theater group that includes Willem
Dafoe, the late Spalding Gray, and Elizabeth LeCompte (who leads the theater), among other founding members.
Valk’s style is called “pure, direct, and
disciplined” (Hilton Als, New Yorker,
The entire Wooster Group production, including all three cast members—
Eric Berryman, Jasper McGruder, and
Phillip Moore—and twelve crew members, will be here for the Buffalo production, which is being performed in
UB’s intimate Black Box theater. Given the theater’s size and the fact that
there are only four performances, it’s a
certainty that The B-Side will sell out.
Plans for accompanying talks and workshops with UB students are also in the
Elizabeth Licata is editor of Spree.
she’d directed Early Shaker Spiritu-
als [Frances McDormand and Suzzy
Roach both star in this December ’ 17
production], so he pitched her on this
Like The B-Side, Early Shaker Spir-
ituals is subtitled “A Record Album
Interpretation,” which, quite literally,
is exactly what happens in both pro-
ductions. The album is played and the
actors sing and speak along with it.
Both still images from Jackson’s 1965
recordings and from this production
show the prisoners relaxed, sometimes
smiling, seeming to find a momentary
release from the harsh realities of their
situation. Post critic Marks calls this
“history in melody, an a cappella song
cycle that reveals how men sentenced
to hard labor endured, forging bonds
The B-Side’s director, Kate Valk, is a
founding member of the Wooster Group,
the groundbreaking experimental
Jackson (right) in 1965 on Ellis Prison Farm with Joseph “Chinaman” Johnson and W. D.
Alexander, two of the singers who figure in the 1965 album