Entertainment & Arts

REDCAT champions cultural ambition and exchange with fall lineup


A scene from Philippe Quesne’s “La Mélancolie des Dragons,” which shows Sept. 23-25 at REDCAT.

(Pierre Grosbois/Vivarium Studio)

REDCAT, CalArts’ downtown center for contemporary arts, champions art that is both experimental and lively, and its just-announced fall 2015 program of music, theater, dance and multimedia events from around the world is no different.

“We try to introduce audiences here to artists who are playing an important role in the evolution of contemporary art culture,” said Mark Murphy, executive director of REDCAT, or the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater. “These people are inventing new forms, combining disciplines, provoking thought and experimenting with a variety of cultural traditions.”

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The lineup pulls in work from Mexico and Taiwan as well as notable artists from New York and Los Angeles. Murphy hopes the upcoming performances will increase cultural exchanges.


Particular highlights of the schedule include a performance from French artist and director Philippe Quesne, drag cabaret singer Joey Arias and the United Kingdom’s Irvine Arditti.

Quesne’s “La Mélancolie des Dragons” (Sept. 23-25) is a theater performance with minimal dialogue about a band of longhaired metal heads who decide to create a new amusement park with a heavy metal theme. A helpful stranger and her dog are invited into their crazy world of classic rock, medieval recorders and large inflatable sculptures. Murphy calls the production “absolutely spellbinding, so beautiful to look at and so funny.”

Coming Nov. 19, Arias will celebrate the centennial of famed singer Billie Holiday with a cabaret production he premiered at New York’s Lincoln Center earlier this year. Some will remember his portrayal of Lady Day from his acclaimed show from the early 1990s called “Strange Fruit.”

Showcasing the acoustics of REDCAT’s facility, part of the Walt Disney Concert Hall complex, will be Arditti on Sept. 29. The founder and first violinist of the Arditti Quartet is one of the most prodigious soloists of his generation. Arditti’s all-acoustic solo program features the world premiere of Pulitzer Prize winner Roger Reynolds’ “imagE/violin” and “imAge/violin,” plus performances of Salvatore Sciarrino’s “Six Caprices,” Pierre Boulez’s “Anthèmes I” and Toshio Hosokawa’s “Spell” among others.


REDCAT’s full lineup of events also features a number of galleries, discussions and lectures. Check out other highlights of the theater’s fall calendar below:

Oct. 8-11

“Song From The Uproar,” Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek

The West Coast premiere, co-presented with the Los Angeles Opera, of “Song From The Uproar” is a multimedia opera that combines live musical performance and original film. This new work was inspired by the journals of Isabelle Eberhardt, who, at the age of 20 left her life in Switzerland for the North African desert.

Nov. 12–15

“The Wong Street Journal,” Kristina Wong

Wong’s comedic solo performance is part TED lecture, part amateur hip-hop extravaganza, and part nonsense. The Los Angeles performer, comedian and Facebook phenom, on a charmingly crude set, breaks down such complex issues as click bait, global poverty, privilege and economic theory, using uneasy-to-read charts, live hashtag wars and riveting hand-crafted slideshows. Wong weaves a self-skewering personal narrative with a laugh-out-loud interrogation of America’s legacy as it affects the rest of the world, with a special focus on observations from her recent adventures in northern Uganda, researching and recording a rap album with local rappers.

Dec. 3-6


“BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play,” Camille A. Brown and Dancers

The Bessie Award and Doris Duke Artist Award-winning choreographer and her company perform a work which reveals the complexity of carving out a self-defined identity as a black female in urban American culture. Embodying a strong sense of storytelling and theatricality with a mix of African American dance vernacular including social dancing, double dutch, steppin’, tap, Juba, ring shout and gesture, the show connects history with contemporary culture in a dialogue and reflection on meaning, understanding and relevancy.

Coming in early 2016: Meg Wolfe’s New Faithful Disco, Harold Pinter’s The Room by the Wooster Group and Brazilian writer and director Christiane Jatahy’s “Julia,” her adaptation of Strindberg’s “Miss Julie.”

Visit REDCAT’s website for the full lineup and more info.

Follow me on Twitter: @TrevellAnderson.

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