August Wilson Center
Lars Jan + Early Morning Opera
World Premiere – Part of the Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts
Country of Origin: United States
“We tell ourselves stories in order to live.” Here’s one: It is 1968, and you arrive at a house party. A band is playing, some people are making out. You drink, you mingle, you dance. The White Album is theater meeting performance art unlike anything Pittsburgh has ever seen. This innovative production brings Joan Didion’s seminal essay to life—performed in its entirety by Obie Award-winning actor Mia Barron—with a glassed-in ‘stage within a stage’ and surprises behind every onstage door. Become a voyeur as you sit in the August Wilson Center auditorium, and watch as social norms and theatrical conventions crumble to the ground.
The White Album episodically traverses the tectonically shifting landscape of the late 1960s in California. Our current era carries eerie shades of the late 60s: the Black Panthers in Black Lives Matter; the Vietnam student protestors and the #NeverAgain movement; Women’s Lib has given way to #MeToo. The struggles continue, amplified through social media feeds, broadcast openly and unfiltered. But there is hope. Our narrative can change, grow, and mature as we find fresh resonance in the stories we tell ourselves again and again.
The White Album is a project by Lars Jan / Early Morning Opera, co-commissioned by Center Theatre Group and BAM.
A note from the Festival Programming Team:
We’ve been fans of Lars Jan’s interdisciplinary work for almost 10 years. Walking the line between visual art and performance art, we always knew that Lars would be a natural theater maker. His newest piece, The White Album is a multimedia performance that uses Joan Didion’s seminal essay to apply a uniquely inventive approach to the intersection between observation, storytelling, audience participation, choreography and architecture.
All of us at the Cultural Trust are thrilled to be presenting this World Premier that travels to New York after Pittsburgh as part of BAM’s Next Wave Festival. The piece will then have its West Coast Premier at the prestigious Center Theater Group in LA.
We are also thrilled to be partnering with Janis Burley Wilson and her amazing staff at the African American Cultural Center to host community conversations before, during, and after this piece to explore the topical issues raised in the piece.