“Casta”: A Drama League “Next Stage” residency

Salvage Vanguard Theater (SVT), an Austin, Texas-based theater company, will be in New York City May 22-25, 2017 for a “Next Stage” residency with the Drama League. Director Jenny Larson will be developing performance piece Casta written by Adrienne Dawes in collaboration with composer Graham Reynolds.

Casta is inspired by a unique genre of portraiture that grew in popularity over the 18th century in Nueva España (Mexico). Casta paintings depicted various different racial mixtures in the New World, arranged in a specific hierarchy of race and status, as defined by Spanish elites. The complexities of contemporary racial and ethnic identity(ies) are echoed in this distant mirror of casta paintings. How do Old World anxieties about ambiguous identities reflect contemporary biases? How can the interaction between performance and visual art, specifically portraiture, open a window for a unique audience experience about racial identity?

Drama League’s Next Stage residencies are bestowed upon early-career, mid-career, and established directors developing projects intended for production in the near future. The residency supports collaborators with rigorous rehearsal, workshop, and developmental time to ready new work for pre-production.

With the Drama League’s support, Salvage Vanguard will bring Jenny Larson, Adrienne Dawes, Graham Reynolds, and actors Florinda Bryant, Noel Gaulin and khattieQ to workshop Casta in New York. Joining the ensemble from New York are actors Huling Foster, Lindsley Howard and Arturo Soria. 

At the end of the week of exploration and experimentation, audiences are invited to witness the piece in its current state on Thursday May 25th at 7pm in the Studio Lab at the Drama League Theater Center, in Tribeca.

PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE: Thursday, May 25th 2017 7:00- 8:30pm

PERFORMANCE LOCATION: The Drama League Theater Center, 32 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10013

TICKETS: FREE! Reservations available online at http://tickets.dramaleague.org/

Tickets will also be available at the door the night of the performance.

ABOUT ADRIENNE DAWES:  Adrienne Dawes is an award-winning playwright and producer from Austin, TX. Her full-length plays include: Denim Doves (2016), Am I White (2014, B. Iden Payne Award for Outstanding Script; David Mark Cohen New Play Award; Kilroys honorable mention), and You Are Pretty (2004, Stanley and Evelyn Lipkin Prize for Playwriting). Adrienne is a member of the Dramatists Guild and company member of Salvage Vanguard Theater. Adrienne is currently based in Tulsa, OK as part of the first writing cohort of the Tulsa Artist Fellowship, supported by the George Kaiser Family Foundation.

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ABOUT JENNY LARSON: Named Best of Austin “Theater Director” by the Austin Chronicle, Jenny Larson is the artistic director of Salvage Vanguard Theater (SVT) in Austin Texas. She is a director, producer, and performer. Directing credits include: Rude Mechs collaboration From the Pig Pile: The Requisite Gesture(s) of Narrow Approach by Sibyl Kempson. Pig Pile premiered at the Fusebox Festival in 2014. Jenny’s devised collaboration with Hannah Kenah, Guest by Courtesy, played the Fusebox Festival in 2013, SHE MAKES THEATER festival in Sofia, Bulgaria in 2013, and the Brooklyn Yard in 2016. Jenny was awarded Best Director of a Drama from the B. Iden Payne Committee for her work on AM I WHITE by Adrienne Dawes. She was awarded Best Director of a Drama by the Austin Critics Circle for her work on Voices Underwater by Abi Basch. She is an Artist-In-Residence in Kokkola, Finland this summer with the Nordic Art School and Drake Art Centre. She is also an Artist-In-Residence at the Drama League in May of 2017.

ABOUT GRAHAM REYNOLDS: Called “the quintessential modern composer” by the London Independent, Austin-based composer-bandleader Graham Reynolds creates, performs, and records music for film, theater, dance, rock clubs and concert halls with collaborators ranging from Richard Linklater and Jack Black to DJ Spooky and Ballet Austin.  Heard throughout the world in films, on TV, on stage, and on radio, from HBO to Showtime, Cannes Film Festival to the Kennedy Center, and BBC to NPR, he recently scored “Before Midnight” with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, “Bernie” featuring Jack Black, and the Hulu TV series “Up To Speed”.  His score to the Robert Downey, Jr. feature "A Scanner Darkly" was named Best Soundtrack of the Decade by Cinema Retro magazine.  With the jazz-based but far reaching Golden Arm Trio, Reynolds has repeatedly toured the country and released four critically acclaimed albums.  His awards include an Independent Music Award, Lowe Music Theater Award, six Austin Critic’s Table awards, the John Bustin Award, an Amp Award, seven Austin Chronicle Best Composer wins, and a B. Iden Payne Award.  His current work-in-progress is a multi-year three part commission from Ballroom Marfa titled "The Marfa Triptych", a portrait of deep West Texas that Vogue Magazine described as "beautiful and raucous".  Find out more at grahamreynolds.com

This project received developmental support as part of the 2017 Artist Residency Program of The Drama League of New York (Gabriel Stelian-Shanks, Executive Artistic Director; Travis LeMont Ballenger, Associate Producer; Sherri Eden Barber, Program Director). The Drama League Artist Residency Program is funded in part by the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust and the Howard Gilman Foundation. This project is funded and supported in part by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts. Art Works, and in part by the City of Austin Economic Development Department/Cultural Arts Division believing an investment in the Arts is an investment in Austin’s future.  This project is produced in coordination with the Dougherty Arts Center and Museums and Cultural Programs. Visit Austin at NowPlayingAustin.com.