PARADISE NOW: The Living Theatre in Amerika DVD
In 1968 The Living Theatre, an anarcho-communalist troupe led by Julian Beck and Judith Malina, returned to America from years of self-imposed exile in Europe with what would become their best-known production: “Paradise Now,” a play that sought to completely dissolve the boundaries of human interactions through a practice of live collective creation, forging a revolutionary harmony between actors and audience. “The purpose of the play is to lead to a state of being in which non-violent revolutionary action is possible," wrote Julian, and he meant it. What happened each night onstage—and offstage, and then out into the streets—was a series of purposefully provocative and interventionist actions, from marijuana smoking and full-body group nudity to screamed declamations, intense arguments and (yes) orgies, often involving audience members. This dvd and accompanying booklet featuring rare films and documents from this period in the Living Theatre's history.
“PARADISE NOW” (b/w, 49 min, 1969)
A film by Marty Topp, produced by Ira Cohen
Filmmaker Marty Topp followed the Living Theater as they outraged and inspired their way across America; his intense film collages and distills their performances into a poetic documentary that mirrors the radicality and sheer full-onness of the Living Theatre's rites of outrage, liberation and communion. With music by Jilala, MC5 and others.
“EMERGENCY: THE LIVING THEATRE” (color, 34 min, 1968)
This little-seen documentary film by filmmaker Gwen Brown combines footage of Living Theatre productions Mysteries, Paradise Now, and Frankenstein with interviews with Living Theatre members and behind-the-scenes production footage. See the LT interact with the press, build scenes and stages, and practice being free.
36-PAGE FULL-COLOR MAGAZINE BOOKLET including texts by Antonin Artaud, Allan Graubard, Julian Beck, Judith Malina, Ira Cohen, Don Snyder, photographs, stills from the films, ephemera and much more
TWO DOUBLE-SIDED 14x19 POSTERS: THE MAP OF PARADISE (as drawn by Julian Beck) and AN INFRARED ODYSSEY (photographs by Don Snyder from "Paradise Now" at Brooklyn Academy of Music, 1968)
VIDEO INTERVIEWS with directors Julian Beck, Judith Malina, Hanon Reznikov, company member Steve Ben Israel, and producer Ira Cohen
"LOVE & POLITICS": an introduction to the themes and personalities at the heart of the work of The Living Theatre, including scenes from The Living Theatre's repertory and poems and texts by Malina, Reznikov and Julian Beck. With an introduction by Ira Cohen.
FULL THEATRICAL SCRIPT SLIDESHOW of Paradise Now, as written down by Julian Beck and Judith Malina, documenting more than 100 performances of “Paradise Now”
MYSTIC FIRE GALLERY: excerpts from Living Theatre documentaries including Sheldon Rochlin's "Signal Through the Flame"
"THE SPINNING WHEEL" by Steve Ben Israel: a soundtrack to EMERGENCY sourced from agit-prop radio broadcasts
"THE PERMANENT REVOLUTION: CHANGE!" (color, 19 min, 2007) a film by Will Swofford and Georg Gatsas. In August 2007, The Living Theatre restaged “Paradise Now” in New York's Union Square to mark the 80th anniversary of the execution of anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti wrongly convicted for murder. This film documents the event.
CRITICAL PRAISE FOR THIS DVD
"A riveting return to a revolutionary moment in art and life. Powerful and inspiring. A real gift to us all." —Gene Youngblood, author of Expanded Cinema, Co-editor, Los Angeles Free Press, 1967-70
CRITICAL PRAISE FOR THE FILM “PARADISE NOW”
“Like an astonishing portion of the country's popular music, the spectacles of The Living Theater proved to be in content and form outside the social system--not structured by it nor, except as outlet, implementing it: liberated territory.”
—Stefan Brecht, The Drama Review number 43: Spring 1969
“Joyous, brutal, exploding with the kinetic energies of psychic catharsis…Marty Topp's PARADISE NOW has captured the essence of this extraordinary theatrical experiment. It is unquestionably one of the finest artistic documentaries to come out of the United States cinema. Its heartfelt sincerity should be sheer inspiration to the many young people throughout the country who are struggling to make meaningful and influential work. It is the reverberation of a crucially important message that must not be neglected, for the consequences are too terrible to endure. Marty Topp's achievement is not just in the making of a great film, but in making us remember again, Paradise as a reality.”
—Don Snyder, July 1970, East Village Other
PRAISE FOR “EMERGENCY!”
“The fusion of Brown's freewheeling direct cinema and the Living Theatre's performance for revolutionary change (amidst the heydays of both) unite as a dynamic concoction of the era, yielding for the viewer a shifting terrain of both critical insight and ecstatic zeal, not as a vacant nostalgia for a pre-commodified radicality, but as tactical inspiration for future days.” —Andrew Wilson of Artist's Access Television