March 07 2014

Cowboys n' Indians

Los Angeles

New York City's Wooster Group, a company of artists who make work for theater, dance, and media, has temporarily relocated to Los Angeles to stage their newest production, Cry, Trojans!, at the REDCAT/CALARTS Theater in Downtown Los Angeles. Running through this weekend, Cry, Trojans!, tackles the Trojan side of Shakespeare’s dark and scabrous Trojan War play about sincere love corrupted and the downfall of a noble hero. The piece originated as a co-production between The Wooster Group and the Royal Shakespeare Company for the World Shakespeare Festival, presented in conjunction with the 2012 London Olympics. Director Elizabeth LeCompte and The Wooster Group have converted the collaboration into an independent piece, reimagining the Trojans as a fictional Native American tribe struggling against the Greeks which are represented by cowboys.

Besides being a brilliant work, Cry, Trojans! is also notable because the multi-talented Casey Spooner, of Fischerspooner fame, is a member of the cast. We sat Casey down and asked him about his involvement with The Wooster Group and how he's finding life in LA:

STANDARD: You’ve been a member of The Wooster Group for a while. Tell us about how you first became involved with them?

Casey Spooner: I started working with The Wooster Group in 2005. I had just finished releasing and touring the second Fischerspooner album, Odyssey. It was a difficult couple of years, great successes and great failures colliding simultaneously. I needed to retreat into my avant-garde roots. I worked in experimental theater for nearly a decade before starting Fischerspooner. My dream had always been to work with The Wooster Group. I had seen The Temptation of St Anthony when I was a 20 year old art student. It was confounding and glamourous.

My first day in rehearsal with Wooster was a disaster. It was a strange and alienating technique of duplicating video on stage. I was fed information via an earpiece and was surrounded by video monitors. It was overwhelming and difficult to respond to the other actors. I imploded on stage. At the end of the day I braced myself for polite rejection. I remember thinking to myself, "Some dreams just aren't meant to come true". But To my utter astonishment I was cast as Laertes in their production of Hamlet at the end of that day. I've remained involved with the company in some capacity ever since.

Tell us about your part in The Wooster Group’s performance piece, Cry, Trojans!? And how does it feel to be performing it in Los Angeles as opposed to New York City?

I've come late to this production. It started as a collaboration with The Royal Shakespeare Company that ran in England during the Summer Olympics in 2012. This is a new version built upon fragments from that original production. I play the biggest small part I've ever had on stage. I'm in most of the play but I never speak. I'm more like human sculpture. The sets and costumes are designed by an artist named Folkert De Jong and are extremely sculptural as well.

I love performing at REDCAT in Los Angeles. It's one of the best theaters in the world and we always have great audiences. Honestly, the combination of staying at The Standard, Downtown LA and performing at REDCAT is ideal. I get into a very healthy and focused routine going from the gym to the pool to the theatre every day. I don't do that in NYC!

What’s your favorite adventure in your career as an artist?

My greatest is adventure is actually just getting to do what I do. I know that sounds mega lame but it's kinda true. I've had the chance to travel and meet people and see things and have crazy experiences. But in the end I just love to go to work, make things, solve problems, collaborate, and connect with an audience.

What has been inspiring you lately?

I recently saw the [Belvedere Torso](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BelvedereTorso)_ at The Vatican, something about it caught my eye. The bulk and heft of this ancient figure triggered me. Also, Asger Carlsen is a photographer that I've been obsessed with. We recently started collaborating on images for the next Fischerspooner album. I also visited The Tom of Finland Foundation in Los Angeles yesterday and saw many incredible things.

What’s up next for you?

I just made my first feature film called DUST with my partner Adam Dugas. It stars some the most exciting and eccentric artists of our time: Peggy Noland, Jamie Warren and Cody Critcheloe with a cameo by Holly Woodlawn. It was a great experience and we are developing more film projects now. Warren Fischer and I are currently putting together a book documenting the earliest years of Fischerspooner and we are writing a new Fischerspooner album.


Casey Spooner will be doing a special guest DJ set tonight on The Rooftop of The Standard, Downtown LA. Cry, Trojans! will be staged at REDCAT through Sunday, get your tickets here.