& performed by Sean Devare
Directed by Alex M. Lee
Co-producer Gustavo Sampaio
Lighting Design by Kate August
Stage Manager Glenn Potter-Takata
First Violin is a solo performance piece investigating cultural inheritance and musical evolution. In discovering the oldest known ancestor of the violin and its connection to the Hindu epic poem The Ramayana, Sean Devare uses spoken word poetry, live music, and narration to chronicle his search for, and recreation of the fabled first violin, invented by the demon(ized) King Rāvana. Against a backdrop of personal and political turmoil in New York City, he reinvents the violin the only way he knows how.
In undertaking a journey of both musical and personal revelations, Devare gives a new voice to the first generation Asian-American experience. Within these autobiographical encounters, he illuminates the consequences of limited narratives both past and present.
First Violin was developed at Sarah Lawrence College and debuted at HERE Arts Center in the Sublet Series Co-op. Official selection for United Solo Festival at Theatre Row.
A visionary documentary of a brown man's psyche and a razor-sharp conversation with himself, and us, poeticizing the inner and outer madness of navigating today's America."
— Stew (Tony-award winner, "Passing Strange")
While few can account for their own lifetime, Devare time-surfs a couple millennia in 'First Violin.' Western and Asian cultures collide and collude in his colorful retelling of the Ramayana, which he reinterprets through inventive autobiographical unmaskings and pop-culture interrogations demonstrating, among many other things, why they don't call it classic rock for nothing.”
— Richard Gehr (author; writer at Spin, Rolling Stone, Village Voice)
Photos by Paul Morejón Studio