Photos by Maria Baranova

Playing with the convention of the living room party, THE RECEPTION begins as a humor-filled, raucous celebration. Dressed to the nines, five performers dance, eat, drink, sing, tell stories, gossip and carry on to Brandon Wolcott’s infectious, innovative sound score amidst Amanda K. Ringger’s color-soaked lighting design. But something is not quite right and slowly, through elements of horror and suspense, repetition, detailed social choreography and a remarkably transformative set by Obie-Award winning set designer Neal Wilkinson, a haunting and unanchored world is uncovered where the partygoers cling to each other like survivors of a shipwreck. Created and performed with a guest list of New York dance-world luminaries that includes legendary choreographers Ishmael Houston- Jones and Jane Comfort, THE RECEPTION delves into the dark underbelly of the social and how we survive when a world begins to crumble.

WORLD PREMIERE            HERE Arts Center, New York, NY / June 14, 2017

Co-Creation: Sean Donovan and Sebastián Calderón Bentin
Direction: Sebastián Calderón Bentin and Sean Donovan
Choreography: Sean Donovan in collaboration with the company of performers
Performers: Jane Comfort, Leslie Cuyjet, Sean Donovan, Hannah Heller, Ishmael Houston-Jones
Sound: Brandon Wolcott and Tyler Kieffer
Set Design: Neal Wilkinson
Lighting: Mandy Ringger
Costume Design: Felix Ciprián

“This is the kind of party in which everything seems sociable and shallow until someone starts screaming: a bit of Buñuel with a timely dash of “Twin Peaks.” – THE NEW YORKER

“Exhilaratingly funny and utterly bizarre…beautifully precise. This is one party you are not going to want to miss.” – Mark Rifkin, This Week in NY

“The Reception, all about the feeling of a party, is a bit of comedy, a bit of structuralist pornography, and a bit of divine intervention — clearly some higher power had a part in this process and at their rehearsals.”Aron Canter,

 “It is all achieved with subtle grace by the performers and a superb technical team that makes all the dramatic transformations memorable. This one deserves to be seen again, for a longer run.” – Joel Benjamin,

“So enthralling is this moving sedation that a new transformation almost escapes our consciousness.” Melanie Greene,

Lead commissioner for The Reception was HERE Arts Center. Additional funding support was provided by Art Matters Foundation, Mertz-Gilmore Foundation, The Rosin Fund, Stanford University Alumni Fund, and New York University.

Residency support for the creation of The Reception was provided by HERE’s multi-year HARP Program and The Bushwick Starr.