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Princeton Atelier showcases work by New Paradise Laboratories, Riot Group

Friday and Saturday, Jan. 8-9, 2010, various times Frist Campus Center theater

The Princeton Atelier will present staged readings of new work by New Paradise Laboratories in collaboration with the Riot Group on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 8-9, in the Frist Campus Center theater.

The reading of "Freedom Club" will begin at 7 p.m. and the reading of "F@#k Computers" will begin at 9:30 p.m. New Paradise Laboratories is a Philadelphia-based experimental theater group. The Riot Group is an ensemble that has produced original theatrical works throughout the United States and Europe.

"Freedom Club" is a theatrical hallucination on national themes in which past and future collide. It moves from a schizophrenic dream-play involving Abraham Lincoln and actor John Wilkes Booth to Virginia in 2012, where a dwindling activist theater company tries to get more radical. The piece will be presented in rough draft form as a staged reading.

The second reading, "F@#k Computers," is an excerpt of a work in progress created with Princeton Atelier students combining original music, video and live performance that raises questions about whether this production is a strange terrorist action in a future war, a lecture-demonstration of android technology, a robot slave sale or a pitch for a new movie. "F@#k Computers" eventually will find form as a performance of New Paradise Laboratories and the Riot Group.

Founded in 1994 by Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison and now directed by distinguished poet Paul Muldoon, the Howard G.B. Clark '21 Professor in the Humanities and chair of the Lewis Center for the Arts, the Princeton Atelier brings professional artists to campus for intensive collaborative work with students and faculty. Atelier artists select a project they want to explore and experiment in the company of students before developing it for the professional arts community.

"This is an amazing program that not only provides a venue for artists to create new work but for students to come into contact with experimentalists," said Whit MacLaughlin, artistic director of New Paradise Laboratories. "We came in wanting to accomplish one project and we are walking out with two, one which we had paved the way for several years ago and the second, completely new, created with the Princeton students."

Adriano Shaplin, artistic director of the Riot Group, said, "It has been an enormously productive semester. The Riot Group and New Paradise Laboratories have been hallucinating the past, tangling with the legacy of the American Civil War and asking ourselves 'What is history?' while devising a companion piece in which we hallucinate the future with Princeton students. As researchers, thinkers and creators our students set the bar very high. Whit and I were energized by their fierce intelligence, and we challenged ourselves to create a play with and through them that would refract our work with our respective ensembles. Essentially we've been making a sequel to an unfinished play, and both pieces are now tumbling toward completion, feeding off each other and echoing each other in fascinating ways. The Atelier made this incredible collaboration possible, and we're thrilled to share the results with everyone."

The performance is supported by the Newhouse Foundation, Peter T. Joseph Foundation, the Erik C. Blachford '89 Fund and the Jordan Roth '97 Performance Fund.

The readings are free and do not require tickets. More information about the project, including a video, can be found on the Princeton Atelier website.

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