About

Don't be confused

...this isn’t Mother Courage and her Children, it’s The Mother.  A play by Bertolt Brecht with 13 songs.  He wrote it in Germany in 1931 during the rise of Fascism.  It traces a woman's journey to revolutionary consciousness.  The play will be directed by The Wooster Group's founder Elizabeth LeCompte and composer Amir ElSaffar will write original music. 

We need $50,000 to cover the fall 2019 rehearsal period. We can’t begin to work on this project without your help!

 Why The Mother? 

We are drawn to The Mother because it centers on a woman as an agent of social change and resistance.  The mother, 60 years old and illiterate, gets swept up in the struggle for worker’s rights through her son and his comrades.  After many travails, she becomes a leader of the movement and heroine of the play.

The Wooster Group has been led by women since its founding in 1975, and our work has consistently explored the perspectives of women by creating new forms and re-imagining theatrical traditions.

With this new piece, we will continue our tradition of taking the male theatrical canon and standing it on its head.

Not your typical theater company

The Wooster Group works as a collaborative ensemble with technical and performing artists in the room full-time from the very beginning of the project. The design elements for our pieces get made as part of the rehearsal process.  

The money we raise in this campaign will go towards compensation and benefits for the artists, and the cost of operating our home theater The Performing Garage for the rehearsal period.

 $50,000 covers:

  • salaries and benefits for: 2 directorial staff, 3 performers, 2 sound artists, 1 video artist, 1 production manager
     
  • theater occupancy at $10,000 a month

We are applying for specific commissioning grants to cover the composer's salary.

Some Impressive Bios

Elizabeth LeCompte (director) is a founding member and director of The Wooster Group, where she has composed, designed, and directed over forty works for theater, dance, film, and video. These works characteristically interweave performance with multimedia technologies and are strongly influenced by historical and contemporary visual arts and architecture. She has received the National Endowment for the Arts Lifetime Achievement Fellowship, the MacArthur Fellowship, the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship, a United States Artists Fellowship, Anonymous Was a Woman Award, the Doris Duke Performing Artist award, and the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize.

Amir ElSaffar (composer) is a bandleader, composer and trumpeter with a classical and jazz background. ElSaffar has received commissions to compose for jazz ensembles, traditional Middle Eastern ensembles, chamber orchestras, and contemporary music ensembles. Commissions include: the Newport Jazz Festival, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Chamber Music America, Jazz Institute of Chicago, and he is composer-in-residence at the Royaumont Foundation in France in 2017-2019. ElSaffar is a recipient of the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award and a 2018 US Artist Fellow.

The Wooster Group was founded in 1975 by LeCompte, Spalding Gray (1941-2004), Jim Clayburgh, Ron Vawter (1948-1994), Willem Dafoe, Kate Valk, and Peyton Smith. 

Current Company includes: Irfan Brkovic, Enver Chakartash, Matthew Dipple, Mike Farry, Ari Fliakos, Clay Hapaz, Cynthia Hedstrom, Gareth Hobbs, Elizabeth LeCompte, Bona Lee, Erin Mullin, Michaela Murphy, Pamela Reichen, Scott Shepherd, Eric Sluyter, Kate Valk

The Group’s works include: Rumstick Road (1977), Nayatt School (1978), L.S.D. (…Just The High Points…) (1984), Frank Dell’s The Temptation of St. Antony (1988), Brace Up! (1991), The Emperor Jones (1993), The Hairy Ape (1996), House/Lights (1999), To You, The Birdie! (Phèdre) (2002), Poor Theater (2004), Hamlet (2007), the 360º video installation There Is Still Time . . Brother (2007), the opera La Didone (2009), Vieux Carré (2011), Early Shaker Spirituals: A Record Album Interpretation (2014), The Room (2016), The B-Side: “Negro Folklore from Texas State Prisons,” A Record Album Interpretation (2017), The Town Hall Affair (2017), and A Pink Chair (In Place of a Fake Antique) (2018).

Current Associates include: Bill Ballou, Eric Berryman, Jacob Bigelow, Zbigniew Bzymek, Jim Fletcher, Mia Fliakos, Bruce Jackson, Ken Kobland, Dorota Krakowska, Andrew Maillet, Frances McDormand, Jasper McGruder, Greg Mehrten, Philip Moore, Suzzy Roche, Kaneza Schaal, Ryan Seelig, David Sexton, Lucy Taylor, Maura Tierney, Jennifer Tipton, Danusia Trevino, Wladimiro Woyno, Omar Zubair

Learn more: www.TheWoosterGroup.org

Risks and challenges

“Where do experimental artists go? They go places that are dangerous and most of the important art in the past 50 years has happened when artists, especially women, go places that are uncomfortable.” - Elizabeth LeCompte

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    Video shout-out!

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    Rules for Tele-Improv

    An audio recording of Ari Fliakos (Audible’s 2017 Narrator of the Year) reading the Wooster Group Rules for Tele-Improv Technique for Performers.
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    LeCompte video

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    Skype session with TWG company member

    A twenty-minute Skype session with Kate Valk to talk about anything you want!
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    Download of RHYME 'EM TO DEATH

    A download link to RHYME 'EM TO DEATH, a short film directed by Elizabeth LeCompte, featuring Willem Dafoe and Toby the Goat.
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    See The Mother in rehearsal

    Sit in on a rehearsal of THE MOTHER at The Performing Garage in April 2020 and then hang out with the artists.
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    The Wooster Group archival posters

    We'll mail you posters from our past shows. Pick three of these four titles: LA DIDONE, BRACE UP!, TO YOU, THE BIRDIE!, and THE HAIRY APE, either signed or un-signed by Elizabeth LeCompte (up to you).
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    Workshop with The Wooster Group

    Attend a three-hour workshop with TWG company members at The Performing Garage to learn the technique of Tele-Improv on Saturday, March 14, 2020.
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    Credit of your choosing!

    Listing as a backer in all programs of THE MOTHER everywhere it's performed.
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    Rehearsal print of THE B-SIDE

    A signed print of one of Bruce Jackson's rehearsal photos from our recent production of THE B-SIDE: "Negro Folklore from Texas State Prisons," A Record Album Interpretation. We'll mail it to you!
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    A Haiku by Elizabeth LeCompte

    A handwritten haiku by Elizabeth LeCompte, using a word of your choosing. We'll mail it to you!
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