Rumstick Road screening introduced by Shannon Ebner

June 20, 2014
  • The Wooster Group’s
    By Elizabeth LeCompte & Ken Kobland
    Introduced by Shannon Ebner
    2013, 75 min, digital. With Spalding Gray, Libby Howes, Ron Vawter, and Jim Clayburgh.

    The 1977 production of Rumstick Road has been recognized by critics and scholars as a landmark work that helped usher in a new era of experimental performance. Composed by Spalding Gray and Elizabeth LeCompte in response to the suicide of Gray’s mother, Rumstick Road combines Gray’s personal recorded conversations, family letters, the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, 35mm slides, music, and dance.

    LeCompte and Kobland’s reconstruction keeps faith with the original theater piece by registering, in a new composite, the texture of time and memory that shaped the original production. LeCompte and Kobland have worked with Wooster Group archivist Clay Hapaz to layer, juxtapose, and blend together numerous archival fragments  including U-Matic video, Super-8 film, reel-to-reel audio tapes, photographs, and slides  in order to reconstruct that lost performance. The result not only documents but embodies the unceasing innovation and vital creative freedom of The Wooster Group at their best.

    Ghosts are captured on camera in “Rumstick Road,” the genuinely haunting “video reconstruction” of a performance from the mid-1970s by the Wooster Group….There is a heartbreaking beauty in this elusiveness, and somehow the distancing effect created by recorded performance only enhances that feeling. It adds another layer to our perception that we are always, inevitably looking through a glass, darkly.

                                                                                                                                  —Ben Brantley, The New York Times


    Rumstick Road at 356 Mission will be introduced by the artist Shannon Ebner. This event marks the West Coast premiere of the film. Previous screenings of Rumstick Road include The Wooster Group’s The Performing Garage, Edinburgh International Film Festival, New York Film Festival and Anthology Film Archives.

    Tags: Elizabeth LeCompte, Ken Kobland, Shannon Ebner, The Wooster Group