Every day is opening night.

Culture Project Presents the New York Premiere of “MoLoRa” Direct from South Africa

Rick Miramontez / Elizabeth Wagner / Chelsea Nachman
rick@oandmco.com / elizabeth@oandmco.com / chelsea@oandmco.com




BEGINS JUNE 30, 2011

May 4, 2011 – New York, NY – Culture Project’s Women Center Stage will present the New York premiere of MoLoRa, the stunning Farber Foundry production based on the ancient Oresteia Trilogy, adapted and directed by Yael Farber. The announcement was made today by Allan Buchman, Artistic Director of Culture Project. Performances begin at the Ailey Citigroup Theater at The Joan Weill Center for Dance (405 West 55th Street, NYC) on June 30th and continue through July 24th, 2011, for 22 performances only. An official opening night is set for July 6, 2011.

MoLoRa, originally presented at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg, marks South African playwright and director Farber’s first New York production since her acclaimed staging of Amajuba: Like Doves We Rise which was a smash hit at Culture Project in 2005. Like Amajuba, MoLoRa fuses a timely narrative with a specific musical world to create an event of extraordinary theatricality.

Set after the fall of apartheid, Farber’s MoLoRa reimagines the ancient Greek Oresteia to tell the story of her own country’s painful and extraordinary transition to democracy. As Klytemnestra and Elektra—mother and daughter, perpetrator and victim—sit to face each other in an open hearing, MoLoRa reenacts a watershed moment in world history, illuminating the universal and excruciating choice for any victim: to seek revenge or choose forgiveness.

“I had long been interested in creating a work that explores the journey back from the dark heart of unspeakable trauma and pain—toward the choice of revenge or redemptive forgiveness,” explains Farber in the program notes.

The metaphor of the Oresteia provides a powerful narrative context in which to reenact the exceptional journey to reconciliation that has defined South Africa. Farber’s reinvention of the Greek chorus, played by members of the Ngqoko Cultural Group, underscore the performance with haunting throat singing of the Xhosa tradition. Hailing from deep in rural South Africa, these guardians of a dying musical tradition bear witness as the crimes of apartheid are viscerally remembered.

Molora will play the following performance schedule: June 30 – July 24, Tuesdays – Saturdays @ 8pm, Sundays @ 2pm. Tickets are $45 – $75 and are available via www.molora.org.

Women Center Stage is Culture Project’s initiative to support and vigorously promote the work of women artists, and celebrate the unique contribution of women to social justice and human rights. Over the years, Women Center Stage has been an important launching pad for the projects of numerous artists, including early iterations of Heather Raffo’s Nine Parts of Desire (2003); Sarah Jones’ bridge and tunnel (2004), which went on to a sold-out Broadway run and special Tony Award; Staceyann Chin’s Border/Clash (2005); Geraldine Hughes’ Belfast Blues (2005); Lynn Redgrave’s Nightingale (2005); and Lenelle Moïse’s critically-acclaimed Expatriate, which became part of Culture Project’s 2008 season. The 2011 Women Center Stage Festival at the Living Theatre in March 2011 highlighted work by Daphne Rubin-Vega, Calla Videt, Angela McCluskey, and Leila Buck, among others. womencenterstage.org

Culture Project is New York's premier destination for artistic work that investigates urgent social and political issues. By fostering innovative collaboration between human rights organizations and theatre, music and film artists, Culture Project aims to inspire and impact public dialogue and policy, encouraging democratic participation in the most urgent matters of our time. Founded in 1996 by Artistic Director Allan Buchman, Culture Project has premiered celebrated shows including The Exonerated, Sarah Jones' Bridge & Tunnel, Guantanamo: Honor Bound to Defend Freedom, Lawrence Wright's My Trip To Al-Qaeda, Tings Dey Happen, the Lucille Lortel Award-winning world premiere of George Packer's Betrayed and Temple University's acclaimed production of In Conflict. Culture Project produced Breaking the Silence, Beating the Drum, a groundbreaking concert at the United Nations to commemorate the abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Most recently, Culture Project produced Twin Spirits with Sting and Trudie Styler at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, and the month-long Women Center Stage Festival at The Living Theatre.

The Farber Foundry is an independent theater production company, based in South Africa – founded by Yael Farber, to formalize a body of work that Farber, as its Artistic Director, has created in collaboration with South African artists over the past 10 years. The works range from deeply personal testimonies (A Woman in Waiting – a biographical journey into the female experience as lived by Thembi Mtshali under Apartheid; He Left Quietly – the harrowing account of Death Row survivor Duma Kumalo’s experiences; and Amajuba – a tapestry of the ordinary extraordinary lives of the five cast members, growing up in the dark years prior to Apartheid’s fall) – to radical re-visionings of the classics by way of reflecting modern contemporary Africa (including SeZaR – a highly charged adaptation of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, as well as MoLoRa – a reworking of the ancient Greek Oresteia Trilogy). Theater in South Africa faces enormous challenges in the ongoing struggle to continue to create new works – given the lack of resources available to its artists. Only those profoundly drawn to this process continue to follow this calling. Yet it is through theatre that our country has the capacity to help us transcend our shattered history by facing it head on through stories told. Theatre is the one communal event that offers us a forum to heal from the past, and a canvas on which to envisage the future. The Farber Foundry is committed to the ongoing creation of new works that seek always to portray this extraordinary power, and to working with artists drawn to this calling. www.arktype.org/farberfoundry


Yael Farber (Director and Playwright) was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa. Farber’s work tours worldwide under the management of the Farber Foundry, showcasing a creative repertoire that examines the political and personal struggles of her home country. In 2004 Farber directed and co-wrote Amajuba: Like Doves we Rise, which toured worldwide and was performed at Culture Project in 2005. Farber has earned a reputation for her radical re-visioning of the classics. Her work has garnered several national and international awards including multiple Drama Desk Award nominations, VITA Best Production and Best Director awards, a Scotsman Fringe First in Edinburgh 2000 and a BBC Gold Sony Award for Best Drama.

The Ngqoko Cultural Group is a body of men and women committed to the indigenous music, songs and traditions of the rural Xhosa communities. Hailing from the humble town of Lady Frere, the Cultural Group was first formed in 1980 when a single bow player and her daughter maintained the practice of playing music together. A German visitor, Dawie Dargie, began working with the Xhosa musicians with the help of Tsolwana Mpayipheli as translator. In 1983, Mpayipheli (“Teacher” as he is respectfully known) discovered several other musicians who joined the group. Over the years, they have become well known in South Africa, and are also regularly invited to perform internationally. They have toured the Middle East and Europe. The Ngqoko Cultural Group has established a reputation as guardians of the rural Xhosa culture, maintaining the survival and presence of indigenous South African music and instruments. This is their first collaboration with theater director Yael Farber.

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