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Originally published Saturday, April 19, 2014 at 12:05 AM

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On the Boards’ 2014-15 season: pop opera, interactive hip-hop, more

Experimental performance troupes from Belgium to Buenos Aires, as well as Seattle, New York and Detroit, will bring their cutting-edge work to On the Boards during the 2014-15 season.


Seattle Times theater critic

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Experimental dance, theater and multidisciplinary performance troupes from Belgium to Buenos Aires, as well as Seattle, New York and Detroit, will bring their cutting-edge work to On the Boards during the 2014-15 season.

Of the packed roster of shows OTB will mount in its own Lower Queen Anne space, artistic director Lane Czaplinski says many feature new forms of audience participation, and that some are “a bridge to a time when we’ll have more shows off-site, more things that are installations, more work in collaboration with other organizations in town.”

Czaplinski believes Seattle has embraced the increasingly complex and multifaceted kind of performance OTB is presenting. “We sell about 80 to 90 percent of our tickets for all shows, and I continue to be awed and humbled by the support we get from funders, audiences and artists we work with.

“If you think of Seattle as a leading place for innovation and creativity, in the high-tech field and the arts, On the Boards is a bold player. We’re able to do stuff that’s unique for an organization of our size and profile.”

Czaplinski sounds particularly excited about hosting the Seattle premiere of Detroit arts collective Complex Movements. The company blends hip-hop, video projections and new technologies with audience involvement and performance to “explore the relationship between art, music, science and social justice movements.” During a five-week residency at OTB, the company will work with Seattle community leaders to identify local social issues, leading to performances April 16-19, 2015.

Some other artists contributing to the season will be more familiar to longtime OTB patrons. Dancer/choreographer Megan Murphy and filmmaker Greg Lachow (formerly with the Seattle ensemble Run/ Remain) return with “The Man Who Can Forget Anything,” a “familial mash-up of film, music, dance and theater — delving into memory, real and imagined love, aging, leaps of faith and bouts of vertigo.” (Oct. 9-12, 2014)

The fascinating Argentine auteur Mariano Pensotti, whose shows about the lives of young Buenos Aires creatives are inventively staged, first brought his troupe to OTB in a memorable 2012 run. He’ll return with a new piece, “Cineastas,” which explores how film influences real life and fiction in the lives of four filmmakers. It is performed on a bi-level stage that allows the audience “to experience two realities at once.” (Jan. 29-Feb. 1, 2015)

Seattle choreographer Amy O’Neal will unveil her new piece, “Opposing Forces,” devised for seven B-boys (breakdancers) from different Seattle dance crews. (Oct. 23-26)

OTB will partner with Seattle Theatre Group to bring back to the postmodern choreographer-dancer Kyle Abraham, recipient of a 2013 MacArthur Foundation fellowship. Abraham will present his new work, “When the Wolves Came In,” set to the protest music of jazz drummer-composer Max Roach, at the Moore Theatre. (March 10-12, 2015)

Other artists OTB has lined up: the French/Belgian theater company led by Antoine Defoort and Halory Goerger, with their interactive piece “Germinal” (Sept. 25-28); the dance company of New York choreographer Tere O’Connor (Nov. 20-23); and such Seattle artists as musician Erin Jorgensen (in a series of cello concerts); and (April 2-5, 2015) up-and-coming choreographer Kate Wallich.

Seattle comedian-musician Ahamefule Oluo’s experimental pop opera “Now I’m Fine,” backed by a 17-piece orchestra, is also in the wings (Dec. 4-7). And writer-performer Frank Boyd will perform a new piece staged as a live jazz radio show, hosted by a volatile DJ played by Boyd. (Jan. 8-11, 2015)

Some special events, and a new piece by writer-performer Richard Maxwell, are also in the mix. Info: 206-217-9888 or ontheboards.org.

Misha Berson: mberson@seattletimes.com



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