17c is the newest Big Dance Theater ensemble work, built around the problematic 17th century diaries of Samuel Pepys. Pepys danced, sang, strummed, shopped, strove, bullied and groped—and he recorded all of it in his diary, completely unfiltered. Using all the data to be found—the copiously prolific diaries themselves, Margaret Cavendish’s 17th century radical feminist play The Convent of Pleasure, three centuries of marginalia, and the ongoing annotations of the web-based devotees at pepysdiary.com – 17c dismantles an unchallenged historical figure and embodies the women’s voices omitted from Pepys’ intimate portrait of his life. Big Dance Theater continues its formal fascination with building systems of dance that challenge theater, while allowing the structure of the work itself to bring contemporary meaning to the making and un-making of our subjective past.
17c is produced by Big Dance Theater and co-commissioned by Carolina Performing Arts/UNC Chapel Hill, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Philadelphia FringeArts, the Old Vic/London, The Yard (Chilmark, MA), Diane and Adam E. Max, Virginia and Timothy Millhiser, the Starry Night Fund, the W Trust, Helen and Peter Haje, and the Heimbinder Family Foundation.
17c is supported in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and the National Endowment for the Arts. 17c is also funded, in part, by the Big Dance Theater Creation Circle, individual contributors committed to the development and support of the company’s newest works.
17c was developed, in part, at residencies hosted by the MacDowell Colony and the Abrons Arts Center.