(HERE Artist Residency Program)

Hybrid Suite No 2: The Carmen Variations Gisela Cardenas

Show Description

Hybrid Suite No. 2: The Carmen Variations, is a devised theater opera inspired by Bizet’s Carmen. Mixing opera, text, video-mapping and performing objects, this project seeks to create a multilayered structure that crosses time and geographical borders following the experience of the potential different faces that Carmen can take.

Structurally speaking we will frame the opera as an exhibition about a fiction, a mythological narrative whose many intriguing parts will be deconstructed to be examined and contemplated as real objects and as illusions. The audience will be invited to compare, collate and ruminate on all the parts that go together to make a performance of the combination of the following two elements: A) reconstruction of a historical event, b) an exhibition of the relics of a piece of fiction. This Theater Opera will show the real and the imagined, the found and the reconstructed, with objects, sets, actors, props, texts, diagrams, projections and research references, to offer a multifaceted experience, that is akin in fact to the way we go about the world—absorbing and learning through casual incidental and focused observation, through conscious research, through the opinions of others, through jogged memory, through accepting and rejecting received information and developed prejudices and through imaginative reinterpretation and non-sequential dreaming.

Hybrid Suite No. 2: The Carmen Variations is co-produced by InTandem Lab.

Main image by Paula Court, other photos by G. Cardenas

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Artist Bio

InTandem Lab
Thrives to create performance like environments that seek to reconfigure the audience’s perspective. We function as a collective inside which the artist’s roles are fluid and exploratory and shift with each project. Unlike the traditional theatrical narrative, we are especially interested in minimalist theatrical presentation to re-direct focus on strong story-telling and actors of creative minds and fluid bodies to engage audiences in the new digital age with issues of our past, present and future. www.intandemlab.org

InTandem for This project will be:

Gisela Cardenas (Director/Writer) has worked in England, Germany, Peru, Brasil, Romania, The Netherlands, Norway and USA. Awards and Memberships: Princes Grace Theater Fellowship (2007), 2008 Phil Killian Directing Fellow (Oregon Shakespeare Festival), 2008-10 Women’s Project Director’s Lab, recipient of the TCG/ NEA 2009/2011 Career Development Program for Directors and member of the Society Directors and Choreographers Foundation. She has an M.A in Performance Studies (New York University) and an M.F.A in Directing (Columbia University). Past credits: a contemporary adaptation of “Agamemnon” (Drama Desk Nomination 2006/Directing), “In Delirium” adapted after Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther; “Fires” after Marguerite Yourcenar’s book of short Stories. "Antigone" (“Sibiu International Theater Festival—Romania), Kander & Ebb’s “The Kiss of The Spider Woman” (Vortex Theater Company); HotInk Festival 2008-2009; Part 1 of “An Oresteia” (Classic Stage Company), Euripides’ Medea (Perú-Argentina), Brecht’s In The Jungle of The Cities (Peru), Shakespeare’s Richard III in Norway, Weskler’s “The Kitchen”, and Peter Asmussen’s “Nobody meets Anyone” in Sao Paulo Brazil. Upcoming with InTandem Lab: “Instructions to Decode An Inhuman Transformation”, and “Sonata For A Heart” in Residence at the O’Neill National Theater Institute.

Vivian Chiu (Performer/Producer) is a performer, singer and producer. Her bi-cultural experience as Taiwanese and New Yorker has been the source of her artistic inspirations- she thrives to break down cultural and language barriers to connect with artists across the spectrum in addressing urgent sociological and political issues. As the producer of InTandem Lab, she concentrates on creating a fluid collective of eclectic performers focused primarily on minimalist theatrical productions with an emphasis on strong storytelling, technology and creative audience engagement. In her previous role as the Artistic and Curatorial Director of Asian Cultural Festival at Queens Theatre in the Park, she focused on commissioning and presenting emerging artists who bring fresh outlook to music, theater and dance. She was trained at Northwestern University.

Jose Manuel Lazaro (Writer/ Dramaturg) actor, playwright and theatre professor. Has a Postgraduate (Master and PhD) in Performing Arts at the School of Communications and Arts of the University of São Paulo, Brazil (Escola de Comunicações e Artes – Universidade de São Paulo, Brasil). He lives between Brazil, Peru and New York were he works as dramaturg/writer and performer as part of InTandem Lab 

Artist Statement

At InTandem Lab, we believe in the urgency and the importance of the artistic endeavor in a world where our sense of humanity is constantly threatened by the lack of questioning, the massive irruption of media as a numbing devise and of a system of beliefs designed to prolong an economic vision of enrichment by the few at the expense of the most.

We are particularly interested in stimulating a conversation that offers contrasting and sometimes opposing visions. In this sense, our work is at its basis deeply political and in its form visually and aurally poetic. If there is any chance to re-infuse the practice of theater with meaning, we believe it needs to be centered in the performer’s body and in its capacity to transform thought into actions. With Hybrid Suite No. 2: The Carmen Variations, we are interested in exploring women as foreigners in social, geographical and more importantly inside our own selves. Historically when women have reclaimed their rights as equals, we have been branded as “excessive” and/or “dangerous” individuals whose sexuality and strength needs to be tamed and kept under control. Sometimes this control has been exercised as a complete silence in terms of the lack of acknowledgement of our active presence in history, or by labeling us as “femme fatales” or “monstrous-like creatures” willing to consume “innocent subjects”.

Provoked by these ideas we have become interested in finding ways of exploring traditional female icons of desire from a more complex and encompassing perspective in order to contribute to find a visible place for the feminine in social terms as well as in the intimacy of our psychic realities. The subject of this opera is FREEDOM vs. CAPTIVITY or DESIRE vs. LOVE. For “Hybrid Suite No. 2”, the nexus that pulls together Desire, Love, Freedom and Captivity is Bizet’s / Merimee’s CARMEN- treated as an archetype. Carmen is simultaneously one of the most infamous temptresses and one of the most independent and provocative female characters in fiction. With this piece we are interested in exploring her as the woman who dared to contest a male oriented society where women were not free and who preferred to plunge into her death rather than submit to the traditional role of chaste mother and wife that her society wanted her to play.


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