80 Washington Square East, NYU

The Magic Flute, Part One

An Opera in 6 Steps

December 1 – December 5, 2015


For its Winter 2015 season, 80WSE has partnered with the celebrated Berlin-based CHEAP Kollektiv on staging a radical reinterpretation of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's The Magic Flute. The production critically transforms Mozart’s celebrated 1791 musical drama through re-imagining and disordering the narrative of the original opera in to a series of six tableaux vivant, combining elaborately constructed installations with performed sequences and live music. It amplifies the subversive alternatives to humanism already quietly suggested in Mozart’s music and Schikaneder’s libretto, staging an intervention in an ongoing conversation concerning the nature of humanity. The production’s libretto and imagery refract contemporary politics through radical strands of Early Modern philosophy in order to learn more about the conditions that our current moment has inherited from the Enlightenment.

80WSE will be closed to the public for the month of November, allowing the 3500 square foot space to function as a residency site for the collaborating artists, students, singers, performers, and musicians to realize the piece collectively.

All aspects of The Magic Flute’s production process and performance will be utilized as raw material by filmmaker Michel Auder, who will present 'A Film in 2 Pieces' as an 80WSE Summer exhibition, on view from June 8 – August 13, 2016. Auder’s film places the original production back in to the space from which it came, by means of distortion and reconfiguration.

Founded in 2001, the CHEAP Kollektiv is a performance, music, film, art and action group based in Berlin, Germany. The collective’s core collaborators include actress Susanne Sachsse, film historian Marc Siegel, translator Daniel Hendrickson, and artist Vaginal Davis. The CHEAP Kollektiv has mounted numerous productions throughout the world, including collaborations with Bruce La Bruce, Rick Owens, Ronald Tavel, Mario Montez, Wilhelm Hein, Holly Woodlawn, Narcissister, Hans Scheirl, Jakob Lena Knebel, and Carmelita Tropicana among many others.

Written by Vaginal Davis
Directed by Susanne Sachsse
Original score by Xiu Xiu
Lighting by Jackie Shemesh
Film by Michel Auder
Dramaturgy by Roger Mathew Grant 

Production design by Jonathan Berger, Jesse Bransford, Damien Davis, Michael Forrey, Jessica Garcia, Ben Hatcher, Sawyer Mitchell, Hugh O'Rourke, and Various Projects Inc., in collaboration with NYU Steinhardt BFA students Ian Alcock, Johanna Asgeirsdottir, Victoria Browne, Helen Chu, Callie Cramer, Eleanor Gollin, Yuki Hamada, Sonja Haroldson, Juliette Hayt, Melissa Karine Jacobs, Giani Jones, Susannah Liguori, Haley Long, Daniel Mock, Marta Murray, Phoebe Randall, Aidan Romick, Paula Rondon, Harlie Rush, Anjelica Russell, Rebecca Salmon, Beverly Terry, Joshua Toor, Reba Kittredge Tyson, Jerry Wilson, Miranda Zhang.

Performed by Ian Alcock, Chris Blue, Alex Casso, Vaginal Davis, Kellian Delice, Roger Mathew Grant, Jennifer Miller, Dave Perrett, Susanne Sachsse, Zachary Schoenhut, Manuel 'Vicki Baum' Schubert, Aliza Shvarts.
Xiu Xiu’s original score performed live by NY Choral, the Horkheimer Arkestra, and Jamie Stewart.
Supporting cast: The New School for Public Engagement students John Arnold, Harry Charlesworth, Zachary Clause, Izzy Cohan, Sorcha Fatooh, Jacquelyn Gallo, Eitan Goldstein, Helayne Kushner, Luisa Moreira De Alcantara, Julia Moses, Patricio Schmiegelow, Brownwen Williams, and Jametria Wright. Facilitated by Ricardo Montez and Joshua Lubin-Levy.

The Magic Flute is made possible through the generous support of the 125th Steinhardt Anniversary Grant, the New York University Arts Council, NYU Center for the Study of Gender & Sexuality, Department of Performance Studies, NYU Steinhardt Office of Global Affairs, NYPAC - the New York Performance Artists Collective, The Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, Women & Performance: a journal of feminist theory, and in collaboration with Goethe-Institut and the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art. 

Photograph of a person wearing a bright blue outfit sitting in a cluttered workshop.
Close up image of multiple flat figurines. The profile of the figure in the center is facing the right, she has fair toned skin and long wavy dark hair.
A women with short dark hair, light skin, dark sunglasses and bright red lipstick is wearing a bright blue jumpsuit. She appears to be placing something on a blue sculpture that looks like a mummy.
A photograph of a man wearing a sliver and black long-sleeved jumpsuit. The jumpsuit covers his hands with gloves. His arms are extended horizontally.
A man in a grey robe is sitting on his knees on a wood floor within a glass chamber.
A nude man lying across the floor face down is in a glass display case. Outside the case, in the corner on the right, is man in a white jumpsuit on a pedestal. His head is resting beneath his chin.
A man with fair complexion, dark hair, glasses, and short beard is holding a paint brush. He is wearing a white apron with more brushes in the upper right pocket. He is using green paint to create leaves of a plant on the wall to his left.
The side profile of a person wearing white is lifting their left arm. They have long grey hair completely covering their face. A white brimmed hat covers their face and head.
In a dim lit room a partially nude woman sits with her legs spread open. In-between her legs is a watermelon cut in half. There is a glass barrier placed by her lower abdomen that sections off her legs from her upper body.
A man in a white suit with green spots on it lays face up on a white circle on the floor.
A maA fair toned man with slicked back hair is wearing a black and white patterned suit. He has a slight smile and appears to be opening the jacket. n in a white suit with green spots on it lays face up on a white circle on the floor.