Quarry (1978)


Described by Meredith Monk as a “memorial piece for a world at war” and an “opera in three movements,” Quarry is a typically difficult-to-classify multimedia piece by Monk, combining dance, song, film, and theatrical performance. Set during World War II, Quarry is told from the expressionistic perspective of a sickly child (played by Monk), whose idyllic domestic life becomes increasingly distorted and terrifying as news of the world enters her home and reshapes her imagination.

After its Obie-winning run in 1976, Quarry was re-staged at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, where it was filmed by the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Director Amram Nowak shot the performance from a wide perspective to document the staging and choreography, but Monk later discovered the close-ups by second cameraperson Jerry Pantzer (a future collaborator on Monk’s films, Book of Days and Ellis Island) and edited them into the final work. The restoration presented here premiered in 2019 at Anthology Film Archives.

Directors: Amram Nowak, Meredith Monk (stage director).
Writer: Meredith Monk.
Stars: Meredith Monk, Ping Chong, Steve Clorfeine, Tone Blevins, Daniel Ira Sverdlik, Lanny Harrison, Monica Moseley, Pablo Vela, Lee Nagrin, Mary Schultz, Gail Turner, Ann Gentry, Coco Pekelis, Andrea Goodman, Steve Lockwood.
Cinematographers: David Lerner, Jerry Pantzer.
Composer: Meredith Monk.


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One Comment

    January 29, 2023

    Ah, Meredith Monk. . . I saw nearly all of her theatrical work in the 1970s and it was deep and one of a kind. I missed this one so I am very grateful it is here. If you ever come across her masterpiece EDUCATION OF A GIRLCHILD in its completeness and can post it, I would be most grateful. Thank you for this wonderful surprise this morning, Jon!

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