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    Categories: Theatre

‘4 Wars’ Tells Interdisciplinary Journey of People in 1968 Amid Unrest

Concrete Timbre (www.ConcreteTimbre.com) is a composer-driven performance collective which aims to add bold interdisciplinary performances to the contemporary music canon by creating opportunities for composers to work in multidisciplinary settings that often defy categorization.

The group’s “4 Wars” by Mark Farnen, directed by Ann Warren, is an interdisciplinary exploration of the universal themes that exist amongst four different stories from four different countries, showing a progression of people struggling to create social change in the year 1968 in the face of unrest. The world premiere will be presented by Theater for the New City’s Dream Up Festival September 13 to 20.

In Poland, a young woman tries to convince her parents to let her take part in the student protests. Meanwhile, Alexander Dubcek defends Brezhnev and enacts social changes in Czechoslovakia. We then experience the life of a young protester in the midst of the Tlatelolco massacre in Mexico, and finally, a group of Yippies in the East Village trying to determine what their next move should be on the day after Nixon wins the Presidency. The stories cover themes of hope, occupation, violence and finding a way to rise from the ashes. Now in 2015, the historical underpinnings of these events are more relevant than ever with the recent escalation of violent images and incidents and looking back to these experiences of the past can help shape our understanding of the present. The work features contemporary classical music with electronics and world music elements.

Playwright Mark Farnen is author of “Where The Sky Begins” (Ensemble Studio Theatre’s Octoberfest; 29th Street Rep’s Plays-in-Motion series) “Windfall” (Woodstock Fringe’s Voices from the Fringe series), “After Dinner” (The Grande Olde Players, Omaha, NE; Manhattan Theatre Source), “When Children Sleep” (Manhattan Theatre Source), “Listen Up, There’s a Clue” (ARTC Spring Reading Series), “Flying with Dad” (ARTC Winter Reading Series), “Back-in Jack” (Turtleshell Productions), “Saraph” (Dramatists Guild Friday Night Footlights series) and the workshop pieces “Going There” and “Caring” (Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre’s Snapshots series, led by Arthur Kopit). Farnen has studied play-writing with Stuart Spencer and participated in play-writing intensives with Arthur Kopit and Romulus Linney. He has studied lyric writing as part of the BMI-Lehman Engel Music Theatre Program with Skip Kennon and Maury Yeston. He is a member of American Renaissance Theatre Company, The Woodstock Fringe and The Dramatists Guild of America. Most recently, for Concrete Timbre, he wrote for “Anna Strong’s Laundry” and “Un Lieu de Vie.”

Director Ann Warren is a director and composer/musician who has worked in New York City, Paris and regionally in Maryland, Albany, Buffalo and Florida. The foundation of her work is to create interdisciplinary compositions that present contemporary music as an integral part of theatrical events that feature text (English and foreign language), sound, poetry, movement and visual art. Warren works extensively to combine technology to compose interactive performances. In 1999, she founded Concrete Timbre as a studio performance collective to record soundscapes, sound installations, several theatrical sound designs and produce theater performances that feature music and sound. In 2006, Concrete Timbre transformed into a composer driven performing group. Most recently, she was the Director and a Composer for “Un Lieu de Vie” and the Curator and a Composer/musician for the “Last Saturdays Salon” series at The Drawing Room. She has directed, composed, performed and/or translated texts for the productions of “Folie Pure,” “Coq tot” and “In the Ring” that appeared in past Dream Up Festivals. (www.AnnWarren.net)

Allan Markowitz (original concept), a Brooklyn native, was instrumental in getting Concrete Timbre off the ground and established as a composer driven collective. He served on the Board of Directors of The Basic Theatre in NYC. Over the past 20 years, he has produced many productions Off-off Broadway and in festivals. He volunteered for several years at the inception and growth of FringeNYC. The foundation of his artistic work is to produce high quality interdisciplinary performances where new artistic associations can be introduced, nurtured and expanded. Markowitz was production manager for each Concrete Timbre production, including the Dream Up Festival productions of “Folie Pure” and “Coq tot.”

Robert Morton is the projections, video and photography designer. Chris Kadis Moscato is the sound designer.

The sixth Dream Up Festival (www.dreamupfestival.org) will be presented by Theater for the New City (TNC) from August 30 to September 20, 2015, offering a lineup of wide-ranging and original theatrical visions embracing drama, musicals, improv, aerial and more. This year, owing to growing popularity, the festival has expanded beyond its primary venue. Previously, all productions were presented at Theater for the New City, 155 First Ave. This year, 19 productions will be presented at TNC and seven will be presented at an outside venue, The Producers Club Theaters at 358 West 44th Street.

The festival is dedicated to new works. TNC feels this festival is especially needed now in a time of declining donations to the arts, when grants are not being awarded due to market conditions and arts funding is being cut across the country and abroad. The festival aims to push ideas to the forefront through imaginative presentations so as to challenge audience expectations and make us question our understanding of the way art illuminates the world around us.

The show is presented by Theater for the New City (Crystal Field, Artistic Director) as part of the Dream Up Festival 2015 from September 3 to September 20. Performances are September 13 at 5:00 PM, September 15 at 9:00 PM, September 16 at 6:30 PM, September 17 at 6:30 PM, September 19 at 5:00 PM and September 20 at 5:00 PM at Theater for the New City (Johnson Theater), 155 First Ave. Tickets are $20. The Box office is (212) 254-1109. You can find more information and purchase tickets at www.dreamupfestival.org.

Jonathan Slaff :Jonathan Slaff is a New York publicist in the specialty of international cultural events. Jonathan and his writers keep us ahead of the curve in the world of the arts and culture.