Bill T. Jones Arnie Zane Co.

Analogy/Ambros: The Emigrant

The Kennedy Center

“Jones and collaborators amaze with their scope and with the engaging quality of the multi media woven seamlessly into the work”-The News & Observer

Bill T. Jones with Associate Artistic Director, Janet Wong and his company created the Analogy Trilogy over the course of four years. It is an investigation of memory, storytelling and form.

One should view the Trilogy through relaxation and acuity, as a spectator of a Cubist painting might. The series of works show an object spatially, from various perspectives, as well as over time. Events are fractured, the fissures filled with fragments of their histories and futures. The choreography, musical composition, storytelling and design elements are folded into a work that resembles origami- reopened, and refolded again.

W.G. Sebald, author of the celebrated novel, The Emigrants, has been known to defy form. He was fearless in blurring the lines between the artistic and the intellectual. In certain circles he is called an inspired antiquarian, sniffing around library shelves, walking around ruins, thinking about thinking, and he was able to make a compelling body of literature out of it. Sebald is able to fold intensely autobiographical and biographical information into his narrative and with him as mentor and guide through the Trilogy, the company challenges audiences and themselves with this form.

Jones looks to his company to find their personal relationship to the text, complete with opinions, and folds that into the work, focusing on the development of the ensemble. By tasking the performers to act and sing, as well as dance, the ensemble grows through collaborative work. Each performer is an artist, and individual growth is collective growth.

Working with long-time collaborators Robert Wierzel (Lighting), Bjorn Amelan (Décor), Liz Prince (Costumes) and Janet Wong (Projection) to weave together story, character, multi-media and song. Composer and vocalist Nick Hallett has set passages of the story to music, and is joined by pianist Emily Manzo and all the members of the company in the live performance of an original song cycle that partners with their movement, both as soloists and in a ghostly choir. The memory of Schubert Lieder heard throughout the Analogy Trilogy resonates through guitars, echoing into a moody, experimental soundscape.

For Jones and his team, Ambros is the end of a path of exploration, a culmination that could in fact be a beginning…