The Great Longing Deity, a malicious Stage Curtain, has created a plague of nostalgia across the land. It is up to a five-petaled Lily to defeat the Curtain, bring an end to oppressive narratives, and wed the bride.
LILY was inspired by anti-gay marriage agendas, which use tradition and nostalgia as an argument for discrimination (“marriage has always been between a man and a woman”). It was also inspired by the ever-growing homogenization of our cities (“things aren’t the way they used to be”) and, perhaps most of all, the millions of flowers, suffocated in plastic, and thrown on the White House lawn, Buckingham Palace, and The Vatican in honor of Ronald Reagan, Pope John Paul II, and Princess Diana’s funerals.
I believe theater is community action and as a playwright I am a community organizer. LILY continues this approach to making theater. It is a five-act, five-hour play with a cast of 40. The first four acts have roughly ten performers each, the final act has all forty. Each act is directed by a different director. A sixth director creates the intermission performances (what I loosely refer to as kyogens), which also utilize the entire ensemble.
Written by Taylor Mac
Composed by Rachelle Garniez
Directed by Paul Zimet, Rachel Chavkin, Faye Driscoll, Aaron Rhyne, David Drake, and Kristin Marting
Dramaturgy by Nina Mankin
Costumes by Machine
Musical Direction and Arrangements by Matt Ray
Makeup by Derrick Little
Sets by Nick Vaughn,
Lights by Seth Reiser
Puppets by Emily Decola
Part One Choreography by Julie Atlas Muz
Premiere performed by Amelia Zirin-Brown (Lady Rizo), Barb Lanciers, Bianca Leigh, Daphne Gaines, Darlinda Just Darlinda, Ellen Madow, Frank Paiva, Glenn Marla, Heather Christian, Ikuko Ikari James Tigger Ferguso, Jonathan Bastinan, Kim Rosen, Kristine Lee, Machine, Matt Ray, Matthew Crosland, Mieke Duffly, Muriel Mugel, Nikki Zialcita, Oona Osato, Phillip Taratula, Rae C. Wright, Saeed Siamac, Salty Brine, Taylor Mac, The World Famous Bob, Tina Shepard, Vanessa Anspaugh
LILY is part Noh play (composed of five acts based on the Noh themes of Deity, Ghost-Warrior, Love, Living-Person, and Demon, for each act), part musical (Act I), part verse play (Act II), part instillation (Intermission Performances), part dance (Act III), part film (Act IV), and all of those things squished together (Act V). It lives in the theater and becomes a site-specific extravaganza. It is a multidisciplinary pastiche where a community of artists is brought together to enable community building of a scale rarely seen in the theater. It gives proof to the various communities (the audience and artists) of an active and present kinship: people capable of dispatching their compartmentalized norms.
LILY dismantles the established societal rules, traditions, myths, and tropes, which are used to keep us docile and imprisoned in the past. Then, while celebrating the pulled apart pieces, rearranges and glues them into the foundation of a new myth whose purpose is to inspire humanity in the here and now.
LILY was created as part of the HERE Arts Center’s (Kristin Marting, Artistic Director) resident artists program (HARP) and could not have manifested if it weren’t for their support, encouragement, and vision. It premiered in the fall of 2009 at the HERE Arts Center in New York and was a co-production between Taylor Mac and The HERE Arts Center. Subsequently it went on to have a rolling premiere, first at the Magic Theater in San Francisco (Loretta Greco, Artistic Director) and then The American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, MA (Diane Paulus, Artistic Director), and Southern Repertory in New Orleans, (Aimee Hayes, Artistic Director).
THE LILY’S REVENGE was developed at HERE Arts Center through the HERE Artist Residency Program (HARP); with the assistance of the Sundance Institute Theatre Program; and at New Dramatists as part of the Working Sessions Program and with support from the Creativity Fund. THE LILY’S REVENGE is a project of Creative Capital, and was made possible in part by The MAP Fund, a program of Creative Capital supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation; the Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance Art, supported by Jerome Foundation and the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency; Ars Nova; the New York State Council on the Arts Individual Artists Program; The JB Harter Charitable Trust; and The Visionary Trust.
You can purchase & download the music to LILY here