Merce Cunningham Trust

Roaratorio 2010

DANCES Roaratorio
LENGTH 60 minutes
DESIGNERS Mark Lancaster
PRODUCER Les Films Penelope
MUSIC An Irish Circus on Finnegans Wake, John Cage
DANCERS Brandon Collwes, Julie Cunningham, Dylan Crossman, Emma Desjardins, Jennifer Goggans, John Hinrichs, Daniel Madoff, Rashaun Mitchell, Marcie Munnerlyn, Krista Nelson, Silas Riener, Jamie Scott, Robert Swinston, Andrea Weber, Melissa Toogood
"Roaratorio" was choreographed to a large-scale musical score composed by John Cage in 1979 titled "Roaratorio, an Irish Circus on Finnegans Wake". The score consists of three simultaneous elements and is a work of staggering complexity. Cage travelled through Ireland recording sounds in places mentioned in Joyce’s novel, which were later assembled on tapes to form a an hour-long piece. Using lines from Joyce’s book, he then wrote mesostics (a poem constructed so that a vertical phrase intersects lines of horizontal text) on “JAMESJOYCE,” which are read aloud during the performance, and scored parts based on Irish traditional music – jugs, reels, airs, and songs – that are played at various times at various intensities throughout the work. Cunningham, who identified with the “feeling of dance” he found in Joyce’s book, created choreography with motifs on jigs and reels, a “hopping” dance, promenades and strolls, and folk dances that suddenly expand into huge communal circles.