— Kevin Jackson Acting Studio

Box and Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse Tung by Edward Albee

August 30th to September 9th, 2006

Presented by Cumulus Productions
Parade Studio, NIDA

‘In a repertory of inventive and unique dramatic experiences Box and Quotations from Chariman Mao Tse-Tung must stand alone as the most ingenious product of Albee’s Imagination. It is a leap into the unexplored. A Platonic “recognition” an experience altogether
new..’(Anne Paulucci) And yet as I reacquainted myself with the text – it was written in 1968! – the fact that I have not ever seen it, despite the Albee authorship, may be testament to it’s daring; it’s experimentation.

Earlier this year I worked on Chekov’s The Seaglll: the young hero, Konstantin, writes a play in search of New Form and is misunderstood and ridiculed by the conventional audience. In the U.S. In 1968 with the Visual Arts (an Albee passion) exploring in Sculpture: Assemblage and Minimalism. Artists like Larry Bell and Don Judd were producing new expressions of Form. Musicians like John Cage and Alvin Lucier were similarly pushing the boundaries. Maybe the politicians of the time (Johnson, Nixon) were also pushing our beliefs and so it was probably only natural for Edward Albee to play with the possibility of a New Form in theatre. Certainly he had pushed his audience with Tiny Alice and confounded them – so why not go further…? Don’t be afraid: you are exploring with the contemporary Master of the American Theatre and if you follow his advice ‘All that you need do is quite simply relax and let the plays happen’ something mesmerizing and profound could take place. We know him famously as a master language-musician and have fallen under his provoking yet stimulating spell since Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, A Delicate Balance and Three Tall Women, and recently at Company B’s The Goat or Who Is Sylvia? and you may find him in Box and Quotations From Chairman Mao-Tse Tung spellbinding again.

The Company have found the rehearsal daunting, challenging, scary. The major part of the performance can only happen when the audience is present – attentive and willing to participate. It is a wholly exciting inter-active performance-art installation where the famous circle of audience and performer give – and-take (which can only happen in a live performance) is the key to the completion of the piece of art. The audience is engaged in a vivid collaboration. We will offer more questions than answers. Like the recent French film Hidden you could be discussing it well into the rest of the year or just be outraged or bored. We hope it is the former and not either of the latter.

Cast: Box: the voice of Jane Harders. Quotations From Chariman Mao-Tse Tung: Rick Lau: Chairman Mao; Elaine Hudson: Long Winded Lady; Genevieve Mooy: Old Woman; John Grinston: Minister

Kevin Jackson: Director; Matthew Tunchon: Lighting Designer; Kim Scott: Costume Design; Pete Neville: Sound Design; Pearl Tan: Assistant Producer; Pat Kelly: Stage Manager; Marianna Papadakis: Publicity; Photography: Belinda Mason-Lovering