Okwui Okpokwasili and Peter Born’s adaku, part 1: the road opens, at BAM

Okwui Okpokwasili and Peter Born’s adaku, part 1: the road opens, at BAM

Brooklyn-based performer, choreographer, and writer Okwui Okpokwasili and director, visual artist, and sound designer Peter Born will present their new cross- disciplinary performance adaku, part 1: the road opens at BAM Fisher Fishman Space as part of BAM’s Next Wave 2023, November 28–December 2 (Tuesday–Saturday), at 7:30pm.

Okpokwasili and Born carry a deep 20-year history of collaboration leading up to this new production, which has resulted in the creation of numerous acclaimed performance, installation, and film works. Working at the intersection of dance, theater, and visual art, each of their highly experimental, formally inventive works offers an exacting artistic commitment to unearth nearly forgotten narratives, particularly those of Black women. In this process, they explore themes that historicize and memorialize the stories.

In this latest work, adaku, part 1: the road opens, the first chapter of a larger speculative mythology, a precolonial African village is at the cusp of a major upheaval. The community is entangled in an argument that could shape the future of all of their lives. This collective reckoning explores the fraught relationship between ancestors, future generations, and the role of ritual. A sonic and visual landscape of reflective textures, contouring shadows, and thrumming facilitates an intimate exchange between performers and the audience.

Conceived and written by Okpokwasili, a 2018 recipient of a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship, and directed in collaboration with Born, their approach to the original text, song, movement, and scenic design creates a visceral nonlinear narrative that unfolds within the past and present simultaneously, allowing the ghosts of history to haunt and inhabit our present.

Okpokwasili’s extraordinary storytelling builds a catalytic, animating connection with her reverberating performance, and, along with an eminent cast of six performers, each with their own distinctive performance presence, adaku, part 1 aims to cultivate a shared engagement with the audience that opens up spaces of imaginative possibility.

adaku, part 1: the road opens will be at BAM Fisher Fishman Space November 28 – December 2. Tickets start at $35. Visit bam.org to book now.

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