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    2008-2009 reviews:
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    The Devils of Loudun

    A multilayered chamber piece about mass possession, sin, and redemption, inspired by Aldous Huxley's historical treatise. The story centers on a group of 17th century Ursuline nuns who, inspired by their Prioress, Sister Jeanne des Anges, became officially "possessed" and were forced to undergo public exorcisms. Blame for the nuns' behavior was placed on the cavalier and charismatic priest, Urbain Grandier. Guilty of sins of the flesh but not of the devil, and burdened with enemies at the highest levels of French society, Grandier was imprisoned, tortured, and ultimately martyred. Eventually, Jeanne's visions of devils were replaced by an apparition of Saint Joseph, and she became "miraculously" marked with stigmata. She cultivated the career of a mystic and lived famed and respected for many years. DEVILS, in development for five years, has grown from a strictly movement-based performance piece into a ritualized integration of text, music, and movement that makes for a compelling, visceral, and rewarding experience for actors and audience alike. The text has been compiled from a variety of sacred and classic sources, including Goethe, Milton, Luther, Calderon, Petrarch, Donne, the Nag Hammadi Library, Swami Vivekananda, and the Bible. The abundant vocal music comes from a wide range of Medieval and Renaissance sources, including Machaut, Codex Las Huelgas, Le Jeune, Attaignant, Victoria, Aquinas, and von Bingen. Elements of sacred movement and traditional dance, as well as techniques from mime, Commedia dell'Arte, and Meyerhold, have been integrated into the staging. The overall effect is to create layers of detail that will make each audience member's experience of the piece unique and unforgettable. DZIECI (djyeh-chee) is an international experimental theatre ensemble, founded in 1997, dedicated to a search for the "sacred" through the medium of theatre. DZIECI aims to vigilantly uphold Stanislavski's maxim: "We must love not ourselves in art, but art in ourselves." Towards this aim, the ensemble balances its work on performance with work of service through creative and therapeutic interaction with patients in a variety of institutional settings. DZlECI believes that by helping others, a profound healing effect is generated that not only serves the patient, but strengthens the ensemble's work.

    Dates:  Jan. 2, 2003 - Jan. 19, 2003
    Schedule:  Thurs.-Sun. 7:30 p.m.
    Venue:  La Mama Experimental Theater, 74A East 4th St.
    Price:  $20
    Official site:  http://dziecitheatre.org/
    Tickets/info:  (212) 475-7710


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