New York, NY (August 28, 2013) – An ill-fated Sisyphus will roll a giant metal “boulder” past the café tables and potted trees of Grace Building Plaza next month when The Nerve Tank brings the world premiere of their latest performance piece to midtown audiences.
Commissioned by Arts Brookfield, Glory Road will be staged for free at the outdoor plaza middays and evenings from September 18th through 21st. The interactive theater piece takes on the ancient myth of Sisyphus, the cunning Greek king whose schemes against the gods led to his being sentenced by Zeus to an eternity of pushing a huge boulder up a hill only to have it roll down again.
In the new production from The Nerve Tank, Sisyphus pushes a 6½-foot metal sphere along the tree-lined Plaza as it emits audio and passes by monitors displaying videos of Persephone’s watchful gaze. Sisyphus’ futile task is to trigger the random media clips in a logical narrative sequence. His punishment is overseen by a dancing Persephone, Queen of the Underworld. Though doomed to eternal failure, Sisyphus, as imagined by The Nerve Tank, strives on by choice, and in doing so glories in his stubborn pride.
Founded in 2006 by director/choreographer Melanie S. Armer and writer/conceptualist Chance D. Muehleck, The Nerve Tank was named one of New York Theatre Experience’s People of the Year in 2011. The company has won acclaim for its upending of traditional performance methods, resulting in work that crosses genres and challenges audience to move beyond conventional theatrical mores.
Glory Road was commissioned by Arts Brookfield after the company enthralled audiences at Brookfield Place Winter Garden in 2011 with their interactive performance installation The Attendants. Inspired by questions of isolation and virtual connectivity, the production invited visitors to the lively business hub to manipulate the behavior of two performers enclosed in an eight-foot plexiglass cube by sending them text messages and tweets.
“We’re proud to continue our partnership with The Nerve Tank with this commissioned work exploring what it means to persevere in the face of certain failure, and find meaning in a process rather than its end,” said Debra Simon, Vice President and Artistic Director of Arts Brookfield. “With stunning visuals that are sure to engage audiences at Grace Building Plaza, this is a perfect piece to enliven that lovely space.”
“Sisyphus is the perfect modern anti-hero – he’s smart, he’s stubborn, and he’s finally met his match in this impossible task. But every failure is another opportunity to try again, and maybe to succeed,” said Armer. “Hubris means something different in our culture; you might say hubris helped build this country. But what are its limits? And what does it mean to have an audience watching?”
Armer served as director and scenarist of Glory Road, which was conceived by Muehleck. Performers include Brian “Bizzy” Barefoot, Stacia French, Inés Garcia, Jason Howard, Robin Kurtz, Mark William Lindberg, Taylor Morrison, and James “Face” Yu.
Glory Road will be staged for free in continuous 20-minute loops at the Grace Building Plaza September 18th through 21st from 12:00pm – 1:30pm and 4:00pm – 6:00pm.
All events at the Grace Building are sponsored by Brookfield.
Since 1988 more than 5 million people have enjoyed over 5,000 dance, music, theater, visual art, and film events presented by Arts Brookfield, a free, year-round, privately funded performing and visual arts programs.
Brookfield Office Properties owns, develops and manages premier office properties in the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. Its portfolio is comprised of interests in 109 properties totaling 66 million leasable square feet in the downtown cores of New York, Washington, D.C., Houston, Los Angeles, Toronto, Calgary, Ottawa, London, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, making Brookfield the global leader in the ownership and management of office assets. Landmark properties include Brookfield Places in Manhattan, Toronto and Perth, Bank of America Plaza in Los Angeles, Bankers Hall in Calgary and Darling Park in Sydney.
About The Nerve Tank
Named One to Watch in 2010 by BroadwayWorld, The Nerve Tank is a world-class innovator in theatrical performance. Founded by Melanie S. Armer and Chance D. Muehleck, the company collaborates with actors and designers in a spirit of artistic adventure and remodels traditional performance methods. The company combines elements of popular culture, mediated image, and physical presence to test lines of engagement between spectator and live event. Based in New York, they have staged works at chashama, FringeNYC, Dixon Place, The Tank, University Settlement, Incubator Arts Project, Brookfield Place Winter Garden, and Pittsburgh’s Flux Festival. From 2008 to 2010, they were the resident theatre company of the Brooklyn Lyceum. In 2011, The Nerve Tank was named a Person of the Year by the New York Theatre Experience.