CAC’s Performance Series Offers ‘Radical Variety’

The Contemporary Arts Center just announced the details of this year's Black Box Performance Series, which includes ten presentations that kick off at the end of September.

Jun 22, 2016 at 12:05 pm
So Percussion brings 'A Gun Show' to the Contemporary Arts Center.
So Percussion brings 'A Gun Show' to the Contemporary Arts Center.

It’s not an overstatement to characterize the Contemporary Arts Center’s just-announced, upcoming Black Box Performance Series as being like “nothing you’ve ever seen.”

Even if you have a ticket and go, you won’t be able to see the new season’s first program — a movie — unless you’re a preselected elementary school student. That’s because British filmmaker-artist Britt Hatzius’ Blind Cinema, which occurs Sept. 28-Oct. 1, will require adults to sit blindfolded in a theater while a movie plays with a soundtrack but no dialogue.Behind each row of adults at The Carnegie’s Otto M. Budig Theatre in Covington will be a row of students, who will softly describe the action to their vulnerable, dependent elders.

The 10 other presentations in the 2016-17 season — all of which have ticket prices — are an imaginative and invigorating mix, with shared emphasis on having both a diverse group of international artists and some Ohio-based projects. 

“This season is one of radical variety,” says Drew Klein, the CAC’s performance curator. “As our seasons go on, our series continues to develop. It’s important to broaden our offerings and introduce people to new work that is challenging.” (This will be the fifth full season.)

All the shows following Blind Cinema are at the CAC’s Black Box theater/performance space except So Percussion’s Jan. 20-21, 2017 event, which will occur at an as-yet-unspecified locale. Here is the schedule:

Nov. 3, 2016: Columbus-based artist Brian Harnetty’s Shawnee, Ohio is an audio/visual portrait of the Appalachian town of the same name. This is primarily a presentation of “storytelling via sound,” in Klein’s words, in which new songs performed by an ensemble will accompany recordings of town meetings, interviews with residents and more. This project was co-commissioned by the CAC, the Wexner Center for the Arts at Ohio State University and Duke Performances at Duke University.

Nov. 15, 2016: Classical violinist Jennifer Koh’s Shared Madness, Part 1 will have her perform 16 of 30 short pieces written for her by contemporary composers. She will also be performing with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra on Nov. 18 and 19.

Nov. 17-18, 2016:  Radhouane El Meddeb is a French-Tunisian choreographer whose Je danse et vous en donne a bouffer translates as “I dance and I feed you.” As Meddeb dances, he cooks couscous for his audience.

Dec. 8, 2016: Dane Terry, a theatrical New York composer-performer-keyboardist who grew up in Columbus, offers his recent Bird in the House show. It concerns an adolescent coming out in Middle America. 

Jan. 20-21, 2017: So Percussion, with choreographer/performer Emily Johnson, will present the controversial A Gun Show, in which the New Music ensemble examines America’s gun culture by using mallets on drums and dissembled sniper rifles. 

Feb. 2-3, 2017: Sweat Baby Sweat is a multimedia dance/movement piece by Flemish choreographer Jan Martens, who examines the intimate life-long relationship of a man and woman (performers Steven Michel and Kimmy Ligtvoet). 

Feb. 22-24, 2017: This is the world premiere of Twice the First Time, a performance piece by Napoleon Maddox, a Cincinnati Hip Hop vocalist whose group Iswhat?! has developed a strong European following. The piece is about Maddox’s great-great aunts, who were conjoined twins.

March 9-10, 2017: Ligia Lewis’ Minor Matter is a performance piece in which three performers — including the Dominican Republic-born, German-based Lewis — dance while bathed in red light.

April 6-7, 2017: A U.S. premiere, Climax of the Next Scene is a video triptych by South Korean artist Jisun Kim that creates a parallel universe of online games.

April 20-21, 2017: Two men from Australia, Anthony Hamilton and Alisdair Macindoe, will hold a Meeting, in which they swirl and move within a circle of 64 tiny boxes that are percussion instruments.

The CAC is offering a discount of 15 percent for those who buy tickets to three or more performances at once. You can purchase tickets for all shows beginning today at

CONTACT STEVEN ROSEN: [email protected]