Thursday, October 11, 2012

Suspicious Package: An interactive iPod noir has been delivered to Pittsburgh's Cultural District.

This weekend only Future Tenant is presenting Gyda Arber's Suspicious Package.

Photo Credit: Suspicious Package

Suspicious Package has been labeled an "interactive iPod noir play" and has something to say about the new-wave participatory theatre experience. This is a space where reality, technology and performance all collide.

The play has been adapted for audiences of four or six and unlike other immersive work, this is a play where as an audience member you are given the opportunity to play one of the characters in the play.

Upon arrival you are given a character, a costume and a Microsoft Zune Media Player. The mp3 player acts as your guide through the 45-minute tour around a block of Pittsburgh's cultural district. Each guide plays a character-specific audiovisual file complete with directions around the neighborhood, flashbacks that provide the necessary exposition, and of course a script to be read by you, the actor -- all underscored by an appropriately melodramatic score.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Week One: Pittsburgh New Works Festival.

It's that time again. Thursday marked the beginning of the twenty-second annual Pittsburgh New Works Festival. Every year the Pittsburgh New Works Festival seeks to aid in the development of original one-act plays. Eighteen theatre companies. Eighteen new plays. Four solid weeks of performance.

I attended the festival on Thursday evening. Come Friday morning I was having a hard time finding a way to describe my experience at the New Works Festival... and right as I walked into Market Square I noticed massive clouds of smoke, pandemonium and curious bystanders. I realized that attending the week one of New Works was like witnessing a kitchen-fire -- or an explosion.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Golden Dragon. Quantum Theatre.

Photo credit: Quantum Theatre
Part of the Quantum experience is the venue. The site of The Golden Dragon is Lake Carnegie in Highland Park. The space is stunning and vast yet tranquil and controlled. The stagnant lake, which is more like a pond, is equipped with a concrete path directly across the water and embellished with moving platforms and a cabin-like hut opposite the audience seating.

The play is focused around a Chinese-Thai-Vietenamese-Restaurant (called The Golden Dragon) and follows the tragedies of its employees, patrons and neighbors. The style of the play is more easily defined by what it is not. It is not realism, it is not naturalism and it is not boring. The play sets up its own narrative logic and storytelling technique that Bill O'Driscoll of City Paper has called a, "curious post-Brechtian style". The players speak directly to the audience, articulate their stage directions, assume multiple personas (that intentionally cross the boundaries of age, race and sex) and deny the audience the time to form any sort of relationship to any specific character over another.

Monday, August 13, 2012

My STRATA Experience

A riddle:

Three friends go to a show on different nights. The first and second see one scene that is the same but aside from that their nights are radically different. The second and third see one scene that is the same but aside from that their nights are also radically different. The first and third see nothing that is the same but their experiences are similar and they leave feeling the same. What show did they see?

An answer:

STRATA. An immersive adventure staged by Bricolage Production Company alongside a sea of collaborators and supporters.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Power of a Program

It has taken me a while to make a post about Bakerloo Theatre Project's first Pittsburgh season because it has taken me some time to separate what I actually knew when I was buying my ticket and what I took from the performance. This is both a good thing and a thing of questionable worth. What I have learned is that my experience as an audience member of Henry V was entirely altered by one specific reference in the program.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The search for iConsciousness has already begun.

Tickets for STRATA (a Bricolage production) just recently went on sale but the performance is already underway -- and has been for some time.

My first encounter with STRATA was through advertisement (which is typical). All over downtown Pittsburgh there are posters with no explanation. Pictures of people. Men and women from all age groups, toddler to grandfather, staring into the distance. Expressionless. They all wear "futuristic" white jump-suits and the posters read, "iConsciousness."

Monday, July 16, 2012

Orange Flower Water: A Perfumed Distillation of Suburban Infidelity.

Saturday marked the close of No Name Players' Pittsburgh premiere of Craig Wrights' Orange Flower Water. The show ran from June 29th- July 14th.

In itself, the play is an intensely concentrated exploration of the pains of suburban infidelity. Every scene is loud, fast and full of consequence. As Sean Collier noted in Pittsburgh Magazine, "it is a play of ramifications." He also called the performance "Must See Theatre" and suggested one planned for post-curtain drinks because the play is "hard to recover from."