The Odyssey Theatre Ensemble's Student Outreach Program, THE ODDS, and the Los Angeles City College Theatre Academy present the world premiere of a multi-disciplinary performance piece that takes as its subject the biographical life of Andy Warhol and the intersection of the counterculture, art world, and social and cultural shifts in the 60s through the 1980s. Tina Kronis and Leslie Ferreira direct Untitled Warhol Project for eight performances only from November 8 through November 18 at the Odyssey Theatre in West Los Angeles. The production will be remounted at Los Angeles City College for four performances, November 29 through December 1.
Untitled Warhol Project is a docu-collage that chronicles the life of Andy Warhol, an immigrant son determined to achieve worldwide recognition at any cost, and documents the collision of the counterculture and the art world. From this convergence explodes a narrative of America and its relationship to fame and celebrity beginning in post-World War II idyll and stretching through the 1960s and '70s gay disco culture to the celebrity-soaked world of the 1980s. The Untitled Warhol Project crosses the boundaries of several disciplines and seeks to create a nonlinear, three-dimensional poem that evokes many disparate forms and genres-cabaret, documentary, fashion show, movement theater, interview, art project-all scored with the music of the Velvet Underground, 1970s disco, and Polish-Czechoslovakian folk music.
"To me Andy Warhol is perhaps the most American of artists and the most artistic of Americans," says Leslie Ferreira. "His amazing genius for reading and mirroring the culture of his times, his incredible and prolific productivity, his prescient insights into the deepest impulses of the American people-all these things inspired me to work towards creating this theatrical work. I have always been struck by the many faces of Warhol-the immigrant's child, churchgoing Catholic, graphic artist, fine artist, filmmaker, publisher, record producer, impresario, television star, shrewd businessman, social climber, empire builder, inveterate consumer."
Preparation of Untitled Warhol Project required complete immersion in the dizzying, colorful, whirlwind life of its iconic subject. Explains Ferreira: "His world is claustrophobically jam-packed-with people, artworks, collectibles, junk-and so every visit to the world of Warhol hyper stimulates and exhausts the traveler: possibilities open to the point of electrical short circuit. Working on this show was a way to organize all of my many feelings and thoughts about Andy Warhol--and to ground myself without electrocuting my brain."
"We deeply immersed ourselves with extensive research into the literature of Warhol, the key events, people, images and period of his life. In the rehearsal room we studied video of Warhol and the characters that populated his life and used this source material to recreate what we came to call 'reproductions.' At the end of this period we presented a public workshop performance after which we reevaluated and began to reshape the text and make significant changes and adjustments to the piece. A new rehearsal process began in October, culminating in this performance."
This exciting project, opening on November 9 for two weeks only, is the latest collaboration between the Odyssey's Student Outreach program, THE ODDS, and the Los Angeles City College Theatre Academy. The Odyssey is proud to be able to work collaboratively with these young theatre artists and to help them in their pursuit of an education in the arts.
Leslie Ferreira is a Professor in the Los Angeles City College Theatre Department. He received his B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley and his M.F.A. in Directing from Andy Warhol's alma mater, Carnegie Mellon University. Two of his original physical theatre productions, Unto You and Within Us (co-directed with Tina Kronis) and a third, Sam Shepard's The Unseen Hand, were performed at Kennedy Center/ACTF festivals. For ATHE he has taught Viewpoints/Tanztheatre workshops in Chicago, New York, San Diego and Toronto. He has also directed for ATHE/PlayWorks. He received three CreateLA grants through Dreamworks to work on the Mark Taper Forum's production of Lisa Loomer's Expecting Isabel , on Warner Bros. The West Wing, and to direct Patrick Marber's Closer at The Evidence Room. A member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, Mr. Ferreira was for many years the Society's Regional Coordinator on the West Coast. He directed the stage version of the Disney/Walden film Holes for Walden Entertainment in Denver, Colorado. In 2010 a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts allowed him to direct Bloody Red Heart at the Odyssey Theatre Ensemble. He served for many years as an Ovation Voter for the Los Angeles Theatre Alliance and has sat on the City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department Grant Panel for Dance. In 2009 he was honored by the Kennedy Center/American College Theater Festival with its Faculty Fellowship in Directing for Outstanding Achievement as a Teaching Artist.