RIOT ANTIGONE / FEBRUARY 10-19, 2017 / FIRST FLOOR THEATRE AT LA MAMA / 74A East 4th St
"Once upon a time, there was a girl."
Maybe you know me. Maybe you know one of my friends working on the show. Maybe you googled "Antigone" or "Riot Grrrl." Maybe you are a fan of La MaMa. Whoever you are, thank you for reading this. My name is Seonjae Kim. My friends usually call me Jae. Let me tell you my story.
I was one of the sizable number of international students from South Korea at my boarding high school in Concord, MA. At first, I didn't fit in with them or the American kids, really, so I found solace in losing myself for hours in front of my computer, developing obsessions with magnificent things outside my little world.
I felt a strong, strange connection with the American Riot Grrrl movement of the 90s, the DIY punk feminist movement that inspired young women to find their musical and political voice, even though I didn't grow up with it in terms of time or place. I would listen to Bikini Kill, Hole, Sleater-Kinney for hours alone in my dorm room, dreaming of screaming out loud.
A couple of years later, in college, I encountered the play ANTIGONE by Sophocles in my theater classes. I explored it as an actor, then a director, and even in playwriting class I was writing things that bore resemblance to the classic play's structure. I started imagining the play with the rebellious songs that my younger self loved as the soundtrack. I am mostly a director, so at first I thought I would just direct Antigone with some Riot Grrrl inspired sound design, or it would be a jukebox musical. I knew there wasn't really a pre-existing adaptation I liked, so I started typing on a blank page, and soon realized that what I felt inside my heart needed its own melodies, its own words.
"Everything amazing that ever happened was crazy first."
RIOT ANTIGONE is my dream. It is my most ambitious and most personal project to date. Since I conceived the idea a couple of years ago, it has been my obsession, what keeps me up at night. It has gone through numerous drafts, changes in collaborators and collaborative dynamics, and I'm so proud to present this version that has the hard work of many incredible people behind it.
Our story is told from the perspective of a Chorus Leader, a charismatic Riot Grrrl rock singer who conjures the event, a troupe of Riot Grrrls creating an event with live music, dance, projections, poetry, and of course, the play. In a traditional Greek tragedy, a Chorus of male elders comment on the action as they happen. In this piece, the Chorus is a group of young women who sing songs about Antigone's turbulent internal emotional landscape - they are like the music Antigone hears in her head but don't have the words for yet. The music is a soundtrack of girlhood, of articulating questions and confusions, of letting your feelings explode into something beautiful and real that someone out there somewhere might say - "I feel that too.” The event is a ritualistic and passionate rock concert as well as an intimate coming of age story of a young woman discovering what it means to fight for the right thing to do.
We feel incredibly honored to be a part of legendary downtown venue La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club's 55th season. They are a courageous institution taking a true risk on our emerging voices. This show is also a Hannah Greene & J. Mehr Kaur Production. These two ladies, my partners in crime, are warrior women fearless enough to take the plunge on a journey unknown. Their exemplary leadership has helped me assemble an extraordinary cast and team - and we would love for you to be a part of our next step.
"The world's a mess, my heart's a protest"
I know that this is a great time of need for the world. I know that there are organizations and causes that make a tangible impact on whether people live or die tomorrow that need your monetary help, and I urge you to help them if you can.
But I also ask you to consider, at this moment, giving to art. The thing that makes our lives meaningful, the thing that leaves our future generation a record of how we lived and what we felt, the thing that hopefully changes the hearts of people with decision making powers. Human rights shouldn’t just be about surviving, it should be about thriving. And I believe with my whole being that this piece is important.
I am so proud to tell you that during auditions for this piece - which happened mere days after the election - many women wrote to us saying “thank you” for doing this play. In a small way, I felt like our show had given some hope to the world during a difficult time. I am also proud to be working with a cast and team that are diverse in many senses of the word - definitely not a lot of straight white dudes here - to be creating space for those whose voices are often underrepresented in the arts. We are almost exclusively early-career artists who are thrilled to have such a loud microphone - consider your support not only help for our show, but an investment in the careers of 25+ incredible young artists with bright futures.
We are fortunate to have offset some costs by a generous individual donor and will also receive a box office split with La MaMa. Our production would not be possible without those advantages. We invite you to help us complete the remaining amount in our budget that will make our production the riotous success it can be.
Your support will allow us to:
- Pay our artists a small honorarium that is by no means representative of the hours of work put in, but a gesture of respect;
- Fulfill the visions of our incredible designers; (scenic, costumes, lights, projections, sound)
- Rent rehearsal space that we need beyond the 48 hours generously provided by La MaMa;
- Promote our show to communities beyond the reach of our family and friends, social media and La MaMa audiences;
- Purchase and rent instruments, speakers, mics, mic stands and cables that punk rock requires beyond what we can beg, steal and borrow;
- .......and so much more!
If you made it this far, thank you so much for reading. Your support means the world to me.
If you'd like to make a tax-deductible donation through Fractured Atlas, please visit our page here.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Risks and challenges
We have a dedicated cast and team of combined about 25-30 people, led by myself, producers Hannah Greene and J. Mehr Kaur, working around the clock to make this happen. Our budget, which we created carefully with advice from industry professionals with lots of experience, is detailed, evolving, and includes a generous contingency portion. This is the most ambitious project so far for many of us - but we are scrappy, smart and dedicated. We've already tackled some major challenges in our process and feel prepared to handle any challenge that may arise with the incredible support of La MaMa, the NYC theater community, and our expansive network of mentors.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)