BOSTON: ArtsEmerson has announced its 2019-20 season, featuring 10 productions.
“For our 10th season we wanted to show everyone both where we’ve come from and where we are taking them next,” said artistic director David Dower in a statement. “For this celebratory season, we wanted audiences to have a chance to see five signal works that contributed to our evolution and to feel the exciting possibilities of scale and ambition that our rapid rise has enabled. So, we’re offering ten titles for our tenth season. Five are returning audience favorites from the first nine seasons that together reveal the path we’ve traveled from start-up to anchor institution. And five are ArtsEmerson commissions making their debuts on the international touring circuit that stretch us, both the company and the audience, and gain new ground in the story of ArtsEmerson, setting the table for another decade of bold, international programming that helps us explore the world and discover our own.”
The season begins with Passengers (Sept. 25-Oct. 13), from Canada’s the 7 Fingers, an exploration of travel through dance, circus, and musical performance.
Next is Triptych (Eyes of One on Another) (Oct. 30-Nov. 3). Inspired by the life and work of photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, the piece brings together a libretto by Korde Arrington, music by Bryce Dessner, poetry by Essex Hemphill and Patti Smith, and singing from choral ensemble Roomful of Teeth.
Following is The Magic Flute (Nov. 6-10), a re-imagining of the Mozart opera performed by South African opera company Isango Ensemble.
Continuing the season is Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare’s An Illiad (Nov. 20-24), a modern adaptation of the ancient Greek poem. Peterson will direct.
Next, from Australia, will be Back to Back Theatre’s The Shadow Whose Prey the Hunter Becomes (Jan. 23-26, 2020), exploring the impact of artificial intelligence and automation on the changing meaning of intelligence.
Playing next will be the world premiere of Will Power’s Detroit Red (Feb. 1-16, 2020). Pulling from devised theatre, poetry, and historical drama, the piece chronicles the communities that shaped civil rights leader Malcolm X.
Following will be the U.S premiere of Plata Quemada (March 11-15, 2020), from Chilean theatre company Teatrocinema, based on the novel by Ricardo Piglia. The play details the infamous Buenos Aires bank heist of 1965.
Next is Parable of the Sower (March 26-29) by Octavia E. Butler, music and lyrics by Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon, about a young woman living in an America where climate change has driven society to violence and the brink of extinction. The musical was developed as a workshop in 2017 at ArtsEmerson.
Following is Phantom Limb Company’s 69˚S (The Shackleton Project) (April 28-May 3, 2020), with a score by Erik Sanko, to be performed by the Kronos Quartet, with additional music by Skeleton Key. The puppetry piece delves into Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1914 expedition to Antarctica.
Closing out the season will be Metamorphosis (May 13-17, 2020) from Iceland-based Vesturport Theatre, based on the story by Franz Kafka about a young man who wakes up transformed as an insect. Metamorphosis will be set to an original score by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, directed by Gísli Örn Gar∂arsson and David Farr.
Also taking place this season will be Mr. Joy: The Neighborhood Tour, a series of free performances of Daniel Beaty’s play, Mr. Joy, about a Harlem community’s transformation following an attack on a Chinese American resident.
ArtsEmerson, founded in 2010, is the professional presenting and producing organization at Emerson College.