Biography:

John Jesurun is a playwright, director and designer living in New York City. His presentations integrate elements of language, film, architectural space and media and cover a wide range of themes that explore the relation of form to content. A recipient of numerous grants including the Mac Arthur Fellowship in 1996, Jesurun is widely acknowledged as one of the foremost innovators of avant-garde theater. Born in Battle Creek, MI in 1951, John Jesurun was originally trained as a sculptor at the Philadelphia Collage of Art and Yale University where he also studied film. After working in television at CBS and as Assistant Producer on the Dick Cavett Show in 1982 he began his theatrical career at the Pyramid Club on the Lower East Side with his groundbreaking serial play Chang in a Void Moon, now in its 59 th episode. Since 1984 Jesurun has written directed and designed over 25 pieces, presented in major venues and festivals both nationally and internationally.

"Firefall"

Firefall is a project that will exist in several linked dimensions, individually and simultaneously; the Firefall website will travel with and be an integral part of live Firefall performances. The central space is a constantly evolving website through which live performances, altered video stream and re-edited video will be displayed. In the live performances, prepared content will be interwoven with real information and alternate versions of real information from different parts of the world by tuning into live television/web broadcasts. About forty percent of the piece will be improvised by the performers as they react to what is happening in current news reports as they appear on the live feed. A drama will emerge as the actors struggle to return to their script and conform to an agreed upon “reality,” while constantly informed about the transitory nature of the circumstances in which they perform, from both factual and affected sources.

A feature length video is created during the rehearsal time and performances involving some of the content of the live show, is used as the background for another completely different story. It exists as a related element to the live show and becomes material for several other websites that spin-off as their own entities in reaction to the central website. Here another drama emerges as the original struggles against being consumed by its own naturally expanding form/self. In this way, a network of alternate “characters/entities” is created.

Firefall is the beginning of a new direction in Jesurun’s work, in which he reinvents the medium of theater by introducing the internet as an additional tool for transformation.

For this project Jesurun will collaborate with Dayton Taylor, who has worked with him in the past as a technical director. Taylor is widely regarded as the inventor of among other things the “Timetrack” system used in many films today.