The B-Side OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Sara Krulwich
  • NY TIMES

  • Opening Night:
    October 25, 2017
    Closing:
    November 19, 2017

    Theater: The Performing Garage / 33 Wooster Street, New York, NY, 10013

    Synopsis: 

    THE B-SIDE is based on the 1965 LP “Negro Folklore from Texas State Prisons,” which features work songs, blues, spirituals, preaching, and toasts from inmates in Texas’ then-segregated agricultural prison farms. The album was brought to The Wooster Group by performer Eric Berryman after he saw the Group’s previous record album interpretation EARLY SHAKER SPIRITUALS. In THE B-SIDE, Berryman plays the album and transmits the material live, by channeling, via an in-ear receiver, the voices of the men on the record. Accompanying him are Jasper McGruder and Philip Moore. Berryman also provides context from the book Wake Up Dead Man: Hard Labor and Southern Blues by Bruce Jackson, the folklorist who recorded the album at the prison in 1964 and is now a SUNY Distinguished Professor at the University at Buffalo.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF The B-Side

    ‘The B-Side’ Is an Extraordinary Masterclass in Listening

    Ben Brantley

    October 31, 2017:

    Music seldom sounds more exciting than when you’re introduced to it through the ears of a passionate fan. Surely, you’ve had a friend who sat you down and asked you to lend full attention to what was about to be played for you — a Schubert sonata performed by Radu Lupu, perhaps, or Jimi Hendrix doing “All Along the Watchtower.”

    You may have even been told, with unconditional sincerity, “This song will change your life.” And if it didn’t quite do that, the focus of an aficionado’s enthusiasm and expertise made you hear layers and meanings that you would never have inferred had you come across the same work by chance on the radio or as background music at a party.

    That’s the experience, heightened to the point of transcendence, that’s on offer in the Wooster Group’s extraordinary “The B-Side: ‘Negro Folklore From Texas State Prisons,’” which runs through Nov. 19 at the Performing Garage in SoHo. Like this troupe’s marvelous “Early Shaker Spirituals,”staged in New York in 2014 and scheduled for revival in December, “The B-Side” is quaintly subtitled “A Record Album Interpretation.”

    READ THE REVIEW

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