‘Room to Panic’ by Loco7 to premiere at La MaMa

Photo of Federico Restrepo as an immigrant in a new world.
photo of Federico Restrepo as an immigrant in a new world

Federico Restrepo is a Colombian-born master of Puppet Theater and physical theater who stages epic thoughts using giant puppetry, acrobatic choreography and tempestuous music. In recent years, he has conceived his shows primarily with two collaborators: Denise Greber (concepts, costumes) and Elizabeth Swados (musical score).

Federico Restrepo inspects a big bird puppet, to be manipulated by Joah Gonzales in Room to Panic
Federico Restrepo (top) inspects a big bird puppet, to be manipulated by Joah Gonzales (below). Photo by Jonathan Slaff.

The visual feast is played to a continuous score by Elizabeth Swados that is sung by the ensemble and played live with percussion, violin, Shakuhachi and keyboard. The piece will also incorporate text from “Gate of the Sun” by Lebanese novelist and playwright Elias Khoury, which will be used as spoken text and sung in the score.

“Room to Panic” is part of The La MaMa Puppet Series Festival Part 2, which features multicultural works from Hawaii, Colombia and Japan. All the productions are brimming with international art forms. The series also contains “Ko’olau” by Tom Lee, a puppet epic based on a now-legendary story of Hawai’i in the 1890s (September 18 to October 5) and “The Doll Sisters” (Ningyo Shimai), directed by Setsu Asakura, the most noted stage designer of contemporary Japan (October 23 to November 2). Patrons pre-purchasing two shows in the festival will be entitled to $3 off each ticket; patrons pre-purchasing all three shows will receive $5 off each ticket. The discounts are available at the box office and through La MaMa’s website, www.lamama.org.

Federico Restrepo and puppeteer/dancer/singer Allison Hiroto.
L: Federico Restrepo; R: puppeteer/dancer/singer Allison Hiroto. Photo by Jonathan Slaff.

Mr. Restrepo and LOCO7 have received support from the New York State Council of the Arts, The Ford Foundation, The Jim Henson Foundation, American Music Center 2006, The Puffin Foundation, Ministerio De Cultura Colombia, Minister of Exterior Relations of Colombia, Instituto Distrital De Cultura Y Turismo Bogota Colombia and TeatroStageFest as well as individual donors.

This show is supported in part by New York State Council for the Arts, Jim Henson Foundation, American Music Center-Live Music for Dance 2008 and Ellen Stewart and La MaMa ETC.

Performances will be October 3 through October 19, 2008 at La MaMa E.T.C. (The Annex Theatre), located on 74A East Fourth Street in Manhattan. The show will take place Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 pm, and Sundays at 2:30 pm. Ticket prices are $25; $20 for students and seniors. For tickets call the box office at (212) 475-7710 or purchase online at www.lamama.org.