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Monday, December 10, 2007


Thank you all for coming to our performances of Variation #50 at Highways Performance Space this last weekend! It was an honor and pleasure to share our work with you and hear such wonderful feedback from all of you! Please keep it coming!

Please, send us your thoughts and comments on what has stuck with you; what you might be missing; what ideas, images, and/or questions our performance helped provoke. The audience is the jury, the co-creator of the event and it really means a great deal to us to hear what your process is and what we all created that night. In fact, if you can tell us what night you came, we would appreciate it. And we would be especially interested in knowing if our work has sparked any thoughts on Russian and/or American culture, history, politics, etc.

please send to

Thank you again for creating two magical evenings with us!
Please come support the LA Physical Theatre Arts Festival at our home base ART/Works Theatre before it runs out (dec 23rd)!
We will be posting more info on our recent experiences with Teatr Zar as well as where Variation #50 will be going from here in the coming weeks!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Premiere of Variation #50: the memorable adventures during the legendary times of Mikhail Afanasievich Bulgakov!

photography by Annie Appel,

Variation #50:
the memorable adventures during the legendary times of
Mikhail Afanasievich Bulgakov aims to capture the soul of Russian satirist Mikhail Bulgakov (predominantly known in the West for his novel The Master and Margarita) and the essence of his time (Russia, 1917 - 1940). Bulgakov created until his last moment of consciousness despite years of censorship, persecution and eventual silence by the Stalinist Regime. His depth of humanity and integrity serves as bountiful inspiration to all who may despair in times of increasing authoritarian control. Through the use of body, song and sensorial atmospheres, ARTEL offers a visceral enticement for audiences to enter a mutual search for revelation.

Highways Performance Space
December 7 and 8, 2007
$20 Regular
$15 Students/members/seniors
To reserve TICKETS: (310) 315-1459

Highways Performance Space and Gallery
@ the 18th Street Arts Center
1651 18th Street
Santa Monica, CA 90404

for more information: return to this blog in the future or call ARTEL's office at 323.871.8382

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Teatr ZAR

Arden2 in association with UCLALive!
and with the support of the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Los Angeles Present

Gospels of Childhood

by Teatr Zar
a multinational theatre group from Wroclaw, Poland

US Debut and UCLALive! Exclusive
Tue-Fri, Nov 27-30 at 8pm;
Sat, Dec 1 at 2 and 8pm;
Sun Dec 2 at 2 and 7pm
at Freud Playhouse UCLA

or phone: 310.825.2101

A profound, visceral, and ritualistic spectacle in the tradition of the late Polish theatre revolutionary, Jerzy Grotowski. Gospels of Childhood incorporates acting, chanting, movement and millennia-old polyphonic funeral songs from Georgia, Bulgaria and Greece to envelop the audience in a deeply moving and meditative experience. Using texts from Christian mythology, including the resurrection of Lazarus and the testimony of Mary Magdalene, Gospels transports audiences to a realm hovering between the worlds of the living and the dead, ultimately leading to a fully realized theatrical moment of redemption.

Teatr ZAR is the resident artist company at the Jerzy Grotowski Institute in Wroclaw and, apart from pursuing their own creative work; they also manage the administration of the Institute, of which Jaroslaw Fret is its present director.

Special Reception and Performance Event at Arden2 O.C. Project Gallery:

Monday, Dec 3, 2007 5-7pm

honoring Zar ensemble with guest performance by ARTEL with accompanying interdisciplinary exhibition.

Beyond Orange Curtain: on the wills of Madame Modjeska, Jerzy Grotowski and Disneyland.

Arden2 O.C. Project Gallery
350 East 17th street #112, Costa Mesa, CA 92627

Friday, October 05, 2007

Faces of ARTEL

photography by Annie Appel,

Left to right:
Bryan Brown, Betsy Moore, Keirin Brown,
Olya Petrakova, Ilana Turner

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Search is On: The Board of Directors

We are looking for a few good men and women to help in the establishing of a new arts-driven organization. We plan to transform this usually sysiphean endeavor into an experience of creatively communal flow of support, good will and growth.

We are establishing a Board of Passionate Souls to support the mission and the goals of ARTEL.

We are looking for business savvy individuals who believe in giving back to the community through work, sharing of good fortune, and inspiring others to do the same.

For more information, please contact Keirin Brown at our office number 323-871-8382.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

GOGOL-MOGOL IV Aftermath: Comments, Pictures, Video

Pictures are HERE!
photography by Annie Appel,

Dear Audience: Friends Old and New!

Feel free to leave a comment about your experiences at Gogol-Mogol IV by clicking on the Comment Button at the bottom of this blog entry, or by e-mailing us at Your feedback is highly important to us, as we exist and create through a dialogue, contact, and sharing.

Pictures are Here! Video is coming soon. We will announce it via e-mail to everyone: if you are not on our mailing list - join now at the top of this site. You will keep abreast with the latest developments and updates from us.

These are some quotes from emails we have received about our GOGOL MOGOL IV:
"I can't remember when we had a more perfect night. Thank you for inviting us to a wonderful performance/happening with the coolest people. ARTEL has really inspired us to explore and expand our meaning of community."
- T Tanabe

"Thank you, thank you, thank you!! for the most enjoyable evening we have had in years. So many poeple forget that art and theatre is for people to meet and.. if possible .. to have fun! You Guys are fantastic!"
- J Klass

" Thanks so much for last night. LOVED THE SHOW!!!!!!! ARTEL must NEVER, I repeat, NEVER, leave L.A.!!!!!"
- Frankie

"...Congrats on a terrific show! I really admire and respect all of the work you guys are doing, especially in this culturally vacant city, it means a lot! Look forward to seeing your upcoming work at Highways. Break a leg!"
- John Sinner

"...that was amazing, you guys have something insanely special."
- B Canning

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Performances, Appearances, Happenings...

Our Schedule is firming up and here is a line up of our work through December 2007 ... as we know it at the moment... more updates to come:

SATURDAY, JULY 14, 10am to 2pm, Community Day in the Park. At De Longpre Park (De Longpre Avenue & June Street in Hollywood)
ARTEL entertains with its signature Clowning (exploring a Hill-Billy direction), playing Games, singing Songs and generating an inspired tomfoolery.

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 22 at 8PM. Gogol-Mogol is back! At Art|Works Theatre.
Explorations on the Bulgakov Theme, Unseen [Nevesta] by Olya Petrakova with ARTEL, songs, dances, more artists will be announced + community barters!

A montage of impressions, memories & explorations, digested into images, songs, movement and rhythm. Many vital themes are entwining themselves to create this original piece: censorship, the three wifes, Stalin and Bulgakov, Margarita and the eternal feminine, Russia as a village, and others.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Poland, Grotowski Center, Atelier, Song of Goat

Bryan Brown has left for Poland to participate in this year's ATELIER Source Techniques – Sources of Techniques directed by Jaroslaw Fret and Grzegorz Ziolkowski at the Grotowski Center and to train with Piesn Kozla (Song of Goat) Theatre Company.

Company continues to work on the Bulgakov Project and firming up our plans for performances in August and December. Olya is also working on her solo piece, based on Les Noces (English: The Wedding; Russian: Свадебка.)

What is ATELIER?

ATELIER consists of a series of practical and theoretical work sessions, which are part of an enterprise created for actors, musicians, singers, dancers, and theatre people. The aim of the Atelier is to work on the craft in the primary meaning of the word. The craft is a study of tools, a study of discovering creative motivation in oneself, a study of keeping the working spaces (whether them being actual spaces or the spaces of the body and/or the voice) in order. These elements build a skeleton of performer's creative preparation for work, the core of which is re-cognition – dedication.

Programme of the ATELIER includes:

Openings – presentations of performances, concerts and demonstrations of work open for wider audiences. Presentations will be made by artists whose projects are realized within the framework of the promotional activities of the Grotowski Institute.

Courses – work sessions divided into 4 five-day units of work which embrace three independent artistic lines (200 hours on the whole). Apart from them, the programme consists of theoretical classes and film presentations with introductions.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Commedia Night

Last night John Achorn shared with us his video collection of Commedia archives. Ariane Mnouchkine, Dario Fo, Jacques Lecoq, Piccolo Teatro, old films, Laurel & Hardy. Exquisite and ominous in its serious "life or death" demands. He said we will be leaping through the air in a few month. Oh, ok...

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Beyond May

We are regrouping. Heading into the summer. Learning to be an organization, flexing our brain muscles. Boards, non-profits, money - comprehending the constructs of survival. We revised our mission statement:
ARTEL is a theater laboratory collective that creates and performs original work through investigation of cultures and histories. By building and extending our creative home we serve a community who seeks a mutual experience of joy, play and revelation.

This year is a year of a pig, the year of overcoming obstacles - and they keep hurdling at us to be overcome. It's a good year, this year, we are becoming stronger, purer, more direct. Our work is more intense, immediate and deeply satisfying. Momo left us a golden set of challenges to grapple with.

Monday, April 16, 2007

LA Weekly Article and Upcoming Workshops in San Fran

ARTEL got a unique opportunity to be featured in LA Weekly's Theatre Edition: Building an Ensemble in Ego-ville: Olga Petrakova glides through catastrophe in search of some truth by STEVEN LEIGH MORRIS.

We will also conduct two workshops in San Francisco. "Freedom Bound" will be led by Bryan Brown and "Play With" by ARTEL ensemble (Bryan, Olya, Marc and Betsy).

See Workshop Information on our Calendar.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Highways and San Francisco - April is here!

will be performing.....

Our first installment of
We Play Devil's Advocate (Variation #50)

HIGHWAYS in Santa Monica, CA
April 6th and 7th
8:30 pm
info and tix at

and at
Sat, April 21st at 9pm
Sun, April 22nd at 7pm
info and tix at

We Play Devil's Advocate (Variation #50) aims to capture the soul of Mikhail Bulgakov (predominantly known in the West for his novel The Master and Margarita) and the essence of his time (1917 - 1940) by physically digesting and reconstructing images and passages from his life and works. As a self-professed mystic and satirist during the rise of the Stalinist Regime, Bulgakov's depth of humanity and integrity serves as bountiful inspiration to all who may despair in times of increasing authoritarian control. ARTEL offers a visceral contest of artistic freedom versus revolutionary and authoritarian fervor, utilizing body, song and sensorial atmospheres to entice audiences into a mutual search for revelation.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

March is Over

Gone the Days of Butoh Anti-War Parade (See album of images in our Gallery), 35 Hours of Intense Butoh Training with Shinichi (with whom we all fell in love), and the Wild Things are on Vacation till May 12.

Above are a few impressions drawn by our beloved intern Brook Rollo, depicting Wild Things on the loose, as ARTEL was solidifying the piece for the Bootleg performance.

Friday, February 23, 2007

March Developments and Beyond

We have plans through May at this point:

Thursday, March 15th - ARTEL's BIRTHDAY, we are coming up on our 1 year anniversary. We will celebrate on March 14, right after our rehearsal. This year it will be just us, as we are focused intensely on getting ready for all upcoming events.

We launched Physical Training Center for Performance @ our Body|Works Studio with two weekly ongoing classes taught by Bryan Brown (Freedom Bound: Grotowski-based Training) and Jon Morris (Athletic Actor Workout, based on principles of le jeu, or play). Coming up: Clown 101 series. Details are under Current Projects Tab to the left.

NO GOGOL-MOGOL TeaRoom Salon till May - we are busy devising, performing around town and traveling to San Fran. We would enjoy seeing our audiences coming to our shows around town.

Saturday March 17th 1PM - BUTOH SURGE AGAINST THE WAR PARADE. ARTEL is joining Corpus Delicti and friends for the parade. EVERYONE IS WELCOME TO COME! More info on Corpus Delicti is at Information on our Calendar.

Corpus Delicti at the Parade

Monday March 19, 10:30PM - ARTEL will perform a composition based on "Where the Wild Things Are" at NightHawks Salon, Bootleg Theatre. EVERYONE IS WELCOME TO ATTEND. Further details on our Calendar.

One Week Intensive, March 21-27th - Butoh/Physical Theater WORKSHOP with Shinichi Iova-Koga (Momo)of InkBoat, San Francisco. ARTEL Only.

Public Workshop Disciplines for the Hidden Body: Imagery, Form and Improvisation taught by Shinichi Iova-Koga (Momo), presented by Physical Training Center for Performance @ Body|Works Studio. - Saturday, March 24, 10-3PM. Cost $60.00. Contact Olya @ 310-985-9996.

Friday and Saturday April 6th ,7th 8:30PM - ARTEL will be a part of the curated evening at the Highways Performance Space with an Excerpt from a work-in-progress, We Play Devil's Advocate (Variation #50), based on Life & Times of Mikhail Bulgakov. Further details on our Calendar.

Saturday, Sunday, April 21, 22nd - ARTEL is performing in San Francisco at the Traveling Jewish Theatre a work-in-progress We Play Devil's Advocate (Variation #50), based on Life & Times of Mikhail Bulgakov as part of the Ensemble Theatre Festival - The FURY Factory. Further details on our Calendar.

Saturday, May 12th - ARTEL is performing at a Fundraiser for the Little Red School House in Hollywood.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

February Developments

Gogol-Mogol TeaRoom Salon - "Maslenitsa" Carnival
Sunday, February 18, 2007
Our ART|Works Theatre, of course

Russian Pancake Week in 2007 is February 12-February 18. And our third Gogol-Mogol is turning into a Miniture Carnival, as we are celebrating Russian Maslenitsa on February 18, Forgivness Sunday, bringing a touch of Mardi-Gras, a taste of Brazilian Carnivale, and a spectacle of a Venitian Masquerade - Russian ancient style, with bears, pancakes, games and performances, culminating in the burning of Madame Maslenitsa, a scarecrow effigy of the winter!

To find out more, check out our CALENDAR.

January came and went... with a bang!!!

Wow, where to begin - it was a FULL month, new trainings, Slava Polunin, Onofrio Colucci, Old New Year, and a trip to the East Coast for Bryan and Olya with a wonderful visit to the Double Edge Theatre.

M. Chekhov workshop with Robert was short and effective, very inspiring and useful for our process. Well, how could it not be, Misha was a wizzard, and so are we, wizzards in the making.

Commedia with John Achorn is god-sent, coupled with a visit of Slava's Snowshow to LA (most of us saw the show at least twice) and Slava's company, we've been goofing off, buffoning, clowning and laughing our bellies off. Life is good, ladies and gents!

Old New Year... what can we tell ya, it was a RIOT!!! Over 400 guests on the COLDEST DAY in LA HISTORY (it was freezing) gathered to party like it's 2099.

We performed inside and outside, dipped into rituals, literally. We actually had a pool of cold water for an ancient ceremony of throwing water at midnight out of the old pots and pans). We burned old X-mas trees to keep warm, and danced and sang the night away, till 4am.

A Trip to Double Edge was memorable. Yes, America has a living theatre! It's live, and people live there, and they live doing theatre. Beautiful farm on 105 acres of sprawling New England land, with rolling hills and a jewel of a pond - is their home. The training and performing facilities are a dream for any physical theatre group. We spent about an hour talking with Matthew Glassman, managing director and an actor, and another 3 looking at the archives - performance tapes, photographs, reviews, etc. Rich imaginations and generous hearts reside at the Farm!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Reflections on ARTEL

A seriously cool, seemingly underground LA TACO website, which seems to gravitate towards posting colorful pictures of grafitti covering numerous LA walls, uncluding our theatre's, though it also posts reviews of events, restaurants, music, theater and more, had this to say about our last Gogol-Mogol (well... our first Gogol-Mogol):

The advertisement said ‘ARTEL’ would perform songs, poems, etudes and compositions in English and, most importantly to me, Russian. I yearned for the show to fire-up, and the performers to shoot me straight to paradiseka with one lick or two of their caressing, yet ardent, native tongue. But in the tradition of the Grotowski and Gardzienice theater groups from Poland, this Laboratory Ensemble didn’t want me to go anywhere…they wanted me to stay right there with them, using one unlikely trick to keep us cemented to our seats: They didn’t say a word. READ MORE