CVK (Clever and Vainglorious Kings) is a performance-based transmedia art project that will take shape over the next two years. The full body of this work will ultimately consist of recorded music, texts, live and recorded performances, material artifacts and other forms of digital and analog media that, together, tell the story of a short-lived 80s post-punk/New Wave band that disappeared for 35 years before being “summoned” back into existence by current geopolitical circumstances. The project will culminate in a live theatrical concert/tour that celebrates both the audacity and the folly of human striving, exploring episodes of recurrent human histories through the eyes of the immortal twin gods Artemis and Apollo.
This project is being created by multi-disciplinary artists Jesse Hawley and James Stanley, whose recent works include House Warming and The Olneyville Expo. Prior to their New England based work, Hawley and Stanley were longtime collaborators in the groundbreaking theater collective the National Theater of the United States of America (NTUSA), whose work was hailed as “breathtaking,” and “a triumph of stagecraft and style” (TONY). Their design work with the company was honored with an OBIE award and a Henry Hewes Design Award nomination. Hawley’s songs have been described as “gorgeous” (TONY), “beautifully gut, wrenching” (New York Theater Review) and “excellent, plaintive expressions of rural America… songs that wouldn’t be out of place on Harry Smith’s ‘Anthology of American Folk Music’” (New York Times).
Jesse Hawley is a theater artist, visual artist and songwriter. She co-founded the National Theater of the United States of America (NTUSA) in 2000, and co-created and performed in all of the company’s work in New York (PS122, The Kitchen, The Public Theater, The Chocolate Factory, others,) across the U.S. (The Walker Center, ICA Boston, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Mass MoCA, others) and in Dublin, Ireland. As a designer with the company she was honored with and OBIE award (Abacus Black, 2006) and nominated for a Henry Hewes Design Award (The Golden Veil, 2012.) Jesse has written original songs for 5 NTUSA productions, most recently The Golden Veil, which featured 7 original songs which were recorded and produced by the NTUSA in a limited vinyl edition. In addition to her work with the NTUSA Jesse has worked as a performer with directors such as Richard Foreman (Paradise Hotel, Benita Canova) Mallory Catlett (Avant-guard opera Red Fly/Blue Bottle), Ken Nintzel (Pageant, Lapse, Sonata di Camera Obscura), Juliana Francis-Kelly (Saint Latrice) and Shannon Sindelar (Gentleman’s Choice.) She created a 7 panel painted installation for Young Jean Lee’s Songs of the Dragons Flying to Heaven (HERE Arts in NYC, national and international tours.) Jesse is currently working on illustrations of over 50 actors for an NTUSA acting guide and treatise on acting (53rd State press, 2017).
James Stanley is a theater artist and performer whose work often mines the history of American popular entertainment. He is currently the Artistic Producer of Theater, Dance and Media at Harvard University.. From roughly 2000 to 2017 Stanley was a collaborator and co-artistic director of the National Theater of the United States of America (NTUS) and collaborated on all their work as a writer, director, designer, performer and producer. His work with the NTUSA was recognized with an OBIE Award for design, a Spalding Gray Award for theatrical innovation, the LMCC President’s Award and a Henry Hewes Design Award Nomination. Outside of the company he has performed in works by Young Jean Lee (The Appeal, Straight White Men), Hal Hartley (Soon, The Girl From Monday), Richard Maxwell (Burger King, A-1 Rolling Steakhouse), Thomas Bradshaw (Strom Thurmond is Not a Racist), Yehuda Duenyas (hors-la, Brains, One Million Forgotten Moments), Phil Soltanoff (To Whom It May Concern, Strange Attractors) and many others.