New Play Development: Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA New Play Development December 3-5, 2010


How do ensembles create new work? How is the work of ensembles contributing to the canon of American Theatre and the development of an American Ensemble Theater aesthetic? Micro-Fest: Los Angeles went deep into exploring the ‘hows’ of making new plays/performances within ensemble settings.  Over the course of 2.5 days festival participants shared methods and dialogue on  “How” they create plays/performances and the inquiries behind them. 

Micro-Fest participants worked to anwer questions about the ways culture and aesthetic drives influence creative choices in the context of new play development.  In addition, what can we glean from this new work?  Are we seeing the development of a new “American Ensemble” aesthetic?  Performances (finished pieces and works-in-progress), Performance Responses, Catalyst Speakers and Master Classes will provide the entry points to examine the role of ensembles in development of new works. Guest Curator Steven Leigh Morris, theater Critic-at-Large for the LA Weekly, programmed a diverse array of ensembles at varying stages of development.  The Micro-Fest: LA line up included:

Rumble Productions & Theatre Replacement: Clark and I Somewhere in Connecticut

(Full Production) In 2005, Vancouver theatre artist James Long found a collection of 7 photo albums and travel journals in the alley near his East Vancouver home. The collection, complete with detailed captions and letters, documents a family’s history between 1950 and 1987, and includes everything from birth notices to a full eulogy to the archivist’s Pomeranian, Mandy. A team of collaborators went in search of the origins of these books in the fall of 2007 and ran into, among many things, questions surrounding the legality and morality of working with found materials. What started as a simple trip to the country immediately carried the creators on narrative jags across property, oceans, and beyond. Performances Friday, December 3 at 8:30 pm and Saturday, December 4 at 2:00 pm.

Two Headed Dog: Clown Town City Limits

(Full Production) Clowntown City Limits brings together a trio of down and out clowns living in a home that’s not the worst place in the world, but “worst place adjacent.”  Big Bugs, Corky, and Adolph manage to pay a back-handed tribute to the world of clowns while turning it upside down and inside out, revealing the darkness inherent in every black-velvet clown painting that ever hung over a frightened child’s bed. Performances Friday, December 3 at 8:30 pm and Saturday, December 4 at 2:00 pm.

The Post Natyam Collective: SUNOH! Tell me, Sister

(Work-In-Progress) “SUNOH!  Tell me, Sister” grapples with the historical legacy of the courtesans of the Indian subcontinent, bringing to life subversive stories of erotic power and women's resistance. A duet integrating classical and contemporary Indian dance, theater, original music, and video, the production is a transnational choreographic collaboration between members of the Post Natyam Collective and is being created over the internet through a long distance, internet-based, creative process. Performances Saturday, December 4 at 8:30 pm and Sunday, December 5 at 1:00 pm.

Critical Mass Performance Group: Untitled

(Work-In-Progress) A new, multi-disciplinary performance piece, which explores the connections and collisions of mythic American ideals, with Poland’s epic struggle for independence, through the transmission of ideas across time and space, and individual acts that shift the avalanche of history. Performances Saturday, December 4 at 8:30 pm and Sunday, December 5 at 1:00 pm.

Watts Village Theater Company: Clover and Cactus

(Work-In-Progress) In the late 1840's approximately 200 United States soldiers defected from the American army to fight for Mexico in the Mexican American War. These mostly Irish soldiers came to be known as Los San Patricios (the St. Patrick’s Battalion).  Clover & Cactus, set the night before the final battle of the war, sharply explores the historical issues that helped draw a group of strangers from opposite sides of the world together, discovering common bonds, and the worth found therein. Performances Saturday, December 4 at 8:30 pm and Sunday, December 5 at 1:00 pm.

The Ghost Road Company: Stranger Things

(Work-In-Progress) Inspired by the works and ideas of renowned existential philosopher Albert Camus, "Stranger Things" utilizes black comedy, original music, and graphic novel visuals to delve into the emotional undercurrent of the isolated individual.  In "Stranger Things" a worldly, estranged son returns to his rural home to reconnect with his remaining family.  Will his reluctance to reveal himself prove to be his undoing, or will he find the courage and humility to rejoin his forsaken family and repair old wounds? Ghost Road is working with award-winning composer David O to compose and perform original music. Performances Saturday, December 4 at 8:30 pm and Sunday, December 5 at 1:00 pm. Micro-Fest: USA is a national regional festival exploring pressing issues facing the ensemble field.  The complete festival includes Micro-Fest: Atlanta (October 8-10, 2010) exploring Race, Culture and Aesthetics; Micro-Fest: LA (December 3-5, 2010) explores New Play Development; Micro-Fest: Philadelphia (January 29-31, 2011) examines hybrid, cross-disciplinary ensemble work.  The aim of this project is to highlight ensemble contributions to the field while identifying better ways of discussing and supporting this work.

Festival and Pass Information

Micro-Fest: LA was December 3-5, 2010 at the Atwater Village Theatre, (3269 Casitas Ave. Atwater Village, CA 90039). 

Micro-Fest: USA is made possible through the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ford Foundation, the Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles, South Arts and WESTAF.

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