Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company : What Problem?

FEB 11

@Center for the Performing Arts, Penn State

What Problem?


Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company’s latest work What Problem? provokes the tension between belonging to a community and feelings of isolation that many feel during these divisive political times. Adapted for proscenium stages from the massive work, Deep Blue Sea (2021), Jones conceived of this highly personal work in pursuit of the elusive “we” including a cast of local community members, a deconstructed text from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech and Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. Jones and the company develop individual content with local community members in each of the touring locations making each performance specific to its host city.

Jones reflects on King’s immortal words, we shall overcome, mixed with the scripture of our democracy as formed and shaped by WE THE PEOPLE. There has always been an uneasy recognition of the truth at the base of the great Du Bois statement concerning “the problem of the color line” for Du Bois represented the epitome of otherness; yet we now understand this is much more complex. In our fractious era, What Problem? elaborates on this line in terms of sexual politics, gender identity, class struggles and immigration.

Deep Blue Sea was Commissioned by Park Avenue Armory in collaboration with Holland Festival Commissioning support provided by The Mann Center for the Performing Arts with original support from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, Philadelphia. Additional commissioning support from Carolina Performing Arts, Partners in Creation, Ed Bradley Family Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature, NEFA/NDP and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. Produced and developed by Park Avenue Armory in collaboration with New York Live Arts.

About the Artist:
Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company