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PIE # 80 - "Ameryka"

(07.09.2013) Nancy Keystone

 

The 1989 Solidarność election poster, featuring actor Gary Cooper as Sheriff Will Kane from the 1957 American film, “High Noon,” was the image that led to the creation of a new theatre work called AMERYKA. The poster inspired questions about why this supremely iconic American image held such power for the people of Poland, and what did this mean about the relationship of the two nations?

AMERYKA detonates the remarkable connections between the U.S. and Poland in an original, ensemble-created theatre work. It focuses on four eras: late 18th c., 1950s-60s, the 1980s, and the post-9/11 period. It upends mythic figures & ideas (Thomas Jefferson & Tadeusz Kościuszko, the American West, “liberty and justice for all”); examines America's legacy of slavery; & illuminates previously untold stories (black jazz musicians on State Department tour to Poland, female leaders of Polish Solidarity, post-9/11 CIA black-ops site in Poland). Through provocative juxtapositions and bold theatrical forms, AMERYKA investigates the transmission of radical ideas of freedom & democracy across time and space--from the United States' founding documents, to Poland, & back again & again--and the courageous people who act on those ideas, against opposing forces, to shift the avalanche of history. The piece is a kaleidoscopic composition of text, music, movement and image, created by Nancy Keystone and Critical Mass Performance Group in Los Angeles. The Klub PIE presentation will outline the characters, events and themes of AMERYKA, and describe the unique development process, which is bringing it to life.

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