Screening of The Brig (1964) by Jonas Mekas and Newsreel: Jonas in the Brig (1964) by Storm De Hirsch in 16mm

April 21, 2017 from 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Ottaway Cinema, Bard College

In 1963 the Living Theatre, led by Judith Malina and Julian Beck, staged the controversial play The Brig, which depicted a brutal day in the life of prisoners in a US Marine Corps brig. Midway through the run of The Brig, the Internal Revenue Agency, citing tax evasion, seized and shut down the theatre, ending the production. One night following the closure of their theatre, the Living Theatre and a small audience, including filmmakers Jonas Mekas and Storm De Hirsch, broke into the theatre to perform The Brig one last time. Mekas, who had never seen The Brig performed, filmed the illegal performance with a news reporting camera, which enabled him to weave amongst the actors on stage and respond the action of the play in real time. Mekas’ film The Brig (1964) edits out the context of the theatre entirely in order to present a documentary style film of a day in a marine corps brig.

While Mekas was filming, De Hirsch decided to silently film Mekas watching and  documenting the performance. In her short film, Newsreel: Jonas in the Brig (1964), the viewer is presented with the context denied in Mekas’ film: the theatre. De Hirsch’s film captures an act of filmmaking, as well as the paranoid circumstances of breaking into a theatre in the middle of the night. 

Admission to this event is free.

This event is part of the exhibition Whispers in the Grass: The Living Theatre and The Brig, curated by Anna Gallagher-Ross, and presented in partnership with Bard College Experimental Humanities. This exhibition is curated as part of the requirements for the master of arts degree at The Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College.


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