Christopher performs the title role in Ping Chong's LAZARUS 1972–2022 at LaMama, September 29–October 16

While I have worked mainly as a choreographer and director for many years, I do still perform on special occasions. Since 1998, I have had the good fortune and the privilege of appearing in several works by Ping Chong, a stalwart artist in NYC experimental theater. Celebrating his 50-year career as a creator and on the eve of his retirement from the artistic directorship of his company, Ping has recreated LAZARUS, his very first work as an independent artist.

LAZARUS in performance in the 1970s; photos by Cathy Zimmerman

As always in Ping's work, the material is deeply personal to him, yet presented with an eerie objectivity, in a complex and elegant multimedia mise-en-scène. As Ping has reimagined his original scenario, Lazarus (who could be Ping himself—or any of us) leaves the world in 1972 to awaken in a strange transitional space—the bardo, limbo, purgatory? (Check out this intense one-minute trailer of highlight moments from the show.)

Three Figures, who seem to control—or to serve?—this realm provide Lazarus with oddly familiar nourishment. One delivers a missive from home. A mysterious Woman passes through—lost, it seems, like Lazarus himself, in a labyrinth between lives, between worlds. Time passes. You remember time? If Lazarus is called to return to the New York City of the living in 2022, what will he find there?

For Ping’s own eloquently expressed thoughts on the work, peruse the fine interview-previews from TDF, This Week in New York, Theatermania, and Broadway World. I perform the title role, with Bessie award–winning veteran of Ping’s original company Jeannie Hutchins as the Woman.

Christopher as LAZARUS in dress rehearsal in 2022; photos by Richard Termine

I would be delighted to see you in the theater.

P.S. I'm delighted to share our first review. Here's a quote: "Christopher Caines stars as the title character in Ping Chong’s mesmerizing update of Lazarus ... The Canadian-born Caines, who runs his own dance company, has performed previously with Ping and is hypnotic as Lazarus; you can feel his alienation and suspicion as his eyes and body shift to surprise noises or he just stands tall and still, waiting for something to happen to break him out of his loneliness. But don't let me mislead you; the show is also very funny."