Abrons Arts Center and Mark Dendy Projects present the world premiere of Mark Dendy’s full-length dance-play - October 926, 2014


Marisa @RockPaper

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










Press Agent Janet Stapleton

Abrons Arts Center and Mark Dendy Projects present 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. 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.

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 Superstorm 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.

Labyrinth is written 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 by Stephen Donovan.  Technical Artist Dave Polato. Sound design by Stowe NelsonAudio Engineer Erik Skovgaard. Wig Design by Torin. Fight Director Bryce Bermingham. Production assistant Eli Mendoza.

Press Agent Janet Stapleton

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.

Tickets are $25 and are available through Abrons Arts Center’s box office at (212) 352-3101, or online at www.abronsartscenter.org. Tickets will go on sale in early August. Abrons Arts Center, 466 Grand Street (at Pitt Street), New York, NY 10002.

  Marisa @RockPaper

Marisa @RockPaper

Collaborator/Performer Biographies

Bryce Bermingham has choreographed the violence for musicals such as a national tour of The Scarlet Pimpernel, Beauty and the Beast and George Stiles’ The Three Musketeers and well as dozens of Shakespeare and modern theatre works. Recently he was the stunt coordinator for The House that Jack Built which premiered at the LA Film Festival.  Bryce is a coordinator for the international stage combat workshop The Paddy Crean - www.paddycrean.com  www.ludio.com

Heather Christian is the music brainchild of Heather Christian & the Arbornauts. She is the daughter of a blues musician and a go-go dancer from backwoods Mississippi and five of the most virtuosic boy prodigies she could find. Primarily known for her eccentric voice (“Christian howls like a werewolf with a voice made of molasses." Variety), she is part blues musician, part pixie, part old lady and pulls from the traditional gospel canon in tandem with circus music, noise rock, and good old fashioned feeling good. Christian and a multi-tasking brood of musical dandies (Sasha Brown, Matt Bogdanow, Chris Giarmo, Josh Myers and Jonathan Anderson) comprise their song set of dream hymns and odes to imaginary landscapes that reside somewhere between a vast theoretical sea and the deep American South.

Since 2002 Tom Cole has been the director of new project development at True Love Productions, where he has developed work with Sheila Callaghan, Craig Lucas, and Heidi Schreck, among others. He was the director of the Market Theater during its acclaimed inaugural seasons (2000–2002), where he worked on world premieres with various artists including David Mamet, Ricky Jay, Kate Robin, and Ping Chong. His work has been presented at Threadwaxing Space, Participant Inc, Art On Air, and The Clocktower Gallery. He is a MacDowell playwriting fellow. He curates Experiments and Disorders at Dixon Place.

Stephen Donovan studied contemporary art at Nottingham Trent University, UK, and was taught by Shelly Sacks, a former assistant to and student of Joseph Beuys. He moved to New York in 1999 and studied acting at The Strasberg Theatre Institute. He appeared in Comedians at La MaMa E.T.C and was a member of Mind The Gap Theatre Company. He was the costume designer for Desperate Writers (Union Square Theatre, Off- Broadway) and assistant director for Taboo (Broadway), where he met Mark Dendy. Donovan has collaborated with Dendy since 2004 when they co-wrote the book to Andru’s Head (NY Fringe) for which he also designed costumes and set. Most recently he appeared in Dendy’s Dystopian Distractions! at the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara, for which he also designed the video, sound, and costumes.

Matthew Hardy has performed with the National Tour of Fosse, toured with Jane Comfort & Co., presented his own cabaret act entitled Songs for the Dysfunctional, and worked at many regional theaters across the nation. He is a proud member of Actors’ Equity, a graduate of the William Esper Acting Studio, and a member of The BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theater Workshop. He has written the book and lyrics for the musical comedies Flambé Dreams, Bling!, and Ever Happily After.

Stowe Nelson is a Brooklyn-based sound designer who specializes in new and devised work. New York credits include:The Wayside Motor Inn (Signature); 16 Words or Less (Clubbed Thumb); Our New Girl (Atlantic Theatre Company); The Box (Foundry Theatre); Buyer & Cellar (Barrow St. Theatre); Take Me Home (Incubator Arts); WASPS (Studio 42);Phoebe in Winter (Clubbed Thumb); We Play for the Gods (Women's Project). His work has been seen regionally at Center Theatre Group, Geva Theatre Center, Everyman Theatre, Center Stage, Studio Theatre, ArtsEmerson, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Welfleet Harbor Actors Theatre and Totem Pole Playhouse.

Dave Polato is a company member and Technical Artist of the TEAM. With them he has toured and helped create ‘Mission Drift’, ‘Architecting’, and ‘Particularly in the Heartland’.  Dave has also had the opportunity to stage manage for the Rude Mechs, SITI Company, and Pig Iron, amongst others.  Most recently at LCT3 with the Rudes and ‘Stop Hitting Yourself’.

Jay Ryan was the resident lighting designer at Dance Theater Workshop (DTW) from 1994 to 2005. At DTW he designed lights for hundreds of dance pieces and developed the Dance and Technology initiative. He has had the pleasure to work and tour the world with many wonderful people: Phoenix Theatre Ensemble, Big Dance Theater, H.T. Chen, Daniel Safer, Nami Yamamoto, Jeanine Durning, Sally Silvers, John Jasperse, The Elementals and many others. He has designed lights at many theater spaces around the world. Ryan was nominated for a New York Innovative Theater Award for his lighting of Dancing Vs the Rat Experiment with WRC and received an Eva Adamson award for Excellence in Lighting Design in 2011. He is currently an adjunct professor at Montclair State University and Brooklyn College.

Erik Skovgaard is Brooklyn-based sound designer and recent graduate of Emerson College. New York credits include assistant design work for: Our New Girl (Atlantic Theater Company), The Essential Straight and Narrow (The Mad Ones), Buyer & Cellar (Barrow Street Theater), We Play For The Gods (Women's Project), Soul Doctor (NYTW). Regionally he as assisted at the American Repertory Theater, and ArtsEmerson.

Media contact: Janet Stapleton – 212-633-0016 / stapleton.janet@gmail.com. Digital photos are available upon request.

Photos by Marisa @RockPaper