July 4, 2006

Ko Festival

Filed under: Listings,out of town,Press Releases,Uncategorized — offoffbway @ 8:53 pm

This is waaaay off-off Broadway – Amherst, MA, to be exact. It does feature a lot of NYC-based artists, though, and we don’t like to be all “I never leave the island of Manhattan”. Some of these sound interesting, and hey, maybe you’ll be traveling and will check some of these out. Full press release follows; for more info visit KoFest.com.

The Ko Festival of Performance Celebrates the Opening of its 15th Anniversary Season with a Gala Weekend of Live Performance –

Three Evenings of Fabulous Fun!
Dates: Friday-Sunday, July 15-17
Times: 8 p.m.

For Reservations call (413) 542-2277. Box office opens July 10.

For further information visit www.kofest.com. or call (413) 427-6147.

Who says you can’t go home again? The Ko Festival of Performance is celebrating it’s 15th birthday by inviting back artists from the last 14 years of the Festival to show Valley audiences their latest work. The festival is opening with a trio of extraordinary events. On Friday, July 14 at 8 p.m., perennial KoFest favorite Ralph Lee’s Mettawee River Company conjures their latest magic with an adventure tale for all ages, Valentyne and Orson, performed under the stars at the Amherst College Observatory lawn. (Remember The Caucasian Chalk Circle (’05) The Heroic and Pathetic Escapdes of Karagiozis (’04) and Psyche (’03))? On Saturday, July 15 at 8 p.m., come to The Ko Kabaret, featuring a fabulous roster of Ko Festival alumnae in an evening of live music, compelling movement, wacky humor and wild performance, all in a stunning environment created from non-traditional and found materials by members of Boston’s hot, young ensemble TENT. Then on Sunday, July 16th at 8pm catch House/Boy, the internationally acclaimed concluding chapter of Nicky Paraiso’s trilogy that began with Asian Boys, which was featured in the 1994 Ko Festival. It is a sweet, poignant and musical look at parental legacies, and the enduring theme of what “home” means to Filipino Americans.

Friday, July 14 at 8 p.m.


Ralph Lee’s Mettawee River Company of New York

In celebration of its’ 31st season, Mettawee River Company has created Valentyne and Orson, based on a sprawling medieval French folk tale. This magical work conjures up for the KO

contemporary audience the pageantry of court, castles and dark forests alive in the medieval imagination. Valentyne and Orson is about “finding harmony with nature by embracing one’s
Festival of Performance opens 15th Aniversary Season!

opposite,” says Ralph Lee, founder and artistic director of Mettawee River. Lee is renowned as a master whose original work incorporates gorgeous masks, giant figures, puppets of all dimensions and other visual elements, with live music, movement and text. He draws on myths, legends and folklore of the world’s many cultures for his material. In his design and direction, Lee seeks to create vivid theatrical moments with economy and elegance. The production features an original musical score composed by Neal Kirkwood, performed by musicians Corey King on trombone and Barbara Benary on violin. Costumes are designed by Casey Compton.

A graduate of Amherst College, Ralph Lee received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2003, one of the nation’s most prestigious honors and among many other awards has been the recipient of several OBIE Awards; American Theatre Wing Design Awards; and a New York State Governor’s Arts Award in recognition of his many contributions to the artistic and cultural life of New York State.

An all-ages event, outdoors on the Amherst College Observatory Lawn off of Snell Street. Bring blankets, lawn chairs and insect repellant, but leave the pets at home. Tickets: $7/adults, $5/children. No reservations necessary! RAIN LOCATION: Holden Theatre on the Amherst College Campus. ASL-interpreted by Joan Wattman.

Saturday July 15, at 8p.m.


Special Anniversary Gala!

Music, Movement, Performance, and more!

In an echo of The Ko Show that closed its first season 15 years ago, and as a Gala birhday celebration, the Ko Festival of Performance welcomes back a fabulous and eclectic roster of artists from the first fourteen years – including five artists from their very first season: Wendy Woodson, Lesley Farlow, Ara Fitzgerald and two of the Founding Directors of Ko – Janna Goodwin and Sabrina Hamilton. Ara Fitzgerald will perform several short original pieces. She also has the performance rights to a piece by exiled German Expressionist dancer Lotte Goslar; and as a special treat – she will share that reconstruction with us. NY composer Katie Down – who composed the music for The House Not Touched by Death at Ko, returns to the Festival with her ensemble, Adelantre (“Forward”, in the Ladino language of the Sephardic Jews). The group performs traditional Sephardic and Ladino songs with new arrangements incorporating complex vocal polyphony and non-traditional instruments; Jeff Janisheski; known to Ko audiences for his Japanese-influenced butoh dance work returns to direct a segment of Charles Mee’s Salome – a very contemporary look at that biblical temptress. Touchstone Theatre, Nicky Paraiso; Wendy Woodson and Pilgrim Theatre whose work will be shown later in the Festival will give us glimpses of some of their other work. Pilgrim Theatre’s Kermit Dunkelberg, Belle Linda Halpern and Ron Roy contribution will be highlights from their Brecht cabaret Moon Over Dark Street. Many more surprises are in store, and all of this will be performed in an environment designed from non-traditional and found objects created by Justin Townsend (theatre designer and recipient of the second annual USITT Rising Star Award), Shannon Scrofano and other members of Boston’s hot, contemporary collective TENT.

Tickets for The Anniversary Gala, THE KO KABARET are $20/adults and $15/students and seniors. A very limited number of $8 special rush tickets will be available at exactly 1 hour prior to curtain. At the Holden Theatre on the Amherst College Campus.
KO Festival of Performance opens 15th Anniversary Season!

Sunday, July 16 at 8 p.m.


Conceived and performed by Nicky Paraiso of NYC

Directed by Ralph Peña, of the Ma-Yi Company of NYC

Nicky Paraiso’s third autobiographical evening-length solo work with music and mutimedia, deals with identity, sexuality and the enduring theme of what “home” means to Filipino Americans. Last season, Luis Francia wrote in the Village Voice, “In the earlier parts of his Asian Boys trilogy, Nicky Paraiso explored with a ruminative yet passionate voice his growing up queer and Filipino, with a strong-willed mother, in a Queens landscape of loss. In House/Boy, the third installment, he sings of his father, who has previously remained mostly in the background as the strong silent male-in a xenophobic society the imposed role for immigrant men of color, valued for their hard work but resented for their bravado and flamboyance….With a piano and some well-chosen songs, Paraiso has shepherded expertly and movingly the different parts of his tale under one well-wrought roof.”

Nicky Paraiso was a member of Meredith Monk/The House and Vocal Ensemble (1981-1990), touring extensively throughout the US, Europe and Japan. He has also worked with Jeff Weiss and Carlos Ricardo Martinez since 1979 and was an actor and musical director in Come Clean and the Obie-winning Hot Keys. He is affiliated with Yoshiko Chuma and the School of Hard Knocks, with whom he has appeared in four major productions since 1988. He is also a frequent performer with Ma-Yi Theatre/NATCO. Paraiso’s awards include a 1987 Bessie and a NYSCA Performance Art Initiative Grant. He was nominated for the prestigious Cal Arts/Alpert Award in 1998. His films include Book of Days, Fresh Kill and Jeffrey.

House/Boy was very recently featured in Los Angeles at the East-West Players’ conference The Next Big Bang: An Explosion of Asian American Theatre; and in Mexico City’s International Cabaret Festival. Paraiso is the Performance Curator at The Club@La MaMa in NYC.

Tickets $15/adults and $12/students and seniors. A very limited number of $6 special rush tickets will be available at exactly 1 hour prior to curtain. At the Holden Theatre on the Amherst College Campus.

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