Cynthia Oliver Co.
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Virago-Man Dem

“Virago-Man Dem,” is an evening-length, dance-theatre work by Cynthia Oliver that navigates the complexities of black masculinities. Troubling the term “Virago”’s reference to characteristically male behaviors and female cultural transgressions, Virago-Man Dem is a nuanced study in masculinities, and their multiplicities within cultures of Caribbeanist and African American communities. The work utilizes movement, spoken word and visual design, to explore the expressions particular to Caribbean and African American black masculinities as they are performed and expressed by men, staged on male identified bodies, but designed and interpreted by a woman — Oliver. Built in modular form over the course of two and a half years and in residencies from Trinidad to Vermont, Virago-Man Dem contains traces of all those who have generously been a part of the multi-year process of bringing it to the stage. It is grounded in the lives of the folks performing the work - Duane Cyrus, Jonathan Gonzalez, Ni'Ja Whitson, and Niall Noel Jones, and extrapolates to broader cultural trajectories. Oliver’s design team includes longtime collaborator and composer Jason Finkelman, Black Kirby visual artists John Jennings and Stacey Robinson, projection/animator John Boesche, costume designer Susan Becker, and lighting designer Amanda Ringger. The work premiered in New York at Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) Next Wave Festival in October of 2017 and has since toured the country. This fall, it will be presented at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater in Pittsburgh, PA and the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts in Urbana, Illinois."

Virago-Man Dem Trailer

 Virago-Man Dem at Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival. October 2017  Pictured: Ni’Ja Whitson. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

Virago-Man Dem at Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival. October 2017

Pictured: Ni’Ja Whitson. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

 Virago-Man Dem at Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival. October 2017  Pictured: Jonathan Gonzalez, Duane Cyrus, Ni’Ja Whitson, Niall Noel Jones. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

Virago-Man Dem at Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival. October 2017

Pictured: Jonathan Gonzalez, Duane Cyrus, Ni’Ja Whitson, Niall Noel Jones. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

 Virago-Man Dem at Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival. October 2017  Pictured: Jonathan Gonzalez, Ni’Ja Whitson, Niall Noel Jones, Duane Cyrus. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

Virago-Man Dem at Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival. October 2017

Pictured: Jonathan Gonzalez, Ni’Ja Whitson, Niall Noel Jones, Duane Cyrus. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

 Virago-Man Dem at Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival. October 2017  Pictured: Niall Noel Jones, Jonathan Gonzalez, Duane Cyrus, Ni’Ja Whitson. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

Virago-Man Dem at Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival. October 2017

Pictured: Niall Noel Jones, Jonathan Gonzalez, Duane Cyrus, Ni’Ja Whitson. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

 Virago-Man Dem at Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival. October 2017  Pictured: Ni’Ja Whitson Duane Cyrus, Niall Noel Jones. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

Virago-Man Dem at Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival. October 2017

Pictured: Ni’Ja Whitson Duane Cyrus, Niall Noel Jones. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

 Virago-Man Dem at Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival. October 2017  Pictured: Duane Cyrus, Niall Noel Jones, Jonathan Gonzalez. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

Virago-Man Dem at Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival. October 2017

Pictured: Duane Cyrus, Niall Noel Jones, Jonathan Gonzalez. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

 Virago-Man Dem at Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival. October 2017  Pictured: Ni’Ja Whitson, Duane Cyrus, Jonathan Gonzalez. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

Virago-Man Dem at Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival. October 2017

Pictured: Ni’Ja Whitson, Duane Cyrus, Jonathan Gonzalez. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

 Virago-Man Dem at Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival. October 2017  Pictured: Duane Cyrus, Niall Noel Jones, Jonathan Gonzalez, Ni’Ja Whitson. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

Virago-Man Dem at Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival. October 2017

Pictured: Duane Cyrus, Niall Noel Jones, Jonathan Gonzalez, Ni’Ja Whitson. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

 Virago-Man Dem at Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival. October 2017  Pictured: Duane Cyrus, Niall Noel Jones, Jonathan Gonzalez, Ni’Ja Whitson. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

Virago-Man Dem at Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival. October 2017

Pictured: Duane Cyrus, Niall Noel Jones, Jonathan Gonzalez, Ni’Ja Whitson. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

 Virago-Man Dem at Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival. October 2017  Pictured: Jonathan Gonzalez. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

Virago-Man Dem at Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival. October 2017

Pictured: Jonathan Gonzalez. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

 Virago-Man Dem at Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival. October 2017  Pictured: Jonathan Gonzalez, Duane Cyrus, Ni’Ja Whitson, Niall Noel Jones. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

Virago-Man Dem at Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival. October 2017

Pictured: Jonathan Gonzalez, Duane Cyrus, Ni’Ja Whitson, Niall Noel Jones. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

 Virago-Man Dem at Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival. October 2017  Pictured: Ni’Ja Whitson, Jonathan Gonzalez, Duane Cyrus, Niall Noel Jones. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

Virago-Man Dem at Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival. October 2017

Pictured: Ni’Ja Whitson, Jonathan Gonzalez, Duane Cyrus, Niall Noel Jones. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

 Virago-Man Dem at Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival. October 2017  Pictured: Ni’Ja Whitson, Jonathan Gonzalez, Duane Cyrus, Niall Noel Jones. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

Virago-Man Dem at Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival. October 2017

Pictured: Ni’Ja Whitson, Jonathan Gonzalez, Duane Cyrus, Niall Noel Jones. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

 Virago-Man Dem at Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival. October 2017  Pictured: Niall Noel Jones. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

Virago-Man Dem at Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival. October 2017

Pictured: Niall Noel Jones. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

 Virago-Man Dem at Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival. October 2017  Pictured: Duane Cyrus. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

Virago-Man Dem at Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival. October 2017

Pictured: Duane Cyrus. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

 Virago-Man Dem at Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival. October 2017  Pictured: Ni’Ja Whitson, Jonathan Gonzalez, Duane Cyrus. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

Virago-Man Dem at Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival. October 2017

Pictured: Ni’Ja Whitson, Jonathan Gonzalez, Duane Cyrus. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

 Virago-Man Dem at Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival. October 2017  Pictured: Duane Cyrus, Ni’Ja Whitson, Jonathan Gonzalez. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

Virago-Man Dem at Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival. October 2017

Pictured: Duane Cyrus, Ni’Ja Whitson, Jonathan Gonzalez. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

 Virago-Man Dem at Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival. October 2017  Pictured: Niall Noel Jones, Jonathan Gonzalez, Ni’Ja Whitson, Duane Cyrus. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

Virago-Man Dem at Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival. October 2017

Pictured: Niall Noel Jones, Jonathan Gonzalez, Ni’Ja Whitson, Duane Cyrus. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

 Virago-Man Dem at Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival. October 2017  Pictured: Niall Noel Jones. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

Virago-Man Dem at Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival. October 2017

Pictured: Niall Noel Jones. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

  Virago-Man Dem  Residency at MANCC 2017. Pictured: Duane Cyrus and Niall Noel Jones. Photo by Chris Cameron

Virago-Man Dem Residency at MANCC 2017. Pictured: Duane Cyrus and Niall Noel Jones. Photo by Chris Cameron

  Virago-Man Dem  Residency at MANCC 2017. Pictured: Duane Cyrus and Jonathan Gonzalez. Photo by Chris Cameron

Virago-Man Dem Residency at MANCC 2017. Pictured: Duane Cyrus and Jonathan Gonzalez. Photo by Chris Cameron

  Virago-Man Dem  Residency at MANCC 2017. Pictured: Duane Cyrus, Jonathan Gonzalez and Niall Noel Jones. Photo by Chris Cameron

Virago-Man Dem Residency at MANCC 2017. Pictured: Duane Cyrus, Jonathan Gonzalez and Niall Noel Jones. Photo by Chris Cameron

  Virago-Man Dem  Residency at MANCC 2017. Pictured: Duane Cyrus, Niall Noel Jones, Jonathan Gonzalez. Photo by Chris Cameronn

Virago-Man Dem Residency at MANCC 2017. Pictured: Duane Cyrus, Niall Noel Jones, Jonathan Gonzalez. Photo by Chris Cameronn

 Mark Eastman performing early experiments in Virago-Man Dem process. "Draftwork" Trinidad 2015. Photo Credit: Sohpie Bufton

Mark Eastman performing early experiments in Virago-Man Dem process. "Draftwork" Trinidad 2015. Photo Credit: Sohpie Bufton

 Michael Mortley, Orlando Hunter, Robert Young and Ricarrdo Valentine in early showing of Virago-Man Dem process material. "Draftwork" Trinidad 2015. Photo Credit: Sophie Bufton

Michael Mortley, Orlando Hunter, Robert Young and Ricarrdo Valentine in early showing of Virago-Man Dem process material. "Draftwork" Trinidad 2015. Photo Credit: Sophie Bufton