Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Trends of OOB

Contributed by Amy Overman

More and more I see theater artists taking the things that excite them in other areas of their life, pulling from film, TV and other media and putting it into their art. 

  1. Monthly shows – Variety shows, burlesque, storytelling, musical reviews, talk shows, plays. Shows coming back at the same time every month, building an audience, bringing together a group of people who come back every few weeks to experience theater.  These type of shows are also the epitome of the immediacy of theater, because the artists who make them are constantly creating.  One of my personal faves is The Skinny with Peter DeGiglio. There’s a different guest from politics or theater (political theater that is) every month, musical performances and at the end, Peter has to answer questions about current events or get a pie in the face.  I love that this could be a web series, but it’s not, it’s a live show.  Makes the pie in the face much more enjoyable.
  2. Scifi & Horror – Science fiction theater was everywhere, most notably in Gideon Production’s  Honeycomb Trilogy.   Blood & horror –Nose Dive’s gore in The Blood Brother’s present Freaks from the Morgue, zombies attacking in my own Dysfunctional Theatre Company’s Brew of the Dead II: Oktoberflesh, and the titular flying snakes of Everywhere Theater Group’s Flying Snakes in 3D.  
  3. Technology/film/etc – Almost every theater I visit now has a projector.  I’ve seen video elements used for something as basic as a static image on the back wall - budget set design!  The most haunting and beautiful incorporation I saw of video was in Bride of the Monster by DMTheatrics, Dr. Eric Vornoff (Tom O’Connor) admired the portrait of his dead wife, a black and white video projected life sized on the back wall of the Red Room.  Seeing him reach out to her face as the image moved ever so slightly was both moving and chilling.  Sound designs are becoming more detailed and layered as CueLab and other programs make shows easier to run.  Which leads me to…
  4. Red Cloud Rising (the Fifth Wall, created by Gyda Arber & Aaron Baker) – This wasn’t a trend because there was nothing else like it, but it’s a production could only happen with the increased use of technology in theater. A show where the play took place on the streets of downtown, the line between actor and audience member blurred and most of the lines of dialogue were delivered via voicemail or text message. The audience was a part of the story, but it a way that was totally organic, not just a request for a suggestion or a single member called out to be pulled onstage. Red Cloud is a prime example of how indietheater is evolving, which for me is one of the most exciting things about being a part of it.

Amy Overman is the Artistic Director of the Dysfunctional Theatre Company (www.dysfunctionaltheatre.org); her recent work with them includes directing Of Dice & Men as part of the Brick’s Game Play festival, acting in and producing the serialized play Unlicensed, which ran for 8 months at UNDER St. Marks and performing in the horror comedy Brew of the Dead II: Oktoberflesh, also at UNDER St. Marks. Outside of Dysfunctional, Amy has acted, directed and produced all around the indietheatre scene and is a Master Mason of the Brick.  Currently she is working on I Shall Forget You Presently, an original piece created from the poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay, which will be presented by Dysfunctional as part of the Tiny Theater Festival at the Brick (www.bricktheater.com).

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