Friday, April 11, 2014 | 6:30 pm
Heralded as “the Godfather of the American avant-garde,” Richard Foreman, founder of the Ontological-HystericTheater, has been creating unique theatrical visions for over 45 years. Astronome: A Night at the Opera, his collaboration with avant-garde composer John Zorn and documented by filmmaker Henry Hills, presents “a disturbing initiation” that is singular in Foreman’s career, yet still bears the indelible marks of Foreman’s style.As a companion piece, Hills’ own King Richard is a revealing portrait of the artist, which is both a charming interview and a filmic reflection of the theatrical world Foreman has created.
IU Cinema’s Underground Film Series is presented in partnership with the Indiana University Department of Communication and Culture, whose programming team that includes Russell Sheaffer, Laura Ivins-Hulley, Eric Zobel, Jamie Hook, Christopher Miles, Brian Graney and Joan Hawkins.
RICHARD FOREMAN has written, directed and designed over fifty of his own plays both in the United States and abroad. Five of his plays have received “OBIE” awards as best play of the year—and he has received five other “OBIE’S” for directing and for ‘sustained achievement’. He has received the annual Literature award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, a “Lifetime Achievement in the Theater” award from the National Endowment for the Arts, the PEN Club Master American Dramatist Award, a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, and in 2004 was elected officer of the Order of Arts and Letters of France. His archives and work materials have recently been acquired by the Bobst Library at NYU.Foreman is the founder and artistic director of the non-profit Ontological-Hysteric Theater (1968-present). Since the early seventies his work and company have been funded by the NEA, NYSCA, as well as many other foundations and private individuals. In the early 1980s a branch of the theater was established in Paris and funded by the French government. The theater is currently located in the historic St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery in New York City’s East Village neighborhood, and serves as a home to Foreman’s annual productions as well as to other local and international artists. Seven collections of his plays have already been published, and books studying his work have been published in New York, Paris, Berlin and Tokyo.
JOHN ZORN draws on his experience in a variety of genres including jazz, rock, hardcore punk, classical, klezmer, film, cartoon, popular and improvised music, John Zorn has created an influential body of work that defies academic categories. A native of New York City, he has been a central figure in the downtown scene since 1975, incorporating a wide range of musicians in various compositional formats. He learned alchemical synthesis from Harry Smith, structural ontology with Richard Foreman, how to make art out of garbage with Jack Smith, cathartic expression at Sluggs and hermetic intuition from Joseph Cornell. Early inspirations include American innovators Ives, Varese, Cage, Carter and Partch, the European tradition of Berg, Stravinsky, Boulez and Kagel, soundtrack composers Herrmann, Morricone and Stalling as well as avant-garde theater, film, art and literature.
HENRY HILLS was born in Atlanta, Georgia, and received his B.A. in English from Washington & Lee University and an M.F.A. in filmmaking in 1978 from the San Francisco Art Institute where he studied with James Broughton, George Kuchar, and Hollis Frampton. Hills has made 22 short experimental films since 1975, and has frequently collaborated with composer John Zorn and choreographer Sally Silvers including 1992 Festival Favorite, Little Lieutenant,which was storyboarded and cut to a Zorn arrangement of a Kurt Weill song. Hills’ work is represented in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the New York Public Library (Donnell Media Center and Lincoln Center Performing Arts Library) , the Archives du Film Experimental d’Avignon, the Arsenal in Berlin, the San Francisco Art Institute, the Rocky Mountain Film Center, SUNY Buffalo, Bard College, Wayne State University, and the Miami-Dade Public Library. He has been a member of the faculty in film at the Pratt Institute and the San Francisco Art Institute and has been Professor at the film academy FAMU in Prague since 2005.