Visually spare, brutally comic, and deeply layered in sound and text, The Silver, the Black, the Wicked Dance is a dark, comedic play about predation in American life. The tar pits, the Great Plains, and an imagined outer space are cold and silent landscapes upon which the euphoric drive to create others as foreign and to become foreign to oneself circulates in abstract vaudevilles of organ regeneration, alien acceptance, and depersonalization. The text, written by Asher Hartman through the work of the company, draws on historical and philosophical material, popular culture, and an extended dialogue with the company about the origins of and interest in shame among privileged populations in the 21st century.
In a mix of black light theater and black magic, Purple Electric Play (PEP!) follows two underground entertainers, THE VITAL ORGAN (Jasmine Orpilla and Kalean Ung) and THE STAR (Philip Littell), as they step in and out of rough and ridiculous political histories, assisted by their pals, THE AUDIENCE (Joe Seely), four naive and playful puppets, LO-PHAT, DONKEY, SALAD BAR and STARVATION (Drew Thatausie and Chelsea Rector) luring their live audience deeper into the morass of questions and confrontations that arise from memories on injustice and revolt. PEP! explicitly leverages an audience's expectation of diversion and excitement to explore the relationship of the creative class to privilege and power, both as resistors and provocateurs.
Gavin Rose (Paul Outlaw) comes home from a long journey to find his house sitters Evan (Michael Morrissey) and Byron (Franc Baliton) have taken his furniture, redecorated, and are living with a barfly, Brian, in his now unrecognizable home. They throw a party for his return, inviting his ex-wife, Cheyenne (Rochelle Fabb), and twenty strangers. During the course of the evening, one of the house sitters, Byron, slowly becomes a bird-god, altering the course of the evening from cocktails to an interweaving of subtexts around money, class, possession and murder.
See What Love The Father Has Given Us is a religio-dramedy about three big box store employees who travel through tiers of reality taking on aspects of the Holy Trinity. The piece looks at the ways in which the triad and the Trinity influence the way we love in the Western world. Audiences enter through a dark hallway leading into two triangular rooms-an idyllic garden and an employee break room. Viewers follow the action as it moves from room to room and are always extremely close to the performers who shift from the heightened language of the Other World to the indifferent speech of the present, from supreme beings to human beings.
Loosely inspired by the lives of Paul Lynde (Michael Morrissey), Charles Nelson Reilly (Joe Seely), Barclay Shaw (Patrick Kennelly) and Wayland Flowers (Franc Baliton), The All Stars of Non Violet Communication takes its cues from the moment in a stand up routine when the comedian turns against the audience, heaping savagery upon them in an attempt to defend the comic's role as container and messenger of a society's unacknowledged debts and burdens.
An original performance theater work, Annie Okay is inspired by the unintentional colonialist subtext in two of America's most beloved musicals, Annie Get Your Gun and The King and I. The piece revisists the musical form to look at what our entertainments say about our struggle with race, identity, colonialist politics, and the American tryst with violence. Poetic, dense, funny and complicated, Annie Okay challenges and surprises audiences as they are led through the Hammer Museum's expansive lobby and marble terraces following a conceptual narrative performed by Los Angeles-based performance artists and actors. The performance moves between abstract theater, comedy and relational components that allow audiences to enter into dialogue drawn from the piece's mix of ragged humor, violence, and sexuality.
Nasty, poetic, and surprisingly funny, Bad Thing is an amalgamation of theater, installation, performance and painting. The piece circles around the body of American violence, exploring ideas of Western guilt and pleasure in a series of shifting scenarios that are often grotesquely humorous, sometimes tender, always distressingly familiar. This dark performance features six characters (a hallucinating conquistador, a brutally sadistic monk, a paranoid hidalgo, a grotesquely obsequious servant, and Jesus Christ in the guise of a fox, and six paintings that explore and complicate archetypal themes of dominance, submission, boredom, paranoia, and transcendence. Bad Thing takes inspiration from 17th century Spanish playwright Lope de Vega's story of a repentant sadistic noble La Fianza Satisfecha, the diaries of Spanish conquistador-turned-healer Cabeza de Vaca, and Eduardo Galeano's classic Open Veins of Latin America.