Bard Events Calendar

Experimental Humanities Program Presents

Friday, April 21, 2017
Screening of "The Brig" (1964) and "Newsreel:Jonas in the Brig" (1964) in 16mm
Avery Art Center, Center for Film, Electronic Arts and Music; Ottaway Theater
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
A screening of The Brig (1964) by Jonas Mekas and Newsreel: Jonas in the Brig (1964) by Storm De Hirsch in 16mm at Ottaway Theater, Bard College.
Screening of The Brig (1964) by Jonas Mekas and 
Newsreel: Jonas in the Brig (1964) by Storm De Hirsch in 16mm
Friday, April 21
7–9 PM
Ottaway Cinema, Bard College

On a ship bound for Europe, with New York City receding in the distance, Judith Malina of the Living Theatre wrote in her diary that she was relieved to be leaving the United States, where the paranoia felt among artists and activists was like “terrible whispers in the grass.” The date was April 3rd, 1969. As activists, theatre artists, and co-founders of the experimental theatre company, Malina and Julian Beck had spent the past decade being harassed by police and creditors. But soon, the Living Theatre became aware of an even more sinister spectator—the US government—when the IRS closed the Living Theatre in 1963 during the run of their controversial production, The Brig. 

One night following the closure of their theatre, the Living Theatre and a small audience, including filmmakers Jonas Mekas and Storm De Hirsch, broke intothe 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 theBrig (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 theparanoid circumstances of breaking into a theatre in the middle of the night. 
Admission to this event is free.

This event is presented in partnership with Bard College Experimental Humanities.

This event is part of the exhibition Whispers in the Grass: The Living Theatre and The Brig, curated by Anna Gallagher-Ross, M.A. Candidate CCS Bard, 2017. Whispers in the Grass is on view at the Hessel Museum of Art, April 9-May 28, 2017.

For more information, call 845-372-4503, e-mail,
or visit

Time: 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Location: Avery Art Center, Center for Film, Electronic Arts and Music; Ottaway Theater