Revisiting, refreshing and creating anew, two iconoclastic downtown performers bring their critically-acclaimed ‘Crime or Emergency’ to the second week of MLA. Sibyl Kempson is a celebrated, published playwright who has written works for numerous award-winning companies such as Elevator Repair Service, Big Dance Theater and David Neumann/Advanced Beginner Group. Composer and performer Mike Iveson Jr. has written music for choreographers Sarah Michelson, Mikhail Baryshnikov & the White Oak Dance Project and has performed with downtown legends DANCENOISE and Elevator Repair Service, to name a few.
Assuming a post-logical incoherence as the basis for human motivation, feeling, and violence; Crime or Emergency threatens our conceptions of contemporary American theater and identity as we safely understand it. Iveson, with his demonic arrangements of the indigenous music of their native New Jersey, joins Kempson in a rapturous and obsessive melodrama of consciousness. Together they distill this 11-person play into a desperate and harried duet.
Sibyl Kempson’s plays have been presented in New York City at New York Live Arts, The Chocolate Factory, Dixon Place, Soho Rep, Performance Space 122, Little Theater, Brick Theater, the Fusebox Festival in Austin, TX, the Great Plains Theater Conference in Omaha, the Walker Arts Center and Red Eye Theater in Minneapolis, and Theater Bonn in Germany. Kempson's current and recent collaborators include Elevator Repair Service (FONDLY, COLLETTE RICHLAND), Big Dance Theater (ICH, KÜRBISGEIST), David Neumann/Advanced Beginner Group (RESTLESS EYE and the upcoming NOW I UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING BETTER). She is recipient of the 2013 McKnight National Residency and Commission, the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation Commission, a New Dramatists/Full Stage USA commission, and a National Presenters Network Creation Fund Award; she is a 2010 MacDowell Colony Fellow and a member of New Dramatists, and holds an MFA in Playwriting from Brooklyn College, where she studied under the instigation of Mac Wellman. Her plays are published by 53rd State Press, PAJ, and PLAY: A Journal of Plays.
Mike Iveson, in addition to writing and arranging music for Crime or Emergency has written music for the plays DOT (Clubbed Thumb/Ohio Theatre; book & lyrics by Kate E. Ryan), POTATOES OF AUGUST (Dixon Place; book & lyrics by Sibyl Kempson), and YOU FOR ME FOR YOU (Woolly Mammoth Theater; book and lyrics by Mia Chung). He has also composed music for many of choreographer Sarah Michelson's dances, including commissions for France's Lyon Opera Ballet (LOVE IS EVERYTHING) and for Mikhail Baryshnikov & the White Oak Dance Project (THE EXPERTS), as well as for many Michelson shows in venues ranging from PS122 (GROUP EXPERIENCE, Bessie Award for composition; and DAYLIGHT) to the Brooklyn Academy of Music (DOGS). He also took part in the Composer-Librettist Studio at New Dramatists in 2012. As his alter ego Nurse Baby Asparagus K-Starr he wrote songs and performed widely with Lucy Sexton in PS122's interview fiasco THE LUCY SHOW, including tours to London's Duckie and the Jungestheater in Bremen, Germany, as well as at PS122's tour to Copenhagen and in Yvonne Meier's THE SHINING. As a performer he has appeared in many plays with Elevator Repair Service (ARGUENDO; THE SELECT; SHUFFLE; THE SOUND AND THE FURY; GATZ), and in many of Michelson's dances, as well as a number of dance legends' DANCENOISE's shows in the 1990s (IT'S A CRIME/IT'S A GIRL and LOVE SO DEEP, Soho Rep; HEDDA GABLER, HEDDA GABLER, LaMaMa; OPEN SEASON, PS122). He also played piano in Richard Maxwell's ODE TO THE MAN WHO KNEELS (Performing Garage & world tour).
Crime or Emergency was originally developed at Dixon Place, Soho Rep and the Fusebox Festival in Austin, TX. with support from The Jerome Foundation.