Yes, we may have Fringe on the brain, but that doesn’t mean that other things aren’t going on this weekend. And, quite fittingly one of those other things is something called The OTHERS Project. Paul Bedard, co artistic director for Theater in Asylum, took a moment to chat with me about a very exciting evening of theater, music, dance, poetry and drinks that will be going on this Sunday night. Read on as Paul explains their particular definition of “asylum”, how they’re using their themes, and what their version of Frankenstein will look like …
Theater in Asylum’s mission is to “suspends beliefs and moralities through visceral, emotional and thrilling dance-theater to rigorously investigate our world and to believe again more wholly”. Tell me more about the work Theater in Asylum has been doing to showcase this mission.
Paul Bedard: THEATER IN ASYLUM’s name came from its first piece, NIJINSKY IN ASYLUM. We have been obsessed for a while with the idea of asylum not as a place for the crazy but as a sanctuary for the volatile (politically, morally and ethically). We try to pick characters or ideas that would benefit from the temporary suspension of the rules and of our preconceptions. We then try to unpack the origins of those rules and preconceptions surrounding the subject. We have offered this theatrical asylum to Vaslav Nijinsky, Poe’s “Me” in Annabel Lee, Lucia Joyce, and now “the other” with The OTHERS Project. This November we tackle our biggest task yet by offering asylum to Victor Frankenstein and his Creature. For each performance, we hope audiences will suspend their beliefs upon entering, engage in a visceral investigation, and experience a transformation or affirmation of those beliefs upon leaving.
The OTHERS Project is happening on Sunday night. I love the fact that the audience can mingle with the artists. Tell me about this up-close-and-personal approach.
The OTHERS Project is our second cabaret-style event we are holding at New York Theater Workshop, following April’s The DEATH / MEMORY Project. For each event we have invited artists to create short works to bring to event and to complicate the events overall theme. April’s theme was time as it relates to memory at one end of the spectrum and death at the other. The order of the night was constructed to create as many contradictions and complications as possible in the discussion around this theme. Breaks between each performance offer audiences the chance to engage with each other and with the artists on night’s theme. The OTHERS Project will investigate the idea of “the other,” both how “the other” is identified and separated. We again follow a cabaret structure with breaks to spur conversation and debate.
What other wonderful things can we expect down the road from Theater in Asylum?
This September THEATER IN ASYLUM will travel to Connecticut to teach a devised-theater intensive to 7-12th graders, hoping to theatrically empower them with a form of theater new to them. Then, this November, THEATER IN ASYLUM’s FRANKENSTEIN comes to life at NYC’s Looking Glass Theatre. Our modern retelling of Mary Shelley’s classic once again asks: At what point is your creation alive? What responsibility do you have to your creations? What will happen if you abort your creations? FRANKENSTEIN will feature aspects of traditional theater, dance, media and a chilling warning to humanity’s future.
Paul, that sounds terrific! Thanks so much for giving us a glimpse into Theater in Asylum and what you’ll be offering on Sunday night. I can’t wait to see more of the work you’ll be doing … and to check in again with you later this year.
The OTHERS Project
For more information on this Sunday’s event please click here for ticket info.
All seating is general admission, first come first serve. Standing room available.
Complimentary wine all night with $15 donation
Special Reserved seat with $25 donation