Chess Match No. 5

March 2017
The Abingdon, New York City

For many years Anne Bogart and SITI have wanted to create a project celebrating the great American composer, writer, artist, and philosopher John Cage. Chess Match No. 5 is a play based upon texts from the many public conversations that John Cage conducted with others over his lifetime and is the first step towards the realization of a large-scale cross-disciplinary project entitled Theater Piece #1. Chess Match No. 5 will serve as an anchor and organizing principle for all of the component parts and collaborators of Theater Piece #1. 

Chess Match No. 5 is a two-character play featuring SITI actors Ellen Lauren and Will Bond. The two embody the dramatic journey of a long-term relationship over the course of a single night. At the center of the action is a chess game being played, which serves as the organizing principle of the piece and its essential metaphor. The physical action will be created separately from the text that SITI has commissioned Jocelyn Clarke to construct based upon the many public conversations that Cage conducted with others during the course of his lifetime. The density and relateability of the couple’s relationship will draw in the audience’s empathy and the conversational text, which is philosophical, humorous and penetrating, will lend grace and profundity.

Jocelyn Clarke has worked with SITI Company on numerous projects, including Bob, Room, Score, Antigone and Trojan Women (After Euripides). His understanding of the way SITI works, his sympathy for the unique collaborative process and atmosphere of frank critique critical to the Company’s projects makes him an invaluable co-creator.

Tickets available here

Conceived and Directed by Anne Bogart
Text arranged by Jocelyn Clarke from the words of John Cage

Created by SITI Company

Featuring Will Bond & Ellen Lauren

Choreography by Barney O’Hanlon
Scenic and Costume Design by James Schuette
Lighting Design by Brian H Scott
Sound Design by Darron L West
Assistant Direction by Molly Bernard
Assistant Sound Design by Tyler Kieffer
Stage Management by Ellen Mezzera

Early development of Chess Match No. 5 occurred during SITI Work/Space, SITI’s in-house residency for new play development, which was supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Howard Gilman Foundation, and public funds from the New Yokr City Department of Cultural Affairs. This production is funded, in part, by the Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation and the Dramatists Guild Fund.