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devised and directed by Anna Kohler

Inspired by the writings of Clarise Lispector

Premiering at THE TANK NYC
September 9-18th, 2022: buy tickets here

Previewed at MIT in September 2021

The Tank presents Immense Joy, a new work devised and directed by downtown luminary Anna Kohler in collaboration with performers Natalia de Campos, John Hagan, Fabio Tavares, and associate director Caleb Hammond. The piece was inspired by the writings of the Brazilian author Clarise Lispector. In Kohler’s interpretation, the literary material intertwines with personal remembrances and manifestos, the physical reality encounters its own recorded image, and the titular “immense joy” clashes with deep sadness as the performers guide the audiences through a series of multimedia vignettes as poetic and chaotic as the life itself. The performances run from September 9 thru 18, 2022 at The Tank (312 W 36th Street, 1st Floor, New York NY 10018).

All performances are open for review. The video trailer is here.

Immense Joy marks the return to New York City stage for Anna Kohler, whose remarkable theatrical career included longstanding creative partnerships with such legendary ensembles as The Wooster Group and Richard Maxwell’s New York City Players. Collaborating with Caleb Hammond (who directed her most recent NYC production, Mytho? Lure of Wildness, at Abrons Center in 2016) and the cast of international performers, Kohler weaves a multifaceted narrative fabric out of images, sounds, text, and expressive movement, commenting on the nature of creativity, interpersonal relationships, and the human condition in the world obsessed by materialistic values. The work of Brazilian author and femme fatale
Clarise Lispector – most notably, her last novel and magnum opus The Hour of the Star, a story of a poor typist living in the slums of Rio de Janeiro who refuses to be as miserable as her social standing would imply – is an important focal point for this production. ”Lispector’s masterful writing style is challenging to stage but provides the company with limitless colors with which to “paint,” explains Kohler. “Her honesty, passion, and deep, ahead-of-her-time insight truly resonate with the current state of the world. They bring out an important and timely question: aren’t we all victims of our social position in life, regardless of geographic circumstances? Isn’t the American dream that you can get rich if you just work hard enough, by now an illusion?”


Anna Kohler (Concept/Writer/Director/Performer) has been a part of the experimental and groundbreaking theater scene in New York since the early 1980s. For 12 years, she was a member of the Wooster Group and worked with John Jesurun, Fiona Templeton, Richard Maxwell, and many others on an ongoing basis. As a director, she has conceived and directed plays that have been performed in Austria, Germany, Brazil, and the United States. Her film work includes Hal Hartley’s The Book of Life and Bruno de Almeida’s On the Run, Peter Sellar’s The cabinet of Dr. Ramirez, among others. An accomplished teacher, she is currently a Senior Lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she teaches acting and directing.

Caleb Hammond (Assistant Director) is a teacher and creator of theater and visual art whose directing work has been presented in the USA and internationally. Selected acting credits include Hal Hartley’s films Ned Rifle and Meanwhile and John Jesurun’s web series Shadowland. Hammond was a regular featured performer in director Jay Scheib’s work, including the Obie Award-winning Untitled Mars, at PS122 in NYC and the National Theater of Hungary; Bellona, Destroyer of Cities, at The Kitchen, NYC and Maison des Arts, Paris; and This Place is a Desert at Under the Radar Festival, The Public Theater NYC and Boston ICA. He currently teaches acting at MIT.

John Hagan (Performer) is an acclaimed downtown theater artist who has acted in the work of Richard Foreman, Robert Ashley, Stuart Sherman, John Jesurun, and many others. Hagan has also written extensively on film and theater, his work has been published in Les Cahiers du cinema, Artforum, Millennium Film Journal, and numerous other publications.

Fabio Tavares (Performer) is a Brazilian artist working in New York. He has collaborated and performed with Yvonne Meyer, chameckilerner, Miguel Gutierrez, Fisherspooner, Noemie Lafrance, Luis Lara Malvacías, Jeniffer Monson, Circus Amok, John Heginbotham, Laurie Anderson, The Dazzle Dancers, The Daisy Spurs, Stanley Love, and Anne Bogart / SITI Company. Fabio has also danced with Elizabeth STREB and her extreme-action company for 14 years where he served as the Associate Artistic Director for a decade.

Natalia de Campos (Performer) is a multidisciplinary artist originally from São Paulo, Brazil working in performance, video, sound, writing, interactive media, and street interactions, and as a theater actor, director, producer, researcher, educator, and translator. As a performer, Natalia has worked independently and with The Living Theatre, Mikhail Baryshnikov’s White Oak at BAM, and others.

Photos of the work in progress by Anna Kohler