Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Arts & Ideas Fest Events Listed

“Across Borders, Beyond Time” is the theme of the
2011 International Festival of Arts & Ideas, which will be presented
June 11-25 at various sites in New Haven.

The Silk Road Ensemble with artistic director Yo-Yo Ma opens the 16th
annual Festival with a free concert on the New Haven Green on
Saturday, June 11 at 7 p.m.

Taking its name from the fabled trade routes of antiquity that linked
East to West, this collective of musicians, arrangers, and composers
is dedicated to preserving authentic classical traditions while
nourishing global connections. The Silk Road Ensemble has commissioned
more than 60 compositions and recorded five albums since its founding
in 2000 by Yo-Yo Ma. The musical adventurer and educator received the
Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the U.S., from
President Barack Obama in February.

The performance marks the Silk Road Ensemble’s Connecticut debut and
the superstar cellist’s first appearance in the state since 2007.

“We have developed a bond of mutual respect, friendship, and trust
that is palpable every time we’re on stage,” said Ma of the Ensemble.

“Just as the Silk Road Ensemble resplendently illuminates the 2011
Festival theme, two other main stage events also address matters of
culture, history, and collective memory and perceptions, but in
different and provocative ways,” said Mary Lou Aleskie, Executive
Director of the International Festival of Arts & Ideas.

“The Cripple of Inishmaan,” a co-production by Druid Theatre of Galway
and Atlantic Theater Company of New York that received rave reviews
off-Broadway in 2008, will be presented at Yale’s University Theatre,
June 15-19. Druid is currently touring the U.S. with this work as part
of “Imagine Ireland,” an initiative of Culture Ireland celebrating a
year of Irish arts in America, 2011.

This wickedly mordant and irreverent comedy is by Martin McDonagh
(2006 Academy Award winner for his live action short “Six Shooter” and
2008 Academy Award nominee for his first feature film “In Bruges”).
Set on an island off Ireland’s Atlantic coast in 1934, it tells of
nine eccentrics who endure, if not attempt to enliven, the suffocating
monotony of provincial life. For the orphan teen called “Cripple
Billy” because of a deformed leg and useless arm, opportunity for
escape appears when a Hollywood movie company lands on an adjacent
island to film a documentary.

The American tour features a new cast which, as in 2008, is directed
by Garry Hynes, Druid’s artistic director. Hynes discovered McDonagh’s
talent in 1996, and she has been a leading interpreter of his stage
work since then. (In 1998, Hynes became the first woman director to
win a Tony Award, and the Druid cast garnered three more for the
Broadway production of McDonagh’s “The Beauty Queen of Leenane.”)

Given Druid’s international success in staging McDonagh’s plays, Hynes
noted that “it is true to say that Martin takes perceptions of Ireland
and punctures them.”

The body politic and body politics of race, gender, and sexuality are
recurring subjects in works by Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company,
which will perform two programs at Yale’s University Theatre, June

The first evening, entitled “Body Against Body,” consists of grappling
duets rooted in contact improvisation, first choreographed and last
performed more than 30 years ago by Jones and Zane (the latter who
died of AIDS-related causes in 1988), which proclaimed their arrival
in New York’s experimental dance scene. This will be followed by two
performances of “Serenade/The Proposition,” a dance-theater piece that
draws upon the writings of Abraham Lincoln and his contemporaries
juxtaposed with Jones’s memories as a child of African American
migrant farm workers. Dense with images conveying multiple allusions
to past and present, the work pulses with a robust, raw turbulence
within its rigorously structured form.

“The Civil War is used as a mirror to our fractious time,” said
choreographer, director, and writer Bill T. Jones, who is a 2010
Kennedy Center Honoree, a two-time Tony Award-winning choreographer
(“Spring Awakening” and “Fela!”), recipient of a 1994 MacArthur
“Genius” Award, and many honorary doctorates, including one from Yale

According to Aleskie, these main stage performances inspired related
“immersion experiences” that are reflected in many of the “Ideas”
programs. In addition to “Across Borders, Beyond Time,” these are
“Imagine Ireland” and “Freedom’s Journey,” the latter being an
exploration of slavery and emancipation, civil rights and justice.

The Festival will present an eclectic array of dance, music, theater,
and music-theater works, free concerts on the New Haven Green, and
family-friendly interactive events.

Susan Marshall & Company will perform “Adamantine” and unveil a video
installation, created especially for the Festival, of Marshall’s
“Frame Dances” at the Frederick Iseman Theater, June 15-18. During the
live performance, the dancers move fearlessly in an unpredictable,
unyielding environment that alternates between light and dark, shadow
and reflection, to upend audience expectations altogether. “Frame
Dances” will be available for viewing before and after performances of

The Courtyard Concert series, June 14-16, showcases New York’s Bang On
A Can All-Stars, playing music by indie rockers Brian Eno, Thurston
Moore (Sonic Youth) Dave Longstreth (Dirty Projectors) and Bryce
Dessner (The National); Benin-born Afro-jazz guitarist and vocalist
Lionel Loueke; and Haiti’s singer-songwriter Emeline Michel.

Jack Hitt, best known for telling both funny and investigative stories
on the public radio show “This American Life,” presents a new solo
theater work entitled “Making Up the Truth,” in which he wonders, “Why
do these things always happen to me?,” June 21-24 at Long Wharf
Theatre’s Stage II.

A theatrical staging of the one-man opera “Soldier Songs,” composed by
David T. Little, sung by baritone David Adam Moore, and performed by
the ensemble Newspeak, takes place June 23-25 at the Frederick Iseman
Theater. A gripping and haunting examination of the loss of young
men’s innocence, “Soldier Songs” is based on Little’s interviews with
veterans who served in World War II through Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Folks of all ages will flock to the New Haven Green for joy-filled,
free concerts by Jose Condé backed by the nu Latin groove and the
Cosmic Jibaros as the opener (June 12); Canadian fiddler Natalie
MacMaster (June 18); The Ebony Hillbillies on a double bill with the
kid-friendly Americana band The Deedle Deedle Dees (June 19); and the
Afro-pop group Freshlyground with the Mandingo Ambassadors as the
opener (June 25).

Family events designed to entertain children will be held the opening
weekend of the Festival.

Toddlers to seven-year-olds — and grown ups, too — will revel in “Baby
Loves Salsa,” a celebration in Spanish and English of Afro-Latin song
and dance from singer-songwriter Jose Condé, on June 12 at the
University Theatre.

Children will grasp the building blocks of design, urban planning, and
sustainability in a creative playtime called “Box City.” Cardboard and
art supplies will be provided, as well as inspiring music and
spellbinding storytellers. This free, community-binding activity will
be held on June 11 and 12 at a location to be announced in April.

The International Festival of Arts & Ideas will announce “Ideas”
programs and many other free events in the coming weeks. For updates,

The 2011 International Festival of Arts & Ideas receives major
sponsorship support from the Connecticut Commission on Culture &
Tourism, Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, Foxwoods, New
Haven Register, WTNH, and Yale University.

Festival members may purchase tickets in advance of the general public
through April 3. For details about membership benefits, visit or call 203-498-3758.
The box office opens to the general public on Tuesday, April 5. For
tickets, visit; call 203-562-5666 or 888-736-2663; or
stop by the Shubert Theater, 247 College Street, New Haven.

The calendar of main stage performances follows.



Saturday, June 11 at 7 p.m.
The Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma
Elm Street Stage, New Haven Green, Free

Tuesday, June 14 at 8 p.m.
Bang on a Can All-Stars
Yale Law School Courtyard, 127 Wall Street, $30

Wednesday, June 15 at 8 p.m.
Lionel Loueke
Yale Law School Courtyard, 127 Wall Street, $30

June 15 – 18: Wednesday – Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 5 p.m.
Susan Marshall & Company: “Adamantine”
Frederick Iseman Theater, 1156 Chapel Street, $25
Note: Viewings of the video installation of Marshall’s “Frame Dances”
are Wednesday – Friday at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m., Saturday at 4 p.m. and 6

June 15 – 19: Wednesday – Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 and 8 p.m.,
Sunday at 3 p.m.
Druid and Atlantic Theater Company: “The Cripple of Inishmaan”
Yale University Theatre, 222 York Street, $40

Thursday, June 16 at 8 p.m.
Emeline Michel
Yale Law School Courtyard, 127 Wall Street, $30

June 16-18
Yale Institute for Music Theatre
Workshop readings of three works in development, to be announced in April.
Off Broadway Theater, 41 Broadway, $15

Tuesday, June 21 – Friday, June 24 at 8 p.m.
Jack Hitt: “Making Up the Truth”
Long Wharf Theatre Stage II, 222 Sargent Drive, $25

Thursday, June 23 at 8 p.m.
Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company: “Body Against Body”
Yale University Theatre, 222 York Street, $40

Friday, June 24 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, June 25 at 3 p.m.
Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company: “Serenade/The Proposition”
Yale University Theatre, 222 York Street, $40

June 23-25: Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 5 p.m.
David T. Little: “Soldier Songs”
Frederick Iseman Theater, 1156 Chapel Street, $25

Family Events

Saturday and Sunday, June 11 and 12, 12 – 5 p.m.
“Box City”
Imagine the ideal place to live, work, and play, then join hundreds of
other families in applying basic principles of design, urban planning,
and sustainability to build a model city out of cardboard and recycled
materials. Find inspiration and entertainment in music and
storytelling throughout the afternoon. Boxes and art supplies will be
Venue TBA in April, free

Saturday, June 12 at 3 p.m.
“Baby Loves Salsa”
Toddlers to seven-year-olds will revel in this bi-lingual song and
dance celebration of Afro-Latin rhythms by singer-songwriter Jose
University Theatre, 222 York Street, $15 adults, $10 children.

Free on the New Haven Green

Saturday, June 11 at 7 p.m.
The Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma

Sunday, June 12
Cosmic Jibaros, 6 p.m.
Jose Condé with the nu Latin groove, 7 p.m.

Saturday, June 18 at 7 p.m.
Natalie MacMaster

Sunday, June 19
The Deedle Deedle Dees, 6 p.m.
Ebony Hillbillies, 7 p.m.

Saturday, June 25
Mandingo Ambassadors, 7 p.m.
Freshlyground, 8 p.m.

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Lauren Yarger with playwright Alfred Uhry at the Mark Twain House. Photo: Jacques Lamarre)

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