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CVK: Extended Play by Jesse Hawley and James Stanley

Event Info
Sunday, August 6 2023
7:30pm, doors at 7:00pm
Ticket Info
$14 advance
$16 day of
$2 off for SPACE members

Harvard University Artistic Producer and performer James Stanley and theater artist Jesse Hawley bring their celebrated transmedia performance work and faux-music history project to SPACE and on to the Wilbury Theater with a NEFA touring grant.

In it, “legendary” pop-synth duo CVK (Clever and Vainglorious Kings) re-interpret the myths of Artemis and Apollo in a restaging of their 1986 theatrical concert tour “Extended Play.” With an opener TBA.

Hawley and Stanley’s project CVK: Extended Play, inserts a fake band into the real history of ’80s new wave and consists of a full album of music, a faux historical essay and the band’s reunion tour.

In 1986, the legendary, but short-lived new wave duo CVK (Clever and Vainglorious Kings) played their final show at the Orpheum Theater in Boston, Massachusetts. The band had produced only one four-song EP and two full-length records, and then disbanded as suddenly as they had come onto the scene. Though bypassed by critics in the ’80s, CVK achieved a cult status among audiences for their live shows, in which their musical performances were interwoven with political commentary, tales from their own personal narratives and (most quizzically) theatrical reenactments of Greek myths. By the release of their second and final album in 1985, the two had, in fact, assumed the characters of the Greek gods Artemis and Apollo, characters they would maintain both on and off the stage until their disbandment and subsequent disappearance the following year.

Starting at PVD (Providence) Fringe into the summer of 2023, CVK restage their 1986 concert tour, making good on their promise to “resume their roles as light-bringers in times darkness.” 

A black and white photograph of CVK performing on a stage with big hair and eyeliner. Photo by Erin X. Smithers.

With lighting and projections by Andy Russ and movement by Ali Kenner-Brodsky. CVK: Extended Play was developed with support from SPACE on Ryder Farm, Harvard’s ArtLab, and the Wilbury Theater Group in Providence, RI.

Jesse Hawley and James Stanley did their first show together in 1997 in New York City and have been working together in theater, music and visual art ever since. From 2000 to 2017 they made immersive spectacles and material artifacts with the OBIE-winning collective National Theater of the United States of America (NTUSA)—including 8 shows, a book of poetry, a vinyl record and an illustrated acting manual. Their works toured nationally and internationally, and were recognized with multiple awards, grants and residencies including an OBIE, a Spalding Gray Award, two Henry Hewes Design Award Nominations and residencies at MacDowell, chashama, LMCC and SPACE at Ryder Farm. Meanwhile they performed (or otherwise collaborated) extensively with artists like Young Jean Lee, Richard Foreman, Mallory Catlett, Thomas Bradshaw, Phil Soltanoff, Normandy Sherwood, and Richard Maxwell. Since relocating to New England, they’ve continued their work together, mostly at the Wilbury Theater (House Warming, 2017; Olneyville Expo, 2019). Hawley teaches and directs in the Drama Department at the Tabor Academy and Stanley is Artistic Producer of Theater, Dance and Media at Harvard, where he teaches making theater from archival sources. 

Black and white concert photograph above by Erin X. Smithers.

The CVK album cover of two figures dancing on a pink and red background.

Funded in part by the New England States Touring program of the New England Foundation for the Arts, made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts Regional Touring Program and the six New England state arts agencies.

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🕯️ This weekend only! The dance show of the summer is Scapegoat Garden’s Liturgy|Order|Bridge. The Hartford-based company calls upon Black church traditions and ideas of faith, nature, fashion, and experimentation in their limited performance run June 20-22. Tickets available now, presented by SPACE at Mechanics’ Hall. 🕯️