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La MaMa E.T.C. 74A East Fourth Street
~ New York, NY 10003 ~ Box Office (212) 475-7710
F O R I M M E D I A T E R E L E A S E
Jonathan Slaff, Press Representative ~ (212) 260-2473
Split Britches' Peggy Shaw and Lois Weaver team up with performance artist Stacy Makishi for "Salad of the Bad Cafe"
February 17 to March 5
La MaMa E.T.C. (The Club), 74A East Fourth Street (presented by La MaMa E.T.C.)
Thursdays through Saturdays at 10:00 pm $12, (212) 475-7710
NEW YORK -- "Salad of the Bad Cafe" is a postmodern cabaret written and performed by Lois Weaver and Peggy Shaw of Split Britches and Asian American performance artist Stacy Makishi. Inspired by Carson McCullers' novel "Ballad of the Sad Cafe" and the lives of Tennessee Williams and Yukio Mishima, it is a treatise on love in a post-claustrophobic era.
The play begins in 1945, in the summer that lay between the war and the postwar period when Japan was weeping, the American South was seething and the word Gender was mostly used in grammar class. The setting is a cafe where people come to spend a few hours so that the "deep bitter knowing that their life is not worth much can be laid to rest." The cast is, according to the authors, "racial, gender and regional stereotypes such as the queer lonesome clown, the drunken homosexual writer, the gender outlaw, the Japanese transformer (a kids' toy), the homo-erotic cowboy, the reluctant lesbian bride, the mutant refugee, the faded southern belle, the geisha and the soldier," who come together to tell a story of unrequited love. The play ends in a showdown between a triangle of misfits who would rather fight to love than be loved.
The piece combines poetry, visual humor and dance in an attempt to demystify the Queer, disorient the Orient and demythify the Southern Gothic and the American Grotesque.
Peggy Shaw and Lois Weaver, together with Deb Margolin (all veterans of Hot Peaches and Spiderwoman Theater), co-founded Split Britches in 1981 at NYC's WOW Cafe (an outgrowth of the WOW International Theater Festivals there of 1980 and 1981). The company received an Obie in 1986 for sustained excellence, and in 1987 Shaw received an Obie for best actor in "Dress Suits for Hire." The duo have become known for "a long line of smart, thrillingly well-executed performance pieces" (Katherine Dieckmann, Village Voice) and "tough intellectual and verbal content (John Hammond, The Native). They won two more Obies for ensemble acting in La MaMa's "Belle Reprieve" (1991), a collaboration with Bloolips that was a reversed-gender version of "Streetcar Named Desire." They have also appeared in The Club at LaMaMa in "Lesbians Who Kill" (1993), a satirical work on violent fantasies, and "Lust and Comfort" (1995), a play set in London in the '50s which addressed sterility and complacency in long-term relationships and the urge to reinvent desire. Weaver and Shaw have also introduced solo, largely autobiographical shows at La MaMa: Shaw's "You're Just Like My Father" (1994) was an autobiographical work on growing up Butch in the 1950s. Weaver's "Faith and Dancing: mapping femininity and other natural disasters" (1997) was a work about growing up a femme dyke in Baptist Virginia.
Stacy Makishi is an Okinawan performance artist/poet from Hawaii, currently residing in Hackney, London, which is the subject/location of her new mixed media film project called, "On the Street Where You Live", funded by the London Arts Board and Peabody Trust. Last year she was honored with a "Leaders For London" Millennium Award which "recognizes imagination, achievement and leadership" in artist achievement (she was appointed a Millennium Fellow). She was also awarded an Attached Artist Residency at the Institute of Contemporary Art in London. In New York, she has been the recipient of a Franklin Furnace Archive new technology commission for a live worldwide netcast called "Suicide for Beginners" (1999) which included animation, video, text, music and performance. Her solo show, "Tongue In Sheets," was commissioned by Dixon Place NYC. She has performed a variety of her material at venues such as The Improvisation, Los Angeles; On The Boards, Seattle; The Groundlings, Los Angeles; and The Comedy Store, Honolulu. She is also an experienced television performer whose TV work includes commissions by CBS and FOX Television Networks as well as hosting and appearing in several TV Comedy Specials.
Choreography by Stormy Brandenberger and music and sound design are by Vivien
# # # CRITICS ARE INVITED on or after February 17.