Labyrinth

Pawnie, with her bad wig and her hairy belly, complains: “I can’t believe I’ve survived AIDS, the Tompkins Square Park riots, 9/11 and the crash of 2008. All to die of disgust at what this city has become. As long as artists like Mr. Dendy are making such distinctive, impulsive, personal work, there’s hope for the old town yet.
— Alexis Soloski, THE NEW YORK TIMES

Abrons Arts Center and Mark Dendy and Stephen Donovan resent Labyrinth, a new dance-play by Obie and Bessie Award-winning choreographer Mark Dendy. A tragicomic, autobiographically inspired retelling of the Theseus myth, Dendy’s Labyrinth is set in present-day New York City and performed by a cast of four in multiple roles.

  Marisa @RockPaper

Marisa @RockPaper

In Labyrinth, Dendy interweaves character portraiture, myth, autobiography, and fantasy. Set in New York City, with Theseus hailing from Athens, Georgia, and aided by a transgender Ariadne, the hero quest is given a picaresque spin. En route to choreograph a Rockettes number, an artistically conflicted Theseus washes down anti-anxiety pills with absinthe just as Super storm Sandy is approaching the city. His journey through the mythic labyrinth is peopled with a Jungian underworld of colorful, disenfranchised characters, and pits him against multiple forces including a mechanical bull at the Bellevue Psych Ward. With Dendy’s signature wit, intense physicality, and searing social commentary, Labyrinth explores a world of inner demons and, ultimately, redemption by way of midlife crisis. The play is performed by Mark Dendy, Heather Christian, Stephen Donovan, and Matthew Hardy, with sound, music, and video created live on stage by the performers amid an ever-changing set of found objects.

Performances run October 9–12 (Thursday–Saturday at 8pm, Sunday at 5pm) and October 15–26 (Wednesday–Saturday at 8pm, Sunday at 5pm), at Abrons Arts Center’s Underground Theater.

 
 
I was intrigued when I recently read about Dendy’s new dance-play, Labyrinth — in particular, how it compared and contrasted to his earlier piece. Reading about it took me back to the brief time I spent with him, and I was eager to find out how his...
— Scott Alexander Hess, THE HUFFINGTON POST
“Mark Dendy is on a quest—for truth in his art, for acceptance of his past, for an honest confrontation of the world’s ills. The choreographer, now fifty-three, has been presenting work for more than thirty years; often it’s had an autobiographical basis, and elements of political or social commentary. Not to mention humor. Dendy has a sharp wit, which frequently emerges from the characters he creates, indelibly limned. His newest piece, the dance-play “Labyrinth,” at Abrons Arts Center, is a maelstrom of text, music, movement, and memory, coalescing in the end into a portrait of the artist as a hesitant hero in his own history.
— Andrew Boynton, THE NEW YORKER
Labyrinth isn’t likely to go to Broadway, though it’s probably better written and more compelling than most things there. In the best sense, this is a Downtown play that outrents Rent and leaves a bit of itself lodged in your brain.
— Quinn Batson / offoffoff.com

WRITTEN & DIRECTED by Mark Dendy.

ORIGINAL MUSIC by Heather Christian.

LYRICS by Mark Dendy and Heather Christian.

DRAMATURGY by Tom Cole.

LIGHTING DESIGN by Jay Ryan.

VIDEO> SET and COSTUME DESIGN Stephen Donovan.

TECHNICAL ARTIST Dave Polato.

SOUND DESIGN by Stowe Nelson.

AUDIO ENGINEER Erik Skovgaard.

  Marisa @RockPaper

Marisa @RockPaper

Labyrinth was developed over the last two years at residencies and workshop performances in New York City at The Actors Fund Arts Center, DANCENOW at Joe's Pub, Danspace Project, Dixon Place, Dance From The Heart 2013: DRA at Cedar Lake Theatre, New Work/New York at Parkside Lounge, and at Barking Legs Dance Theater in Chattanooga, TN, Dance Place in Washington, D.C., and DANCENOW Silo in Bucks County, PA.

Labyrinth is made possible in part with public funds from the Manhattan Community Arts Fund, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.