EAST HAMPTON, NY (April 6, 2021) —Picture this… Two people, a fish, a New York City apartment on top of a trailer bed, and you. Exquisite Corpse Company(ECC) returns to Guild Hall with an interactive, immersive, and portable living diorama of 2020. Written by ECC writers-in-residence Leah Barker, Emily Krause, and Elinor T Vanderburg, produced by Liz Frost, and co-directed by Porcia Lewis and Guild Hall Artist in Residence (2019) alumni and ECC’s Artistic Director Tess Howsam, Zoetrope will be taking to the streets of Brooklyn and beyond in the summer of 2021, but first ECC will build, rehearse, and perform the new production at Guild Hall’s John Drew Backyard Theater with socially distanced seating for a limited and lucky audience on Friday, April 23 and Saturday, April 24.
ECC’s mission for this project is to use our shared experiences as a nation and as individuals, to create an interactive performance that offers reflective healing and generative dialogue as we continue to process 2020 in 2021. Linking moments of connection and loneliness, with a surrealist twist, this mobile piece presents an accessible (Covid-19 conscious) platform for people across the New York City boroughs and state lines.
Over the course of 35 minutes, the audience experiences an intimate, interactive live performance, and will play a significant role in dictating the way the story plays out. The project aims to explore interactivity and intimacy in a time of isolation. Functioning like a traveling peep-show, audience members peer inside a living room that is equal parts familiar and absurd as they experience a living room drama unlike any they’ve seen before.
In talking about the creative process of the writing of the script, Producer Liz Frost shared, “As a byproduct of trying to figure a way to produce safe live theater that is also interactive for the audience, Tess designed an outline for the way that the scripts could be built with the audience choosing which scenes are played out. This is important both to the audience interaction of the show as well as to ECC’s mission of exquisite corpse and collective assembly. In taking the structure of the script that Tess created and also recognizing that 2020 was a traumatic year in many ways, and Tess wanted to give people a small amount of agency.”
In a time of uncertainty, Tess began to dream up different ways to find a solution to the questions, “How could ECC generate its own space?” And “How can ECC create a live interactive immersive experience that keeps audience members and artists safe during a pandemic?” Howsam shared, “In the spring of 2020, we produced two online festivals, Site-Specific 2020 and Site-Specific Rebirth. These events were interactive, with a drinking game attached to the show themes, but we also relied on technology to connect with our community. Zoetrope is the solution to putting our audience and actors back in the same space while keeping both safe.”
Zoetrope is supported by and developed at Guild Hall’s John Drew Theater and will take place on Friday, April 23 at 5pm, 5:45pm, 6:30pm, 8pm, 8:45pm, and 9:30pm and Saturday, April 24 at 3:30pm, 4;15pm, 5pm, 5:45pm, 6:30pm, 8pm, 8:45pm, and 9:30pm. Additional support for Exquisite Corpse Company is provided by fiscal sponsor, Fractured Atlas.
Tickets are $50 per 2-person box and $30 per 1-person box and space is limited to no more than five audience members per performance, lasting approximately 35 minutes.