking transformation and change.