The Least Important Things, 2014, performance, 1 hour
Joan Brossa (1919-1998) was a Catalan poet, playwright, graphic designer and visual artist who made work about the limitations of language and its material nature. He treated language like props, embellishing it with gestures, and distilled texts to their very essence, at times boiling entire plays down to two or three sentences. By reducing verbal artifice to a minimum, Brossa framed fragments in the manner of an objet trouvé and erased any possible poetic effects. His works, which he called “staged poetry”, embraced incoherence, the everyday and popular forms of entertainment such as magic, cabaret and comedy routines. Brossa wrote under Franco’s regime at a time when both artistic innovation and the Catalan language were illegal. As a result, he remains little known outside of Spain and the majority of his texts await full-scale productions.
Mast worked with the Brossa Foundation in Barcelona and a Los Angeles based translator to sort through and select a diverse range of Brossa texts which were then translated into English so that they could serve as scripts for live performances. The Least Important Things assume the form of a procession of free-standing theatrical vignettes (none of which will take place in an actual theater) that unfolds in eighteen different venues throughout the LACMA campus. They are staged in intermediate spaces that reflect Mast’s and Brossa’s interest in the undefined.
With: Ela Aldrete, Davie Blue, Heyward Bracey, James Michael Cowan, Nicole Disson, Anthony Edwards, Jr., Loren Fenton, Emma Zakes Green, Terrence Luke Johnson, Kestrel Leah, Gilbert Molina, Richard Pluim & Daishawna Rogers
José Luis Blondet, Curator
Débora Antscherl, Translator
Deena Selenow, Assistant
Angi Ursetta, Costumes
Vincent Richards, Props
Ellie Rabinowitz, Lights
Zach Alterman, Sound
Corey Rogers, Stage Manager
Madeleine Lederer, Assistant Stage Manager
Martin Dicicco, Camera
Vanara Taing, Editing
Commissioned by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) in March 2014 and made possible by funding from the Harpo Foundation, a CCI Investing in Artists grant and the Fundació Joan Brossa in Barcelona.