Tag Archive | "Neo-political Cowgirls"

East End Weekend: Highlights of What to Do August 1 to 3

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"Reclining Blue" by Christine Matthäi is on view at the Monika Olko Gallery In Sag Harbor.

“Reclining Blue” by Christine Matthäi is on view at the Monika Olko Gallery In Sag Harbor.

By Tessa Raebeck

The roads are clogged, the beaches are packed and somehow August has arrived. You know what that means? There’s even more to do this weekend! Have some highlights on us:

 

The Neo-Political Cowgirls latest performance “VOYEUR” opened Thursday, July 31, and will run performances August 1, 2, 7, 8 and 9. An inside/out theatre installation on-site at Parsons Blacksmith Shop in Springs, “VOYEUR” examines friendship, womanhood and the boundaries of theatre. Click here for the full story and here for more information and tickets.

"SPLASH" by Kia Andrea Pedersen.

“SPLASH” by Kia Andrea Pedersen.

 

Saturday at the Monika Olko Gallery in Sag Harbor, friends, Shelter Island residents and fellow artists Christine Matthäi and Kia Andrea Pederson will showcase their latest work. Originally from Germany, Ms. Matthäi specializes in abstract photography. Ms. Pederson uses more earthy mediums. In the exhibition, “The Call of the Sea,” their work is joined together by its shared celebration of the ocean.

An opening reception will be held at the gallery, located at 95 Main Street in Sag Harbor, on Saturday, August 2, from 6 to 8 p.m. The exhibit will be on view through August 22.

 

East Hampton welcomes David Sedaris, widely considered to be one of his generation’s best writers,
who will be hosting an evening at Guild Hall on Sunday, August 3. The humorist authored such bestsellers as “Naked,” “Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim,” and “Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls.”

For more information, click here.

The evening starts at 8 p.m. and will be followed by a book signing. Guild Hall is located at 158 Main Street in East Hampton. Click here for tickets.

 

The Peconic Land Trust’s major event, Through Farms and Fields, is Sunday, August 3. The benefit features a country supper at hte property of Peconic Land Trust board member Richard Hogan and Carron Sherry, on historic Ward’s Point on Shelter Island. It will honor the conservation philanthropy of Barbara J. Slifka. There is an online auction, as well as a silent auction that will be held the night of the event.

The Neo-Political Cowgirls Present “VOYEUR” at Parsons Blacksmith Shop in Springs

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The sneak peak of "VOYEUR" at Guild Hall in March. Photo by Tom Kochie.

The sneak peak of “VOYEUR” at Guild Hall in March. Photo by Tom Kochie.

By Tessa Raebeck

While many 8-year-old girls spend their evenings playing with toys or watching TV, Kate Mueth preferred to wander her neighborhood in northern Illinois and peer into her neighbors’ windows.

She was not looking to see anything depraved or risqué, she was merely people watching, observing a mother helping her son with homework or a family enjoying a meal at the dinner table.

“I loved watching people wash dishes or read a book, the most seemingly mundane things,” Ms. Mueth said on Tuesday, July 22. “I was trying to make sense of my world, I was trying to make sense of my home life, how people behave…am I behaving properly? Am I normal? Am I whacked out? … and I think some people would think I am sort of whacked out, but that’s why I make art.”

Ms. Mueth, founder and director of the East Hampton-based theatre troupe The Neo-Political Cowgirls, has transferred this childhood fascination into the company’s latest production, “VOYEUR,” which opens, Thursday, July 31, at the Parsons Blacksmith Shop in Springs.

Written and directed by Ms. Mueth, “VOYEUR” is a personal reflection on time, friendship and the transient notion of normalcy.

Photo by Tom Kochie.

Photo by Tom Kochie.

Ms. Mueth believes the reason many artists, such as herself, are continually driven to create something new is because they are trying to “figure it all out.”

“It’s a very, very personal piece, surprisingly,” the director said, adding she didn’t expect it to turn out so. “I think probably, ultimately, every artist creates something very personal without even necessarily knowing it.”

In “VOYEUR,” a young girl guides the audience in small groups around the blacksmith shop’s exterior. Through a series of short vignettes, they peer from outside through the shop’s windows, watching the story of the life of another girl, the guide’s best childhood friend, unfold.

A “theater art installation,” as Ms. Mueth calls it, “VOYEUR” lasts about 20 minutes per group and explores what theater can entail.

While the actor on the exterior remains a young girl, the girl on the inside progresses through her life, growing from a child to a teenager and eventually an adult, mother and elderly woman.

“It’s essentially about two little girls who are in love as friends are in love, as little girls can be in love. It’s not a sexual thing; it’s a total friendship, sensual thing,” Ms. Mueth said. “And one of them goes away and it could be that she goes away psychologically, she goes away emotionally or literally physically moves away.”

Ms. Mueth, careful to leave the piece open to personal interpretation, said from her perspective, the little girl on the outside still yearns for the friendship she shared with the one within. While the girl inside seems to move on, however, “her life is ultimately not fully realized in terms of joy, in terms of fulfillment.”

“It’s very nostalgic for me,” the director added, “from a friendship I had growing up at a very young age, from birth, into a friendship that was really intense, really beautiful, really connected. And it broke. And it broke through betrayal and it broke through misunderstanding and it broke right around sixth grade, which is a very tricky time anyways.”

The abandonment felt by that loss of her first friendship compelled Ms. Mueth to examine time and the effects when a love that comes from such an innocent yet intense beginning is broken.

Her theater work, she said, is “always an examination of life, of emotions, of happenings, of humanity. And how we deal with it, how it feels to be human, how it feels to survive certain things in our lives.”

Ms. Mueth relates to both the young girls, the one who moves on within the blacksmith shop and the one watching from without.

“I think that’s kind of what childhood friendship is,” she said. “When you’re in one of these closely bonded friendships, where you begin and where your friend ends is kind of impossible to see.”

For girls, Ms. Mueth said, a best friend, “that person that you can be with 12 hours and still want to spend more time with,” is practice for our relationships later in life, for lovers and marriage, “of how we relate and how we love and what we get from each other in terms of nurturing.”

“VOYEUR” examines the passage of time and the impact of growing up—and often apart—on that most intimate relationship with your first best friend, “somebody who you feel that bond with and you can just go and play and be in this imagination land; you literally are creating your world together. And that’s your world—you can’t do that with just anybody.”

“VOYEUR” is July 31, August 1, 2, 7, 8, 9, at 7 p.m. until 8:20 p.m. at the Parsons Blacksmith Shop at Springs Fireplace Road and Parson Place in Springs, East Hampton.  Tickets are $15 and can be ordered ahead of time at brownpapertickets.com/event/756705.

The Neo-Political Cowgirls Dance for Justice at Bay Street Theatre

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Last year's performance of Eve Ensler's "V-Day, One Billion Rising" by the Neo-Political Cowgirls at Bay Street Theatre. Photo by Tom Kochie.

Last year’s performance of Eve Ensler’s “V-Day, One Billion Rising” by the Neo-Political Cowgirls at Bay Street Theatre. Photo by Tom Kochie.

By Tessa Raebeck

The Neo-Political Cowgirls return to Bay Street Thursday, February 27 with their rendition of Eve Ensler’s, “V-Day, One Billion Rising.” Eve Ensler, creator of “The Vagina Monologues,” started the worldwide event as a way for people to rise up, speak out and dance together to demand justice for women and girls who are victims of violence.

Director Kate Mueth and the Neo-Political Cowgirls are again partnering with The Retreat and the Bay Street Theatre in the thought-provoking performance aimed at empowering women through self-expression.

Renditions of the dance, which is largely improvisational, will be performed around the world. Those looking to join the global movement are welcome to attend an hour-long dance rehearsal prior to the event, at 5:30 p.m. in the theatre. No experience is necessary and men, women and children are all invited.

Those less inclined to dance are welcome to come to the main performance at 7:30 p.m., which includes music, spoken word and, naturally, dance.

With the slogan, “Rise, Release, Dance!” One Billion Rising for Justice is a global call to demand an end to violence against women and girls. Through transformative dance, survivors of violence are encouraged to release their pain and rise up against their tormenters. Dances usually end with the dancers’ arms spread wide, their head held high and mouth open in a message of release and renewal. In 2013, feminist activists in 207 countries participated in the Valentine’s Day event.

The Neo-Political Cowgirls’ staging of “V-Day, One Billion Rising,” will start at 7 p.m. on Thursday, February 13 at the Bay Street Theatre, Corner of Bay and Main Streets in Sag Harbor. A suggested donation of $20 will benefit The Retreat. For more information, email Kate Mueth at gladmueth@aol.com or call the box office at 631.329.7130.

 

The Gods are Coming to Sag Harbor This Weekend

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Zima character (photo by Tom Kochie).

Zima character (photo by Tom Kochie).

By Tessa Raebeck

It was the dead of winter—snowstorms followed by extreme cold followed by icy roads—and Kate Mueth was sick of hearing people complain.

“I was getting annoyed with it,” said Mueth, founder of the Neo-Political Cowgirls, a local dance theater company that explores the female voice. Mueth, who lives in Springs, started looking for a way to help people see the cold months differently.

Determined to help the local community find the “magic” in winter, Mueth came up with the idea for ZIMA!, based on the Polish word, zima, for “winter.” ZIMA! is a fantasy scavenger hunt in which participants, guided by mythical creatures played by the troupe, solve riddles that lead them through an over-arching story to arrive at an answer.

The creatures will again gather in Sag Harbor this weekend for ZIMA’s third appearance at HarborFrost. On Saturday at noon and again at 12:30 p.m., groups can gather at the Civil War Monument, at the point of Main Street near the Corcoran building, where Madison and Main streets split. Groups will receive the overall riddle and a map, then listen to a storyteller who will set the tale for their forthcoming adventure.

Following the introduction, the guests will venture out in search of six vignettes, short scenes performed by characters that give hints to the riddle. The theme for the treasure hunt changes with each performance. This year, gods and goddesses will fill the stores and sidewalks of Sag Harbor, sharing their mythical stories in elaborate costume and full character. Athena could be hidden in a shop window or Zeus could be entertaining in an alleyway; the actors will be split about half and half between indoor and outdoor locations.

By the time the guests have gone through all six vignettes, not only have they seen performances and met a variety of characters, they also will, with some luck, have an answer to the overall riddle. The route leads guests from the tip of Main Street toward the harbor.

Zima character (photo by Tom Kochie).

Zima character (photo by Tom Kochie).

Neither too challenging nor too easy, according to Mueth, ZIMA is fun for all ages and families are encouraged to attend. Patrons usually work through the riddle in groups.

After the first ZIMA, Mueth was delighted to see how the hunt brought people together who didn’t otherwise know each other in a common quest for a solution to the riddle.

“That just thrilled me,” she said, “because I really believe in theater as a way to bring people together—the humanity.”

“And I thought,” she added, “this is a really pure way of that happening without it being $150 seat or $350 seat on Broadway. It’s people interacting—and hopefully getting a magical experience.”

That dedication to magical experiences is helping the Neo-Political Cowgirls grow from a small, local troupe to a recognized theater company. The company is entering its sixth year producing and creating new work and is looking to expand.

In “Eve,” another of the troupe’s productions, the performers move through 13 different rooms and involve the audience in the performance.

Just as she doesn’t like to hear complaints about winter, Mueth isn’t a big fan of the fourth wall—she prefers to challenge traditional notions of theater and the roles of performers versus audience members.

Having performed primarily on the East End for the past six years, the Neo-Political Cowgirls are in the process of taking “Eve” to New York City.

“We have to expand,” said Meuth. “I’m so committed to this community and where we live, but at the same time, financially we have to keep moving, we have to keep expanding because it’s costly.”

Manhattan is the first step, but Mueth has her sights on bringing the show to Berlin, Boston and around the world.

“Our audiences aren’t necessarily just in the Hamptons,” she said. “We’re grateful to our audiences in the Hamptons and we’re so happy we’ve reached a really wide group of people, a lot of different ages, and we will continue to do that. We’re not fleeing the Hamptons.”

In March, the troupe will host “a backward audition” for “Eve” in the city, for which it will invite influential theater players and producers and anyone else who may want to support the show.

Although Mueth has her core set of actors (many of whom will be in Sag Harbor Saturday) she is always looking for more talent.

“I often go to the same people,” she said, “but I’m also casting a wide net as well, because you never know what you need or what you’re looking for … I’m always looking for really good actors, really good movers.”

As part of Harbor Frost, ZIMA! will start at the Civil War Monument at the intersection of Main Street and Madison streets at noon and again at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, February 8. The walk lasts approximately 35 minutes. A donation of $5 is suggested.