Paul Lazar’s “Cage Shuffle” Opening John Cage’s Japan: A Japan Society Performance Series
Discover Cage Shuffle, the critically acclaimed 50-minute spoken-word solo work comprising a randomly determined set of texts taken from John Cage’s 1963 “score,” Indeterminacy. In this captivating performance, the beloved New York performer Paul Lazar brings dozens of Cage’s personal anecdotes to life, following the composer’s notated instructions to present each aloud in exactly one minute. Through a mesmerizing blend of spoken word and meticulously choreographed movement by Tony Award-winner Annie-B Parson, audiences are treated to a thrilling experience where text and motion intertwine, creating connections that amuse and provoke contemplation.
This production has wowed audiences worldwide since its 2017 premiere in New York but, for this one-of-a-kind John Cage’s Japan performance, Lazar has packed the overall deck of roughly 200 pieces with handpicked Cage commentary on Japanese themes, Zen philosophy, and reminiscences as well as quotes from Cage’s noteworthy friends and contemporaries, including D.T. Suzuki, Isamu Noguchi and Hidekazu Yoshida.
Cage Shuffle is the opening performance in Japan Society’s multi-month celebration of the special relationship between the iconoclastic American composer John Cage and the country of Japan. When Cage first toured Japan in 1962, the resulting series of concerts served to draw attention to the rhymes between his works and the sounds of avant-garde and classical Japanese music, cementing him as a pivotal artistic figure in the East and reinforcing many of Cage’s creative impulses.
Cage would continue to visit and perform in Japan multiple times throughout his life. Indeed, as Japan Society’s Artistic Director Yoko Shioya boldly posits, “If John Cage had not encountered Japanese culture, there would have been no John Cage!” In support of this assertion, Japan Society presents John Cage’s Japan, an original series of Cage-centric programming scheduled to take place this fall and winter at the Japan Society auditorium at 333 East 47th Street.
Following Cage Shuffle, John Cage’s Japan continues with innovative concerts curated by the composer, musician and internationally-recognized Cage expert Tomomi Adachi, in collaboration with New York’s own International Contemporary Ensemble, America’s leading ensemble for new instrumental work. Programs on October 21, November 16, and December 7 will each feature unique programming and acclaimed international guest performers, including Broadway vocalist and avant-garde composer Gelsey Bell, Noh actor Wakako Matsuda, and experimental sound artists Tania Caroline Chen and Victoria Shen. Program details and lineup are subject to change.
John Cage’s Japan performances will be for two nights only: September 28 at 7:30 pm (followed by a private gathering for artists and members), and September 29 at 7:30 pm (followed by an artist Q & A).
Tickets to each show are $35; $28 for Japan Society members and are on sale now at JapanSociety.org