Analogy: A Trilogy

Analogy: A Trilogy

“Memory, often strikes me as a kind of dumbness. It makes one’s head heavy and giddy, as if one were not looking back down the receding perspectives of time but rather down on the earth from a great height, from one of those towers whose tops are lost to view in the clouds.” –W.G.Sebald

Bill T. Jones with Associate Artistic Director, Janet Wong, and his company are developing three new evening-length works titled, Analogy: A Trilogy. This trilogy brings into light the different types of war we fight and, in particular, the war within ourselves. Analogy: A Trilogy searches for the connection between three varying stories; focusing on memory and the effect of powerful events on the actions of individuals and, more importantly, on their often unexpressed inner life. Jones continues his exploration of how text, storytelling and movement pull and push against each other and how another experience can be had through the combination and recombination of these elements. 

Jones’ present preoccupation is with the development of his company into an ensemble that not only dances beautifully, but also sings and speaks. Members of the company will deliver texts from all narratives.

Jones first began his exploration of Analogy: A Trilogy through reading W.G. Sebald’s The Emigrants. Inspired by the novelistic creation, he wanted something to compare to the character Ambros Adelwarth from the individuals around Jones himself. He began an oral history with Dora Amelan. Originally intended as a gift to her sons to capture their mother’s memory, he became fascinated not only with Dora’s story, but with her character. As Jones began development on Analogy: A Trilogy, based on Dora’s stories, he felt that she needed a more percussive counterpoint. He began a conversation with his nephew, Lance, a young African-American man in the middle of his life with an uncertain future. All three stories, while wildly different ruminate on the nature of service, duty and the question of what is a life well lived.

Composer Nick Hallett is creating original music informed by the text as well as a soundscape that combines German Romantic Lieder, songs from both world wars, the 50s and 60s classic pop music and the club music from the 80s and 90s. Hallett, pianist Emily Manzo and the ensemble will perform the music live.

– Décor by Creative Director, Bjorn Amelan with Video Design by Janet Wong

– Lighting design by long-time collaborator Robert Wierzel 

– Costumes by Liz Prince.

Analogy/Dora: Tramontane

tra-mon-tane adjective trəˈmän-ËŒtān, ËŒtra-mÉ™n-ˈ 1. traveling to, situated on, or living on the other side of a mountain; latin transmontanus “beyond the mountains”

Analogy/Dora: Tramontane is based on an oral history Jones conducted with 94-year old Dora Amelan, a French Jewish nurse & social worker. Amelan’s harrowing, touching and inspirational story is broken into approximately 25 episodes that become the basis for choreography and songs. These episodes chronicle her early life in Belgium, her mother’s death as the Germans were marching into Belgium and her experiences working at an underground Jewish organization in Vichy France’s internment camps, Gurs & Rivesaltes. Here is a portrait of the ability to persevere and survive. 

Analogy/Lance: Pretty aka The Escape Artist

In Analogy/Lance: Pretty aka The Escape Artist, we meet Lance, whose battles with his own personal demons-drugs and excess- exposes us to another type of war. It was the battlefield of the nightlife and underworld of the late 80s and early 90s club culture and sex trade. This “pretty boy-gangster thug”, a name he acquired in prison, holds steadfast to his often tragic and sometimes outrageously humorous narrative, while facing an uncertain future. 

Analogy/Ambros: The Emigrant

Analogy/Ambros: The Emigrant is Jones’ reaction to Ambros Adelwarth from W.G.Sebald’s celebrated historical novel, The Emigrants. This narrative, through a fictionalized history, strives to suggest how an experience of trauma can go underground in the psyche of an individual and direct consciously and unconsciously the course of that individual’s life. The central figure, Ambros Adelwarth, is a German valet/manservant who serves as companion to a privileged, dissipated, young scion of a wealthy Jewish family. This restrained and evocative narrative tracks Ambros’ experience working at hotels, the glamorous travels with his charge, Cosmo, through Europe and the Middle East on the eve of WWI and then his life after Cosmo’s death.