THE ANGOLA PROJECT
Marvelously quixotic...The Angola Project, derives its structure and meaning from the disparate layers stacked up by Mr. Xido and then spread out to create a jostling collage, one that is intimate yet informed by sweeping issues surrounding class, race and identity." New York Times
Created by Claudia Heu, Igor Dobricic and Jeremy Xido, The Angola Project playfully straddles the worlds of performance and film-making as the audience watches a movie being constructed from fragments of film and narrative right before their eyes, only to crumble again into disarray. A trilogy of solo performances playing with and tearing apart the tradition of Travel Lectures that emerged in the 19th century, The Angola Project leads the audience on a very personal journey into Xido's real-life attempts to finance a film and confront the truths of mortality.
It is a dizzying expedition through the history of colonial Portugal, the Travelogues of Burton Holmes, the films of Bruce Lee and Jim Kelly, the Detroit race riots/rebellion, Berlin documentary film crews in Africa and the blood-thirsty mechanisms of international film finance. A funny and moving investigation into global events and the complex and often unexpected polycultural mash-up identities emerging in the 21st century. The Angola Project pushes the limits of story telling as desire and dream-making slams into the deadly realities of heartbreak.
PART 1, "Lisbon": follows Xido's captivation by the city of Lisbon's sunset-timed gas lamps and growing idea for a feature film. He finds himself collecting historical tidbits, horticultural facts, twisting random encounters into fanciful story lines as he conducts a slew of interviews with the people he meets there. The stories begin to derail and travel from Europe to Africa to a Mulberry Tree in Detroit.
PART 2, "Angola" : delves deeper into Xido's quest to construct a feature film script as he travels to Angola along the Benguela Railway - currently being rebuilt by Chinese construction companies. Xido - the sole onstage performer in this entire series - must carefully navigate the minefield of international film financing, constantly reconfiguring his script and feature film pitch accordingly.
PART 3: "XIN - Heart of the Matter" : is a work-in-progress of the creators' intent to produce a disastrous failure - maybe discovering something true and valuable among the ruins. Part 3 begins with a trip through the side of a mountain in Southern China... but not really. It actually begins with heartbreak and the end of story telling. It is an act of courting failure as perhaps the only way out., the only viable way into the future. XIN is an attempt to drop one's guard and just get to the very heart of the matter.
TEDx Talk from a exerpt of The Angola Project, Part I. Presented in 2014 at the US Chamber of Commerce
THE ANGOLA PROJECT HAS RECEIVED SUPPORT FROM
Guggenheim Foundstion, The Jerome Foundation, Cinereach, Berlin Brandenburg Film Fund (Berlin), The Detroit Institute of Arts Film Society (Detroit), EMPAC - Experimental Music and Performing Arts Center (Troy, NY), PS 122 (NYC), New Dance Amsterdam (NYC), Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (NYC), Tanzfabrik (Berlin), Maria Matos Theater (Portugal), Impulstanz (Vienna), Light Box (Detroit), Popps Packing (Detroit)