Saint Genet

Promised Ends: The Slow Arrow of Sorrow and Madness

Who With Their Fear Is Put Beside Their Part
Who With Their Fear Is Put Beside Their Part

The author, director, and performance artist Derrick Ryan Claude Mitchell and his group Saint Genet create visually stunning environments in which the performers transgress physical and psychological boundaries. In his “Theater of Cruelty”, he creates associative mythological spaces and overwhelming beauty which at any moment can tilt into pain, hysteria, and extreme emotions. Promised Ends: The Slow Arrow of Sorrow and Madness is the culmination of a three-year work process around the migration tragedy of the Donner Party, a group of settlers who crossed the US and had to endure unimaginable horrors after they were trapped by an early snowstorm in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Mitchell depicts a society on the edge that breaks taboos, but also provokes radical acts of caring. Fear, danger, death, and cannibalism. Or a new form of empathy? A physically and spiritually destroyed King Lear, inspired by Jean-Luc Godard’s and Akira Kurosawa’s cinematic interpretations of the tragedy, becomes the mouthpiece of this society. The lighting artist Ben Zamora and the kinetic object artist Casey Curran have created an installation environment that visitors can physically explore before an epic operatic performance is discharged by performers, dancers, and amateur and professional musicians including the composers Brian Lawlor and D. Salo. We become witnesses to a surreal vision that challenges both our common past and our unknown future, and rebels against the horror of the current political situation. On the merciless journey, we are trapped with Saint Genet and the Donner Party in the mountains and meet a “mad king on the heath saying ‘Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill!’“

Saint Genet continues to evolve and ask important questions about current politics and policies, while exploring fundamental ways humans share intimacy and vulnerability. Ryan talks more directly about his philosophical intent in a great interview in Whitewalls.

Here is what other press has been saying:

“Saint Genet impresses with the dark performance promised ends. “we are lost” is the penetrating message of this brutal, catchy social commentary.” – kurier ★★★★

“A pleasant evening is not offered here, but a triumphal image of our time: Hedonism as a battle cry of civil society.” -TheGap

“Mitchell is shameless, but extremely powerful at the Viennese actionism and the body art of the ’60s.” – Kurier

“Some people said in retrospect, “what the hell?”? – Wiener Zeitung

Artistic Team and Cast

Director: Derrick Ryan Claude Mitchell
Installation Concept: Derrick Ryan Claude Mitchell, Ben Zamora, Casey Curran
Performance Compositions: Brian Lawlor with D. Salo
Choreography: Matt Drews with Lavinia Vago
Costume: Robinick Fernandez with Jordan Christianson
Video: Alexander Nowak
Composition for alien skeleton boy video: D. Salo and Garek Druss
Light design: John Torres
Lighting Installation: Ben Zamora
Kinetic Installation and Floor Design: Casey Curran
Light Installation Technical and Fabrication Support: Erik Holden and Michael Notestine
Design, Dramaturgy, Lobby Installations, Company Management: NKO
Dramaturgy: Melissa Henry, Mallery Avidon
Company Manager: Sara Edwards

Performers: Baso Fibonacci, Lily Nguyen, Matt Drews, Lavina Vago, Adriana Cubides, Stefanie Wieser, Francesca Frewer, Derrick Ryan Claude Mitchell, Sara Edwards, NKO.

Musicians: Brian Lawlor (Piano/Synthisizer), Benny Omerzell (Piano/Synthisizer); Emily Stewart (Violine), Martina Bischof (Viola), Julia Pichler (Violine), Lukas Lauermann (Cello).

Thanks to our supporters for the Vienna Series including:

Producers, Presenters, Hosts: Wiener Festwochen 2017, Holland Festival 2017, Halle G 2017, donaufestival 2016 and Kunsthalle Krems 2016, Traiskirchen 2015.

Residency / Creation and Rehearsal Space Support: Tanzquartier 2017, The Hillsdale Brook Residency 2017, Carlos Ruiz 2017, Ritual House 2016, V2 2016, Vital 5 Productions at King Street Station 2016.

All of the amazing staff of the aforementioned institutions, who are inumerable, but ALL skilled, dedicated, passionate and patient. THANK YOU.

Donors: Marleigh Atherton, Emily Chisholm, Sandy and Gerry Edwards, Dan Hawkins, Phillip Kraft, Ed Marquand, Pol Rosenthal, ilvs strauss, David Taft, Marc Wilson.

Foundation: The performance “Frail Affinities” was supported by Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation through USArtists International in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


*world premiere*
weiner festwochen
May 16, 17, 19, 20, 2017

Holland Festival
June 10-12, 2017

More appearances TBD
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