Jen Shyu’s “Solo Rites: Seven Breaths” directed by Garin Nugroho

Wednesday, May 28, 2014. 8:00 pm

Jen Shyu’s “Solo Rites: Seven Breaths” directed by Garin Nugroho

Wednesday, May 28, 2014. 8:00 pm

Jen Shyu’s Solo Rites: Seven Breaths directed by Garin Nugroho

Jen Shyu: Composition, vocals, dance, Taiwanese moon lute, piano, gayageum, er hu, East Timorese lakadou
Garin Nugroho: Director
Danang Pamungkas:  Choreographer
Alyssa K. Howard: Stage Manger
Kristen Robinson: Set & Props Designer
Solomon Weisbard: Lighting Designer
Kristin Isola:  Costume Designer

Sonic, visual, and visceral rites and reflections upon pilgrimage throughout Taiwan, East Timor, Indonesia (Java, Bali, Bandung, Kalimantan), Vietnam, and South Korea. Using multiple tools of expression in multiple languages (new improvised languages as well as existing ones including Indonesian, Javanese, Taiwanese, indigenous Taiwanese languages, Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin, Tetum, Korean), this solo performance—that of a woman living simultaneously in multiple cultures and “projecting her ancestry” (Val-Inc) through contemporary monologue—will reveal a personal journey of loss and redemption made universal, giving voice to the silenced. These losses reflect crises now plaguing these lands: the loss of voices found in traditional music and shaman rituals; the loss of habitat and wildlife and thus the linked ancient cosmology; and finally, the loss of public space, such as the submission of traditional markets and forests to malls and coal mines.  These issues will be explored in performance through sound, movement, and fieldwork footage, creating a land-sound-scape which will serve to transport and transform both the performer and audience, leading to shared revelation and recovery from past sorrow.

Prolific, uncomprimising, and most renowned Indonesian film and stage director Garin Nugroho (Opera Jawa, Under the Tree, Daun di Atas Bantal) will direct Shyu’s solo ritual, breathing into the work his distinctive vision for celebrating the exhilarating and sacred bond between tradition and modernity.

This performance is made possible by the Jerome Foundation, Ministry of Education and Culture, Republic of Indonesia / The Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia, NATMA Foundation Medical Humanities & Arts- Chairman Dr. Y. Norman Chiou,Timor Plaza, North America Taiwanese Women’s Association II (NATWA II), Asia Society, Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia in New York, National Chamber Music Month, and Indonesia Diaspora Network.  Special thanks to Jim Staley and Asian Cultural Council.



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Born in Illinois, USA, from immigrant parents of Taiwan and East Timor, Jen Shyu is an experimental jazz vocalist, composer, multi-instrumentalist, dancer, scholar, and educator, having performed internationally as a solo artist, bandleader, and collaborator. Also a Stanford University graduate, MacDowell, Yaddo, and Montalvo Arts Center fellow, she has toured and recorded with saxophonist Steve Coleman & Five Elements since 2003 and has presented her own music at Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Blue Note NYC, Bimhuis (Netherlands), Salihara (Indonesia), National Theater of Korea and National Gugak Center in Korea to name a few. Shyu has sung with Anthony Braxton in his operas Trillium E and Trillium J (April 2014), Dave Burrell, Chris Potter, Mat Maneri, and Michael Formanek among many others. She has produced 5 albums as a leader: For Now, Jade Tongue, Inner Chapters, Raging Waters and Red Sands, and is the first female artist and vocalist as bandleader on the Pi Recordings label with the widely praised album Synastry with legendary bassist Mark Dresser.  Having done extensive music fieldwork and research, especially shedding light on lesser known traditional musics in Taiwan, China, and East Timor, Shyu recently spent 22 months on a Fulbright scholarship in Indonesia studying Sindhenan, traditional Javanese improvisational singing, as well as the simultaneous Sindhenan and dance form rarely performed because of its difficulty, Ledhekan.  She performed Ledhekan at Mangkunegaran Palace in Surakarta as well as her own music at numerous festivals throughout Indonesia both solo and in collaboration with Javanese artists such as Djaduk Ferianto, Eko Supriyanto, Mugiono, Slamet Gundono, Peni Candrarini, and Garin Nugroho.  She then received a six-month scholarship from the National Gugak Center to study Pansori and Gayageum Byeongchang in Seoul. Jen Shyu is in the inaugural class of 2014 Doris Duke Impact Award winners: The research for this solo work has been supported by Asian Cultural Council, Jerome Foundation, Fulbright Program, Bronx Council of the Arts, and the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, and Timor Plaza.


Garin Nugroho (b. June 6, 1961) graduated from the Faculty of Cinematography at Jakarta Arts Institute (IKJ) and from the Faculty of Law at University of Indonesia.  His father was an author and publisher who wrote novels in Javanese language.  Nugroho’s creative output in the arts is very broad, ranging from making films, commercials, music videos, theater works, installation art, books of cultural communication, to authoring numerous newspaper columns.  He is also the founder of JAFF (Jogja-Netpac Asian Film Festival) and the L.A. Indie Movie Festival, both continuing to expand over the past eight years.

Garin is considered a pioneer for the 90’s new generation. His films have garnered numerous awards at many international film festivals and have also been presented at films festivals such as Cannes, Venice, and Berlin.  Starting off his career in film criticism and documentary making, his works represent social issues, culture, politics, and mapping of Indonesia which consists of over 13,000 islands.  He has made films on location and in the local languages of Papua, Aceh, Sumba, Java, and Bali.  Garin has written three books related to cultural communication, and each month writes a special column in KOMPAS, the leading newspaper in Indonesia.

Danang Pamungkas, Choregrapher
Danang Pamungkas, born in Surakarta, Indonesia on 30 December, 1979, received formal training from a young age and graduated from the Indonesian Institute of the Arts (ISI), Surakarta.  He also learned traditional Javanese dance at Mangkunegaran Palace of Surakarta, where he is currently a principal dancer. Credits: “Spring In Solo” with Pappa Tarahumara Dance Company from Japan (Solo 2002); English National Opera in Monteverdi’s “Orfeo” and “The Coronation of Poppea” produced by Cheng Shi-Zheng at London Coliseum and Schubert Theatre Boston (2006-2007); Choreographed “Panyot Pun Padam” (First Prize Winner at The Next Wave Indonesian Choreographer in Jakarta and Surabaya Art Festival in 2004) and “Song of Body” performed in Salihara Theatre, Jakarta (2009); Member of Cloud Gate Dance Company led by Taiwanese artistic director Lin Hwai Min in Taiwan (2008 – 2011); Beat Project supported by Kelola Foundation and performed at Teater Arena Taman Budaya Jawa Tengah In Surakarta (aka TBS, 2011) and Salihara Theatre, and Indonesian Dance Festival 2012, Jakarta; Choreography credits: “Gandamayu” with Garasi Theater, Gedung Kesenian Jakarta (2012); Garin Nugroho’s “Opera Jawa: Selendang Merah“, Jakarta Theatre (2013); “A Part of Passion,” Teater Arena TBS (2013); and will perform at Salihara Festival 2014 in Jakarta; Occupy the Museum “Break the Harmony,” Welt Museum Impulstanz Festival 2013 in Vienna, Austria; “Fly on the Earth,” Welt Museum Vienna, Austria (2013); Residence program from Austrian Ministry of Education Vienna, Austria (2013); “Fly on the Earth” with Maya Dance Theater of Singapore at Sub Station Singapore 2013.

Alyssa K. Howard, Stage Manger
Growing up in upstate NY, Alyssa accidentally stage managed her first show when she was ten years old. Since then, she has been more purposefully stage managing, specializing in musical works. Off-Broadway: The Wong Kids… (Ma-Yi-Theater Company), The Stronger (Drama League DirectorFest). Selected regional credits: In a Year with 13 Moons, The Realistic Joneses (Yale Repertory Theatre);The Wong Kids… (Children’s Theatre Company); The Music Man (Connecticut Repertory Theatre);Fetch Clay, Make Man, and Take Flight (McCarter Theatre); Much Ado About NothingThe Merchant of Venice (Orlando Shakespeare Theater). Additional work includes: Soldier Songs (Beth Morrison Projects); The Last Days of Mankind (The Fisher Center at Bard College); Maren of Vardø, Mrs. Hughes (Yale Institute for Music Theatre); Trannequin!: A New MusicalThe Fatal Eggs (Yale Cabaret); and as a pianist, pipe organist, and music director. BA: Williams College. MFA: Yale School of Drama.

Kristen Robinson, Set & Props Designer
Born to a family of rural artists in Ohio she grew up building forts and painting pictures.  She received her liberal arts with a focus in painting and design for theatre from Centre College.  At Yale she participated in a fellowship program, collaborating with Parapanda Theatre Lab in Tanzania. Recent credits include, Chorus of All Souls, Abron’s Art Center/Experiments in Opera, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Atlantic Theatre’s Acting School, My Friend’s Story, a new opera, International Festival of Art’s and Ideas, The Princess Plays 1&2: a site-specific work, American Night the Ballad of Juan José: Yale Repertory Theatre. Kristen is a 2013 Princess Grace Theatre Fellowship, Pierre Cardin Award winner. MFA, Yale, Set Design

Solomon Weisbard, Lighting Designer
Selected credits: Rite of Spring (Martha Graham Dance Co.); Stones in his Pockets (Yale Rep); The Coronation of Poppea (Princeton); The Film Society (Keen / Theatre Row); I Came to Look for You on Tuesday (La Mama); Lion in Winter, A Class Act (Berkshire Theatre Festival); Pommerat’s Cinderella (Univ. of Rochester); White’s Lies (New World Stages); Christina Anderson’s Hollow Roots (Public Theatre – Under the Radar); Blind.ness, Quartet v4.0 (Waxfactory); Faust, The Barber of Seville (Tri-Cities Opera); What of the Night, St. Joan of the Stockyards (Barnard College); 9 to 5, A Chorus Line, All Shook Up (Merry-Go-Round Playhouse); Frank London’s A Night in the Old Marketplace (international tour); bauhaus the bauhaus, A Gathering, The Attendants (The Nerve Tank, as resident designer). Numerous original, evening-length dance works with rising and established New York choreographers. Education: BFA at Ithaca College, MFA at Yale School of Drama.

Kristin Isola, Costume Designer 
Design credits include:  Two Point Oh (59E59),  A Doctor in Spite of Himself  (Yale Repertory Theatre, Berkley Repertory Theatre)  As You Like It (Yale Summer Cabaret),   A Streetcar Named Desire;  Twelfth Night (Yale School of Drama), The Mad 7 (NYC Fringe Festival, McCarter Theatre’s INFestival), Funnyhouse of a Negro,
Radiostation (Yale Cabaret),  The Chimes; Missing Celia Rose (NYC Summer Play Festival),  Once Upon A Mattress; La Clemenza di Tito (Westminster Choir College), Much Ado About Nothing;  Sunday in the Park with George; In the Next Room, The Vibrator Play; A Streetcar Named Desire; Hedda Gabler; Uncommon Women and Others (Princeton University), Kiss Me, Kate!; Floyd Collins  (Syracuse University). Assistant Design credits include:  Love’s Labour’s Lost (Shakespeare in the Park), The Last Goodbye (The Old Globe), Tales from Red Vienna (Manhattan Theatre Club),  Sumeida’s Song (HERE Arts Center), Disgraced (LCT3), Don’t Go Gentle (MCC), The Talls (2Stage Uptown). She received her M.F.A. from Yale University and B.F.A. from Syracuse University.