Guild Hall: ‘The Summit’ / Experimental Theater, August 31 – September 9


Experimental Performance The Summit
Debuts at East Hampton’s Guild Hall
Labor Day Weekend

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Interdisciplinary trio Isla Hansen, Tucker Marder, and Christian Scheider return to the Hamptons art and theater scene with the new experimental performance The Summit, commissioned by Guild Hall. Nine shows will run August 31 to September 9.
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The Summit is inspired by the narrative structure and Space-Age aesthetic of the 1968 film The Party starring Peter Sellers, and also includes thematic hints from the Netflix series Black Mirror. Set in the not-too-distant future on a festive night in 2081, a few privileged techno-elites get early access to the latest innovation: the chance to upload their consciousness and achieve virtual immortality. Over the course of the evening, the party-goers—transgenic hybrids, cyborgs, and autonomous networked pets—toast their achievement, but not before a malfunctioning Empathy A.I. named EENN (played by Chris Daftsios) gets mistakenly assigned to assist with the proceedings. Unequipped to deal with the social norms of the last night on earth, it accidentally instigates a sequence of hedonistic happenings; a violently joyous ‘last hurrah’ of physical embodiment.
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The Summit is a slapstick satire of Trans humanism; an emerging philosophy, popular among tech executives, that promises technologically-assured immortality. “For us, it’s both terrifying and laughable that there are Silicon Valley pharaohs spending millions of dollars trying to figure out how to live forever. It’s the new flavor of the age old wish,” Scheider says. “Technological advancement has become a new form of luxury, elitism, and in turn, inequality,” Marder explains. “When the wealthy obtain immortality, who will be tasked with its upkeep? Most likely poor people.” 
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This isn’t the first time that the trio has tackled complex issues and developed multivalent performances. In 2013, Marder and Scheider co-adapted, produced, and directed Ray Bradbury’s short story The Murderer, and in 2015, Hansen joined the team to reinterpret Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Galápagos into a staged production. Sourcing from their creative networks in New York City, Los Angeles, and the Hamptons, The Summit represents a creative destination for collaboration, incorporating over 32 artists working together in performance, painting, dance, puppetry, live music, projection, practical effects, set, costume, and prop design. 
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The Summit expands Guild Hall’s proscenium stage with projections throughout the house, which reveal simultaneous live streams from the venue’s garden, balcony, and box seats. “We want the performance to have the spatial quality of a film, but at the same time, we want the audience to walk into a real space and see real performers in the flesh,” Hansen says. “We loved the formal irony. There are 28 individuals on stage getting ready to forego their bodies for the sake of progress, and yet before you are living performers exemplifying the beauty of embodiment at every turn,” Scheider explains. Hansen adds, “What we’re making is the antithesis of what we’re critiquing. Live performance is the opposite of uploading your consciousness to a computer.” 
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Isla Hansen is an artist working to reinterpret and complicate the relationship between the human body and technological progress. She is an Assistant Professor at UCLA Design Media Arts. Her solo and collaborative installations, systems, and performances have been exhibited at the Columbus Museum of Art, MoCA Cleveland, the Hammer Museum, Miller Gallery, and the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. Isla received her BA from Columbia University and her MFA from Carnegie Mellon University.
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Tucker Marder is an artist and filmmaker currently living in Los Angeles. Working in a wide range of mediums including puppetry, documentary, and landscape design, Tucker’s work uses humor and absurdity to promote an exuberant environmental ethic. He has exhibited at the National Aviary, Phipps Botanical Garden, the Museum for Insects, and the San Francisco Independent Film Festival. Tucker’s performance STAMPEDE!, comprised of over 200 live Crested Runner Ducks and large motorized abstract puppets, premiered as part of the 2015 Parrish Road Show. Tucker is a recipient of the Frank Ratchye Grant for Art at the Frontier and in 2016 was named a Redford Center Grant Honoree. He received his MFA from Carnegie Mellon University in 2016 and has been an artist-in-residence at Robert Wilson’s Watermill Center and SymbioticA at the University of Western Australia. Tucker is the founder of the Folly Tree Arboretum, a collection of rare and unusual trees intent on showcasing nature’s sense of humor. 
 
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Christian Scheider is an independent filmmaker, theatermaker, and actor living between Los Angeles and the east end of Long Island. Broadly, Scheider’s work imagines new forms of society. As a theatermaker, Scheider has co-adapted, produced and directed Ray Bradbury’s short story The Murderer and Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Galápagos into fully-staged productions. For film, Scheider directed the documentary Sunny about the Sunny Center, which aids recent exonorees after years of wrongful incarceration, and co-directed the documentary The Tree Prophet about self-identified climate prophet David Milarch, which won the Audience Award at the San Francisco Independent Film Festival. Acting in film, Scheider co-starred with Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche in the feature film Words And Pictures,directed by Fred Schepisi, which was released theatrically worldwide in 2014. Scheider’s theatrical credits include Ken in the two-man play Red by John Logan opposite Victor Slezak as Mark Rothko, and Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been… by Eric Bently with James Earl Jones.
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All Theater Programming is supported by generous gifts from Barbara Slifka, Marders, and the Daryl and Steven Roth Foundation, and funding from The Ellen and James S. Marcus Endowment for Musical Programming, The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, The Hess Philanthropic Fund, The Melville Straus Family Endowment, and Vital Projects Fund, with additional support from Brown Harris Stevens, Forever Bungalows, and public funds provided by Suffolk County.
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The Summit

August 31-September 9 
Tuesdays – Sundays at 8pm except September 9 at 2pm 
By Isla Hansen, Tucker Marder, and Christian Scheider
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Tickets from $20 ($18 for Members) – $75 ($70 for Members); Eligible for Student Rush Tickets
VIP Opening Night Ticket – $250 – Enjoy the world premiere of the new experimental performance The Summit and join the writers, directors, designers, cast, and crew for a backstage tour and conversation as well as wine, beer, and food at an Opening Night party on Saturday, September 1. A $250 ticket not only helps bring this visionary new work to our community, it includes a premium seat to the performance at 8pm, the after-party, and an illuminating backstage tour guided by the writers, directors, and designers of the show. Leave your weary body behind and travel deep into the Land of Algorithmic thought to find out how the mediated world of The Summit was made; get up close and personal with the life forms that inhabit it, and have your deepest questions concerning immortality answered.
Purchase tickets at the Box Office: 631-324-4050, at guildhall.org, or Theatermania.com at 1-866-811-4111 
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Guild Hall, East Hampton
www.guildhall.org

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AAQ Resource: Riverhead Toyota

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