American ensemble The Goat Exchange will makes its UK debut with the world premiere of Jason at London’s Crescent Theatre from 24-29 January 2023 as part of the VAULT Festival 2023. Director Mitchell Polonsky’s production is a verbatim, recorded delivery staging of Shirley Clarke’s cult classic Portrait of Jason, a seminal documentary on the Black and Queer experience in 1960s New York and one of the most influential films in cinema.
Starring Warner Brothers scholarship awardee Marcus Aamglo in a tour-de-force performance as self-proclaimed hustler and aspiring cabaret artist Jason Holliday and an international ensemble including award-winning Chloe Claudel and Ju Zahkarii, Jason will reexamine the shocking reality of one drunken, winter’s night in 1967 including an astonishing, never-before-seen confrontation that was recently rediscovered in a restoration by Milestone films.
Filmed in a single night at an NYC apartment, Clarke’s seminal 1967 documentary Portrait of Jason is a shifting depiction of an enigmatic subject, Jason Holliday – in his own words a “hustler” and a “houseboy”, a “stone whore” and a “male bitch”, a “vicious cunt” and a “sweet, sensitive child”.
Clarke and her boyfriend, the actor Carl Lee, feature as Jason’s unseen and seemingly objective interlocutors, but as the night progresses, their personal entanglements with Jason become bitterly apparent.
Clarke’s documentary was a landmark moment in queer cinema and masterpiece of cinéma vérité, which Ingmar Bergman described as “the most extraordinary film I’ve seen in my life”.
Jason is a theatrical interpretation of Portrait of Jason exploring the enduring intrigue of the film: its radical subject, its unreliable creators, and the critical events that led up to, and got left out of, Clarke’s “portrait”.
In this recorded delivery staging created by Amaglo, Claudel and Polonsky, Aamglo uses an ear-piece and monitor system to channel every word, breath and gesture of Jason Holliday’s iconic performance in real time.
Joining Polonsky in the creative team are Abigail Sage (CSM), Finn Bamber (lighting) and Vari Pritchard (costumes).
The Goat Exchange is an internationally acclaimed American ensemble founded in 2016 making its UK debut in collaboration with recent RADA grad Marcus Amaglo. The company produces site-specific theatre and reappropriations of classic dramatic texts and historical transcripts. The work is interdisciplinary and collaborative, often pulling from obscure corners of history and incorporating wide-ranging influences from opera, dance, literature, film and public art. The Goat Exchange has developed over 18 productions in traditional theatres from Off-West End to the Tony Award-winning ART, and in a wide range of site-specific and community venues, from museum galleries to football stadiums.
VAULT Festival is the UK’s leading independent showcase of live performance and artistic talent; featuring thousands of performances across theatre, comedy and live entertainment. Set in bespoke venues across the heart of Waterloo, the runs for eight weeks of creativity.
Jason runs at The Crescent, VAULT Festival, Leake St, Lambeth, London, SE1 7NN from 24-29 January 2023 (24-27 January, 9pm; 28 January, 8.30pm; 29 January, 2.45pm and 8.30pm). Running time: one hour. Tickets from £13. Age guidance: 15-plus. The play contains strong language, suicide, homophobia, racism and sex. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!