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NOW Fest Brings Dramatic Live Performance to REDCAT This Week

Rosanna Gamson/World Wide. Photo by JD Narro.
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The 8th annual New Original Works Festival at REDCAT continues this week, featuring work by L.A.-based interdisciplinary creators Robert Cucuzza and Rosanna Gamson. Both theater artists will pull from literary sources to produce dramatic combinations of movement, music, text and all sorts of bells and whistles to entice the audience and embolden the perception of live performance.

In "Cattywampus" writer/director Cucuzza reinvents August Strindberg's classic "Miss Julie" by relocating it in modern-day Appalachia. With country-western music written and performed by Juli Crockett and line dancing choreographed by Jordana Che Toback, this essential tale of class and power is re-imagined in a contemporary backwoods context.

Rosanna Gamson/World Wide takes on the ancient tale of Scheherazade, the cunning bride from "One Thousand and One Nights," whose skills as a storyteller saved her from a murderous husband. "Layla Means Night" admits to including smoke-and-mirrors, hyped-up spectacle and melodrama as dance-theater divertissement to explore violence, complicity and our insatiable desire to be entertained. The performance is accompanied by a live score played by master musicians Houman Pourmehdi and Pirayeh Pourafar.

With so many culturally specific elements involved, we wonder if we need to do our homework before arriving at the theater on Thursday. In the past the artists have created work that goes beyond its roots, so our guess is that what we take home will be affected by the spices and still be satisfying and nourishing.

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