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Demolishing Everything with Amazing Speed is Dan Hurlin’s latest puppet theater work, based on four wordless and never before performed nor translated mini plays, originally written by Italian Futurist Fortunato Depero in 1917. Hurlin first uncovered Depero’s work during his fellowship year at the American Academy in Rome in 2013, and was immediately enraptured by the plays’ political and social undertones—ideals framed by the Futurists, one of Europe’s fringe cultural movements of the early 20th century. In 2017, to mark the centennial anniversary of these unpublished works, Hurlin will translate, publish, expand and stage these plays.
The four plays in Demolishing Everything with Amazing Speed include Suicidi e omicidi acrobatici (Acrobatic Suicides and Homicides), Ladro automatico (Automatic Thief), Avventura elettrica (Electric Adventure) and Sicuro (Safe). Unencumbered by dialogue, the plays are bizzare, almost hallucinogenic. Packed with surreal nonsensical imagery, they are menacing and violent, but suffused with a wonderfully playful tone. Characters include the “Rich Red Woman”, completely red but for a single eye made of bright green concentric circles; “The Count” with a black face and a single white eye that switches on and off like a headlamp; and “The Smoker” who violently rips apart his face only to go back smoking his cigar nonchalantly.
Presented in Bunraku puppetry style, Hurlin’s imaginative design team, includes Dan Moses Schreier (composer), and Tom Lee (media designer), collaborators from Disfarmer and other earlier works.
As currently conceived, the production will feature dozens of puppets with two of the plays performed live, one of the plays shown as a live film, and the fourth serving as prologue and epilogue.
In line with Hurlin’s interest in examining characters who dwell on the margins of society, Demolishing Everything with Amazing Speed honors a whole collective of outsiders whose disruptions of traditional order had a profound impact on art and live performance that still resonates today.
MAPP International seeks co-commissioners. Open tour dates for 2017 available.