Okwui Okpokwasili and Peter Born

Bronx Gothic

A solo creation at the intersection of theater, dance and visual art installation, Bronx Gothic gives palpable force to the charged relationship between two girls on the verge of ... More

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About

About This Performance

A solo creation at the intersection of theater, dance and visual art installation, Bronx Gothic gives palpable force to the charged relationship between two girls on the verge of adolescence in the 1980s—where Newports are bought in singles at corner bodegas, and sex-saturated notes are passed in class.  In a performance of psychic and physical collisions that threaten to break the body, it’s an unflinching look into the exquisite turbulence of one woman’s memory. Created in collaboration with designer / director Peter Born, Bronx Gothic draws inspiration from Victorian-era novels and West African griot storytelling to reveal an honest, dark and powerful tale of sexual awakening.

Filmed at PSU Shattuck Hall Annex
Presented by Portland Institute for Contemporary Performance

  • Performance: Sept 12, 2015

  • Venue: PSU Shattuck Hall Annex | Portland, OR

  • Duration: 92 min

  • Posted: Jul 12, 2016

Cast & Credits

Written and Performed by Okwui Okpokwasili
Directed, with Scenic and Lighting design by Peter Born
Original Songs byOkwui Okpokwasili
With Music byPeter Born and Okwui Okpokwasili, Special Thanks to Veronica Okeke
Sound Design consultantPhilip White

About The Artist

Okwui Okpokwasili and Peter Born work collaboratively to create multidisciplinary projects.  Their first New York production, Pent-Up: A Revenge Dance premiered at Performance Space 122 and received a 2010 New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award for Outstanding Production; an immersive installation version was featured in the 2008 Prelude Festival. Their second collaboration, Bronx Gothic, won a 2014 New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award for Outstanding Production and continues to tour nationally and internationally. In June of 2014, they presented an installation entitled Bronx Gothic: The Oval as part of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s River to River Festival.  Their current project in development is Poor People’s TV Room, an early iteration of which was presented by Lincoln Center in the David Rubinstein Atrium in June 2014.

Okwui Okpokwasili is a New York-based writer, performer and choreographer. In partnership with collaborator Peter Born, Okpokwasili creates multidisciplinary projects. Their first New York production, Pent-Up: A Revenge Dance premiered at Performance Space 122 and recieved a 2010 New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award
for Outstanding Production; an immersive installation version was featured in the 2008 Prelude Festival. Their second collaboration, Bronx Gothic, won a 2014 New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award for Outstanding Production and continues to tour nationally and internationally. In June of 2014, they presented an installation entitled Bronx Gothic: The Oval as part of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s River to River Festival. Their current project
in development is Poor People’s TV Room, an early iteration of which was presented by Lincoln Center in the David Rubinstein Atrium in June 2014.  Her performance installation “when I return, who will receive me” premiered in the 2016 LMCC River to River Festival.

As a performaner, Okpokwasili frequently collaborates with award- winning director Ralph Lemon, including How Can You Stay in the House All Day and Not Go Anywhere?; Come home Charley Patton (for which she also won a New York Performance “Bessie” Award); a duet performed at The Museum of Modern Art as part
of On Line: Drawing Through the Twentieth Century; and, most recently, Ralph Lemon’s Scaffold Room.

Okpokwasili’s residencies and awards include The French American Cultural Exchange (2006-2007); Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography Choreographic Fellowship (2012, 2016); Baryshnikov Arts Center Artist-in-Residence (2013); New York Live Arts Studio Series (2013); Under Construction at the Park Avenue Armory (2013); New York Foundation for the Arts’ Fellowship in Choreography (2013); Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Extended Life Program (2014-16); The Foundation for Contemporary Arts’ artist grant in dance (2014); BRIClab (2015); Columbia University (2015), the Rauschenberg Residency (2015), Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s 2016 Presidential Award for Excellence in the Performing Arts. Okpokwasili is currently the 2015-2017 Randjelovic/Stryker New York Live Arts Resident Commissioned Artist.

Peter Born is a director, designer and filmmaker. In addition to
his work with Okpokwasili, he is currently collaborating with David Thomson on he is own mythical beast a cycle of installation/ performances revolving around a post-sexual incarnation of Venus, happening throughout 2015-16. He created the set for Nora Chipaumire’s rite/riot, and he has created performance videos with Chipaumire, including the upcoming “El Capitan Kinglady”. He works as an art director and prop stylist for video and photo projects with clients such as Vogue, Estee Lauder, Barney’s Co-op, Bloomingdales, Old Navy, “25” magazine, Northrup Grumman, and The Wall Street Journal, with collaborators including Kanye West, Barnaby Roper, Santiago and Mauricio Sierra, Quentin Jones, and NoStringsUS Puppet Productions. He is a former New York public high school teacher, an itinerant floral designer, corporate actor-facilitator and furniture designer. His collaborations with Okwui Okpokwasili have garnered two New York Dance Performance “Bessie” Awards.

Photo: Okwui Okpokwasili and Peter Born