June 21, 2021
Presented in collaboration with Sawtooth Productions, LLC.
Cage Shuffle is a 50-minute dance/theater solo. In Cage Shuffle Paul Lazar speaks a series of one-minute stories by John Cage from his 1963 score Indeterminacy, while simultaneously performing a complex choreographic score by Annie-B Parson, choreographer of David Byrne’s American Utopia on Broadway. The stories are spoken in random order with no predetermined relationship to the dancing, yet chance serves up its inevitable and uncanny connection between text and movement. Cage’s humor, intellect and iconoclasm find ideal expression in this new work which adds dance to Cage’s original performance instructions: Read stories aloud, paced so that each story takes one minute, using chance procedures or not.
This performance was held outdoors on the Library’s Donaldson Robb Family Green.
Cage Shuffle premiered in 2017 at the American Realness Festival in New York. It has since toured throughout the United States, Europe, and Brazil, at venues such as North Carolina’s Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center, Seattle’s Base: Experimental Arts + Space, Chicago’s Links Hall, Minneapolis’ Walker Art Museum, New York’s Town Hall, as well as at universities and festivals .
“One of my favorite pieces ever. The Cage stories are good to begin with, amusing in a zen kind of way, but when further randomized and amplified with the dance, and with Paul’s voice – well, it becomes no longer a rarified Cage piece but is transformed into something accessible to everyone.”
– David Byrne
Paul Lazar is a founding member, along with Annie-B Parson, of Big Dance Theater. He has directed, co-directed, and acted in works for Big Dance since 1991, including commissions from the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Walker Art Center, Dance Theater Workshop, Classic Stage Company, and Japan Society.
Outside of Big Dance, Paul has directed numerous productions including Young Jean Lee’s Obie Award-winning, “We’re Gonna Die.” Paul also directed “Bodycast: An Artist Lecture” by Suzanne Bocanegra and featuring Frances McDormand at the BAM Next Wave Festival in 2014, as well as “Major Bang” for The Foundry Theatre at St. Ann’s Warehouse. Paul has performed in numerous works by The Wooster Group, and he has acted in over 40 feature films, including Snowpiercer, The Host, Mickey Blue Eyes, Silence of the Lambs, Beloved, Lorenzo’s Oil and Philadelphia. His awards include two Bessies (2010, 2002), the Jacob’s Pillow Creativity Award in 2007, and the Prelude Festival’s Frankie Award in 2014, as well as an Obie Award for Big Dance in 2000. Paul has taught at Yale, Rutgers, The William Esper Studio, and The Michael Howard Studio, and he currently teaches at New York University.
Watch excerpts from Cage Shuffle HERE, courtesy of Wave Farm.
Paul is also directing the Sawtooth Production of Samuel Hunter’s A Case For the Existence of God, a play set in Twin Falls, Idaho, running June 30 through July 10, 2021, at the Reinheimer Ranch in Ketchum.