The Archery Contest delivers a risqué, daring and hyper-stylized sex comedy that shoots straight into the heart of marriage in America. Behind this Technicolor Romantic Pastoral lies a glittering and scathing indictment of rules and regulations, rituals, and rites of spring. A foursome and a sexton breach the boundaries of matrimonial shackles and dive headlong into a hedonistic lifestyle with complex consequences.
Inspired by the struggle for sexual autonomy in a religiously constrained America, The Archery Contest explores the relationship between the Reverend Kendrick and his wife Mercy during an unidentified era of theological conflict. Focusing on the desire of Reverend Kendrick to reach beyond the acceptable boundaries of his marital shackles, and Mercy’s increasing acceptance of a pantheistic lifestyle, the work explores the puritanical knots that bind the American psyche.
Through live recording, music, choreography, and pictorial constructs this production achieves a vitally artistic yet mysterious staging. Through John Jahnke’s work as both playwright and director, he seeks to explore this certain mystery: a certain mystery whose elliptical form mirrors the past, present and future, an unattainable mystery whose truth remains clearly elusive. With The Hotel Savant he creates theatrical works whose experimental nature reflect this need to portray the mystery as historically repetitive, one relevant to both the present and the past. It is through these works whose obliquely topical themes – either historical or thematically relevant – that the company seeks to reach out to its contemporary audience.
Presented as an original five-actor theatre piece featuring Richard Toth, Hillary Spector, Carey Urban, Alexander Nifong and Jeff Worden, The Archery Contest in features an emphasis on text, tableau, video and sound. The production will be helmed by Playwright/Director John Jahnke and his artistic team; sound designer Kristin Worrall, set designer Peter Ksander, lighting designer Miranda K. Hardy and video designer Andrew Schneider.
The Hotel Savant is a theatre company based in New York City, explores the livid, the uncertain, the magical and sublime: the seminal ideologies of history and mythology and their impact on contemporary narrative. Committed to mounting or developing one original work per year, they utilize a variety of performance techniques that include pageantry, dance and tableau. In addition they are dedicated to reviving obscure and rarely performed texts that correlate to present day topics. Hotel Savant has created work in residence at The Watermill Center, The Armory on Park and 3LD Art and Technology Center. Artistic Director John Jahnke created the script for his new work, ‘Men Go Down’, in residence The MacDowell Colony. The company’s entire design team were Henry Hewes Design Award Nominees (2008): Notable Effects/The Cenci.
John Jahnke is a New York based playwright/director whose most recent production, The Cenci, debuted in New York City in February 2008 at The Ohio Theatre. Jahnke also staged the world premiere of Susan Sontag’s never performed play A Parsifal, which debuted at Performance Space 122 in March 2006. Other original theatrical works include the performance workshop of Funeral Games (The Public Theater) The Shady Maids of Haiti (Walkerspace) Mercurius (HERE) Lola Montez in Bavaria…, (HERE) Jahnke created The Beasts of Luxury, Syphilis, The Monster of Dusseldorf or Paint Me, Paint Me Peter Kurten. Jahnke was a member of Reza Abdoh’s Dar a Luz company, appearing in Quotations From a Ruined City and Simon Boccannegra. He has also directed a number of short films and videos,including His Red Snow White Apple Lips and Sex, Death and Rebirth in July, which havescreened at numerous festivals throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe. The Shady Maids of Haiti was published in 2004. He is a former opera and ballet student who received a B.F.A from the California Institute of the Arts’ Fine Arts program. His company has received funding from New York State Council on the Arts, The Jerome Foundation, The Laura Pels Foundation, The Foundation for Contemporary Art, among others, and he has developed work at The Watermill Center, The MacDowell Colony, and through Chashama’s AREA Space Grant program.
Kristin Worrall is a sound designer (film, TV, theater, installations) and musician. Other collaborations with John Jahnke and the Hotel Savant include A Parsifal (PS 122) and The Cenci (Ohio Theatre, Henry Hewes Design Award Nominee), as well as its’ workshop production at The Watermill Center (Spring 2007). She is sound designer for Nature Theater of Oklahoma (Pavol Liska and Kelly Copper), and their collaborations include No Dice (Soho Rep, UTR 2007, PICA, Philadelphia Live Arts, Obie Award 2008, presently touring Europe), (UTR 2008), Fragment (Classic Stage Company), Three Sisters (CSC), Kasimir and Karoline (CSC), and Irresistible Targets. Her work has been seen and heard at NY Fringe Festival (2005-2007), PS 122, NY Theater Workshop, Collective Unconscious, La Mama, Tonic, Knitting Factory, Here, The Conan O’Brien Show, and many others. She received her M.A. from the New School in Media Studio.