Rumstick Road premiered in 1977 as part of the theatrical trilogy “Three Places in Rhode Island.” Composed by Spalding Gray and Elizabeth LeCompte in response to the suicide of Gray’s mother, Rumstick Road combines recorded conversations, family letters, the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, 35mm slides, music, and dance. It was created and performed by Wooster Group members Elizabeth LeCompte, Spalding Gray, Libby Howes, Bruce Porter, and Ron Vawter. This video re-construction keeps faith with the theater piece by registering, in a new composite, the vivid texture of time and memory that shaped the original production. LeCompte and filmmaker Ken Kobland have layered, juxtaposed, and blended together numerous archival fragments – including U-Matic video, Super 8 film, reel-to-reel audio tapes, photographs, and slides – in order to reconstruct that lost performance. Wooster Group company member and archivist Clay Hapaz joins us to introduce the piece and take questions afterward.
Photo: Ken Kobland, Bob Van Dantzig
For the last forty years, The Wooster Group has been a driving force in the American and international experimental theater. The company’s pioneering ideas have been a profound influence on generations of creative minds, including many of this season’s artists. Active and relevant to this day, TWG is one of the few living legends who continue to bring to the stage the reality of their times. As The New York Times critic Ben Brantley has put it, “the world according to the Wooster Group is the world that most of us live in now.”
As part of the MLA Film series, we are proud to present a curated selection from the vast filmic archives of The Wooster Group. The materials, chosen especially for the MLA showings by TWG archivist and company member Clay Hapaz, have rarely been seen outside company and scholarly circles. Our audiences will have an exclusive occasion to see them on a big screen.
Each Monday night for the duration of the festival, Hapaz will show the films documenting TGW’s legendary early works as well as their most recent productions. He will also offer his consummate insider perspective on their creation and performance through introductions to each presentation. The screenings will be followed by Q&As with TWG collaborators, providing an unparalleled chance to admire and learn more about one of the most important theatrical phenomena of our age.