Theater Opening: INDRA’S NET (Meredith Monk World Premiere, Mills College in Oakland)

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by Harvey Perr on October 27, 2021

in Concerts / Events,Theater-San Francisco / Bay Area

Indra’s Net
Conceived, Directed, and Composed by Meredith Monk

Meredith Monk’s newest interdisciplinary, evening-length music theater piece is an experiential performance work affirming the interconnectedness of life. Following On Behalf of Nature (2013), a plea for ecological awareness, and Cellular Songs (2018), which turned attention to the fabric of life itself, Indra’s Net is Monk’s third work in a trilogy dedicated to our relationship with the natural world.

Meredith Monk, from ON BEHALF OF NATURE. Photo by Julia Cervantes.

Initially set to premiere in November 2020 and both delayed and informed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is a contemplative offering to the world in which we now find ourselves, embodying interconnectedness within the universe through sound and performance. Indra’s Net will be premiered in 2 Premiere Concert Performances to a limited capacity audience November 12 &13, 2021 in the Jeannik Méquet Littlefield Concert Hall on the Mills College campus in Oakland, California. Additionally, the presentations will be made available via live-stream on the Mills Performing Arts website.

In the ancient Buddhist/Hindu legend of Indra’s Net, an enlightened king, Indra, stretches a large net across the universe with an infinitely faceted jewel placed at each intersection. Each jewel is wholly unique yet reflects all the others, illuminating the interdependence of all living things — a particularly apt metaphor for our current times.

“In a world that is so fragmented and full of sorrow, I want to create work that affirms life and our sense of connection to each other and to everything else.” Meredith Monk

 Ellen Fisher, Bohdan Hilash, John Hollenbeck, Sidney Chen, Meredith Monk, Allison Sniffin,
Katie Geissinger, and Bruce Rameker in ON BEHALF OF NATURE. Photo by Julia Cervantes.

Situated on the Mills College campus in Oakland, California, Mills Performing Arts is a multi-venue performing arts center committed to promoting action and exchange in the performing arts, and supporting artists and scholars who reflect, explore, and celebrate the abundant cultural, racial, gender, and economic diversity of our society. Find out more about Mills Music Now, which has been hailed as one of the “gems of Bay Area culture.” This Concert Series is a celebration of the College’s rich tradition of experimentation and a glimpse into the future of a broad range of musical practices.

This musical premiere is the latest ensemble work from Monk, an internationally acclaimed composer, performer, singer and creator. The concert performances of this interdisciplinary, evening-length music theater work is the third part in a trilogy of works by Monk that explore our interdependent relationship with nature while seeking to evoke the ineffable.

Merdith Monk, Katie Geissinger, Ellen Fisher, Allison Sniffin, Jo Stewart in CELLULAR SONGS.
Photo by Julia Cervantes.

Indra’s Net features an intergenerational and multicultural cast including Meredith Monk, Paul An, Theo Bleckmann, Gideon Crevoshay, Allison Easter, Ellen Fisher, Katie Geissinger, John Hollenbeck, and Allison Sniffin. Joining Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble will be a chamber orchestra consisting of players mostly from the San Francisco Bay Area, including Jennifer Ellis, Tony Gennaro, Keefe Ismael, John Ivers, Nayoung Jung, Kyle Ko, Genevieve Kromm, Rhein Matlack, Yuki Nagase, Erika Oba, Shaina Pan, Nasr Sheikh, Jamael Smith, Julian Sommer, and Michiko Theurer. The production features scenic and costume design by Yoshio Yabara, lighting design by Joe Levasseur, and sound design by Daniel Neumann. The piece was workshopped at Mills College in Fall 2018 and 2019 with Bay Area musicians and at ArtLab at Harvard University in Spring 2020.

Meredith Monk. Photo by F Scott Schaefer.

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