The video clips below are taken from the film Reza Abdoh: Theater Visionary, a documentary film by Adam Soch, co-produced by Sandy Cleary. The editorial staff at Theatre Journal is grateful to Adam for providing these clips.
The author wishes to correct the record and underscore here the crucial role Alan Mandell played in recognizing, supporting, and cultivating the extraordinary talent of Reza Abdoh. Abdoh was in his early 20s when he approached Mandell and asked if he could assist him on a Beckett production Mandell was directing at Los Angeles Theatre Center, and this began a long mentorship culminating in the production of The Hip-Hop Waltz of Eurydice where, for the first time, Mandell appeared as a performer in Abdoh's work, to popular and critical acclaim.
Annie Hamburger, Morgan Jenness, Tom Fitzpatrick and others discuss Reza Abdoh's Father was a Peculiar Man, an adaptation of Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov staged in New York City's meat packing district in the summer of 1990. Produced by En Garde Arts, Father showed how well the site-based approach to staging and spectacle Abdoh had developed in Los Angeles could be applied to NYC's urban infrastructure.
The closing tableaux of Abdoh's 1990 The Hip-Hop Waltz of Eurydice, in which Alan Mandell's the Captain appears without his fat suit to deliver a final confession of Dionysian exhaustion. Tom (Eurydice) and Juliana (Orpheus) appear stage right in half-light, the action looping back to the dripping faucet that began the play.
Tom (Eurydice) and Juliana (Orpheus) are traumatized in Reza Abdoh's 1990 The Hip-Hop Waltz of Eurydice as Alan (the Captain) invades their home in full splendor. "From the egg laid by night came Eros," he intones, "we will cure you of your perversions!" A demonic angel, the Captain personifies the greed-based Dionysian capitalism on the rise in the neoliberal 1980s.
Staged at New York's Ambassador Hotel in 1992, Reza Abdoh's Law of Remains deployed Jeffrey Dahmer and Andy Warhol to decry the U.S. government's indifference to the AIDS crisis. Featuring Tom Pearl, Juliana Francis, Anita Durst, Tony Torn and other Dar a Luz regulars, the production pioneered the mobile audience format of immersive theatre.