(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) — The innovative ensemble So Percussion explores America’s fraught relationship with guns in “A Gun Show,” a theatrically staged concert in the Hunter Center at MASS MoCA on Saturday, February 11, at 8pm. “A Gun Show” gives the Second Amendment a soundtrack in this affecting foray into America’s gun culture. Taking mallets to disassembled sniper rifles and assorted drums, the musicians serve as Greek chorus, commenting instrumentally on sung and spoken texts drawn from the nightmares and nostalgia of armed experiences.
Three-time Obie Award-winning director Ain Gordon and choreographer and performer Emily Johnson give depth to this probing work in which anger meets inalienable rights, dark memories resurface, and a contested weapon sings a bittersweet song.
So Percussion: A Gun Show — a poignant program that scrutinizes America’s bond with firearms — is one of several recent programs that have responded to the rise of gun-related tragedies post-Sandy Hook. Teaming with three-time Obie-winning director Ain Gordon and emerging choreography sensation Emily Johnson, the group studied all-things guns: they visited gun ranges, ordered rifle parts, and culled through dark memories to inform this new work. The concert-length result is a balance of gripping percussion music, video projections, and spoken word — or, as the New Yorker describes, “An exhilarating blend of precision and anarchy, rigor and bedlam…” Fresh off a spot in BAM’s Next Wave Festival, the production is earning praise for its ability to tackle difficult topics in a thought-provoking and digestible presentation.
Museum galleries will be open late, from 11am-7pm.
Eager to demonstrate the ties between music, politics, and social studies, So Percussion was formed by four Yale School of Music students studying under distinguished professor and performer Robert van Sice. The four-member percussion group initially focused on a repertoire of 20th-century classics, covering the likes of John Cage and Steve Reich, and works by contemporary composers, including David Lang, Paul Lansky, and Steve Mackey. Pivoting their focus to original compositions, So Percussion now performs multimedia, multi-genre works rooted in current events and social change.
Lickety Split, MASS MoCA’s café, serves up crisp salads, hearty soups, and lip-smacking pub fare before the seated theater show. A full bar serves Bright Ideas Brewing beers and Berkshire Mountain Distillery spirits through the performance.
Tickets are $12 for students, $18 advance, $24 day of, and $30 preferred. Tickets for all events are available through the MASS MoCA box office located on Marshall Street in North Adams, open 11am to 5pm every day except Tuesdays. Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111 during box office hours or purchased online at MASS MoCA.
MASS MoCA is one of the world’s liveliest (and largest) centers for making, displaying, and enjoying today’s most important art, music, dance, theater, film, and video. MASS MoCA will nearly double its gallery space in spring 2017, with artist partnerships that include Laurie Anderson, the Louise Bourgeois Trust, Jenny Holzer, the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, and James Turrell.
Gallery admission is $18 for adults, $16 for veterans and seniors, $12 for students, $8 for children 6 to 16, and free for children 5 and under, through May 21, 2017. Members are admitted free year-round. The Hall Art Foundation’s Anselm Kiefer exhibition is open seasonally, spring–fall. For additional information, call 413.662.2111 x1 or visit MASS MoCA.
11am to 5pm, closed Tuesdays