Orchard Beach, Nathan’s hot dogs, and Whitney Houston’s hair are all part of the landscape in Okwui Okpokwasili’s Bronx Gothic. At the intersection of theater, dance, and visual art installation, Bronx Gothic gives palatable force to the charged relationship between two girls on the verge of adolescence in 1980s outer-borough New York City. Their lives are revealed with unflinching honesty as clandestine, sex-saturated notes are passed between them. Okpokwasili’s unforgettable, intensely physical performance pushes against extremes and reverberates with a potency that threatens to break the body in this partially-true chronicle of one woman’s past. Bronx Gothic is a performance concerned with transformation.
Says Okwui: “the text, sound, movement and spatial design create a total world that envelops the audience in a visceral and immediate exchange with me. Bronx Gothic looks to communicate what is essential about a body in transformation, a universal experience that I can transmit through my brown body as I recall the breakthrough of pubescence and the humor, the love, the strangeness and even the terror that attends it.”
Okpokwasili has been celebrated for her work with Ralph Lemon, Julie Taymor, Nora Chipaumire, Young Jean Lee and Dean Moss, among others. Bronx Gothic is her second solo performance project, after pent-up: a revenge dance (which received a 2010 BESSIE Award for Outstanding Production) and second collaboration with visual designer, filmmaker and director Peter Born.
Okwui Okpokwasili is a New York-based writer, performer and choreographer. In partnership with collaborator Peter Born, Okpokwasili creates multidisciplinary projects that are raw, intimate experiences. Their first New York production, pent-up: a revenge dance premiered at Performance Space 122 and received a 2010 New York Dance and Performance (“Bessie”) Award for Outstanding Production; an immersive installation version was featured in the 2008 Prelude Festival. Bronx Gothic is their second collaboration, which continues to tour nationally and internationally. Their current project in development is Poor People’s TV Room; an early iteration was presented by Lincoln Center in the David Rubinstein Atrium in June 2014.
Show contains material suitable for mature audiences.