How did a flamboyant heterosexual avant-garde Parisian novelist successfully impersonate a lesbian Greek poet in the most elaborate erotic literary hoax the world has ever known? Rogue Artists Ensemble premieres Songs of Bilitis, offering four performance at South Coast Repertory, part of its Studio SCR, February 15-17, followed by a four week run at L.A.’s Bootleg Theater beginning March 8.
Combining multi-media projections with puppetry, movement, sophisticated live audio-sampling and larger-than-life Greek masks, Rogue Artists Ensemble transports the audience through a world of sexual power struggles and changing identities in this erotic psychological thriller based on a true story.
Originally commissioned by and workshopped at the Getty Villa in 2012, Songs of Bilitis is adapted by Katie Polebaum and Rogue Artists Ensemble from the French erotic novel by Pierre Louÿs. At the turn of the 20th-century, Louÿs captured the imaginations and libidos of the literary world when he penned an extensive collection of exquisite and sensuous poetry by a fabricated Greek courtesan named “Bilitis.” Holding a false place in the canon of classical Greek erotic literature for nearly ten years, Songs of Bilitis became the world’s greatest work of counterfeit Greek erotica.
“Songs of Bilitis is a unique project in the Rogue cannon of work,” says artistic director Sean T. Cawelti. “This is our first truly erotic and sensual creation, and the process has been full of incredible discoveries as well as challenges. The piece has a striking visual vocabulary that steams with desire and overflows with imagination.”
Four performances of Songs of Bilitis take place at South Coast Repertory on Friday, February 15 @ 8 pm; Saturday, February 16 @ 3 pm and 8 pm; and Sunday, February 17 @ 3 pm. There will be one preview performance on Thursday, February 14 @ 7 pm. For reservations and information, call 714-708-5555 or go to www.scr.org.
Songs of Bilitis opens at the Bootleg Theater in Los Angeles on March 8, where it will continue through March 30 on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays @ 7:30 pm* (*please note early curtain time). For more information and to purchase tickets, call 213-389-3856 or got to www.bootlegtheater.org (Mature audiences: contains nudity and adult themes.)
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