The Brooklyn-based La Troupe Makandal,
an Afro-Haitian drum and dance company, will perform the first
part of its three-part show, "Rising Sun: A Vodou Drama
of Death and Rebirth," in South Oxford Space on Nov. 13.
The troupe’s fifth annual production celebrates Gede, the trickster who baffles life and death. Gede is the eternal cosmic comedian in black who lures the beautiful but arrogant Arachne to a midnight bash at a cemetery.
Directed by Frisner Augustin, a master drummer and NEA Heritage Fellow (the nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts), the drama focuses on the connection between spirituality and revolution.
Founded in 1973, La Troupe Makandal - named after a Haitian revolutionary - immigrated to New York in 1981 with a mission to "unmask stereotypes [of voodoo] while preserving the magic of the culture," according to its Web site. Voodoo is a Caribbean religion in which a supreme god rules a large pantheon of local and tutelary deities, deified ancestors and saints.
"There is a lot of misunderstanding about the Haitian culture," said troupe spokeswoman Lois Wilcken. "Our goal is to re-educate people and do it in a fun way."
On stage, La Troupe Makandal presents the history and customs of Haitian culture by performing dances or voodoo rituals using traditional as well as non-traditional instruments in the drum ensemble.
The performance of the first part of "Rising Sun: A Vodou Drama of Death and Rebirth" titled "Day of the Dead" is Nov. 13 at 8 pm. (The last two parts of the drama are "Night of Fire," to be presented on Dec. 18 at 8 pm, and "Carnival Dawn," on Jan. 8 at 8 pm.)
South Oxford Space is located at 138 South Oxford St. at Hanson Place in Fort Greene. Admission is $15, $10 students and $5 for children under 12. Reservations are recommended; call (718) 953-6638. For more information go to www.makandal.org.