Sunday, August 3, 2014

dog & pony DC Premieres Radical Production, TOAST This Fall

From our friends at dog & pony dc...

dog & pony DC Presents Toast at Multiple Venues, Washington, DC

dog & pony dc premieres its devised play Toast this fall, as a secret society of inventors invites the audience to collaboratively push the boundaries of current technology in a participatory-performance-meets-science-fair. The radical approach of Toast distills ingredients for innovation and applies them in a multimedia, participatory performance that fully and transparently harnesses the audience as an integral resource for the completion of the show in performance. Toast explores invention and discovery, the development of technology, and the intricate networks that weave us together.

“I don’t want to give away too many spoilers,” Ring Leader and co-director Ivania Stack says, “but imagine that a secret society of inventors has been controlling technological innovation and invention for the past 200 years...and now they’re asking the public to help them collaborate on the next big technological leap forward.”

With Toast, dog & pony dc will continue to expand upon the elastic relationship between performer and audience, which has made them DC’s leading devised theatre company and a national leader in audience engagement and participatory theatre. dog & pony dc productions strike a delicate balance between the scripted and the improvised, embracing the potential of live theatre to its fullest. Toast will be its most ambitious expression of that potential yet.

dog & pony dc will bring their unique approach to participatory arts by using traditional and non-traditional performance spaces for Toast’s “rolling-venue” premiere from September 11 – October 18, 2014. Multiple venues throughout the Washington, DC area will host Toast’s immersive science fair environment. Following its launch at the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library at University of Maryland as part of NextNOW Fest at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, subsequent venues will include: Arnold & Porter LLP (Metro Center); Anacostia Arts Center (Anacostia); and Capitol Hill Arts Workshop (Eastern Market). Performance schedule and tickets options will be available August 11, 2014. dog & pony dc will provide numerous opportunities throughout the six-week run of Toast for audience to “Play-then- Pay”- allowing maximum flexible and affordable ways for people to attend once or repeatedly.

“The audience’s engagement drives the experience of Toast more than in any other dog & pony dc production,” says Ring Leader and co-director Rachel Grossman, “We’re expanding into new frontiers of our ‘audience integration’ principle, to explore the awesome potential of group innovation.”

As with all dog & pony dc productions, a highly collaborative process ensures the most enduring ideas reach their full potential. Initial devising of Toast began in February 2013 with an 8-month collection of public events—Incubator Series—that served as the cornerstone for dramaturgical research, creative development, and workshop phases. Incubator Series was inspired by intellectual “hotbeds” such as Enlightenment-era literary salons and current day open-source chat rooms. From book club-like gatherings where sources of inspiration were investigated to scientific discussions led by different science/technology scholar and artist pairings followed by demonstrations of audience integrated works-in-progress. The initial devising phase was plotted out over the 2013 calendar year, culminating in a workshop production in December featuring one weekend each at Arena Stage and Capitol Hill Arts Workshop.

At the time of its premiere, dog & pony dc estimates over 150 “audience members” will have actively contributed intellectually and artistically to the creation of Toast, making it a uniquely “crowd-sourced” theatre production.


Devised by dog & pony dc

Directors: Rachel Grossman & Ivania Stack, with Wyckham Avery

Devising Ensemble: Ellys Abrams, Wyckham Avery, Colin K. Bills, Jordan Beck, Joan Cummins, Zach Dalton, Rachel Grossman, Melanie Harker, Jessica Lefkow, Shannon Davies Mancus, Kerry McGee, Teresa Philipp, Elaine Yuko Qualter, Lorraine Ressegger-Slone, Jon Reynolds, Justin Schneider, Rebecca Sheir, Ivania Stack, Adelaide Waldrop

2014 Co- Conspirators: Cartland Berge, Robert Fridel, Jon Lee, Jared Mezzocchi, Pete Miller

2013 Co-Conspirators: David LaCroix, Robert Friedel, Joe Palca

Design Team: Colin K. Bills, Ivania Stack, Zach Dalton, Rachel Grossman, Jenn Larsen, Kate Ahern Loveric, Jon Reynolds

Graphic Artist: Kate Ahern Loveric

Toast is funded in part by the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities, an agency supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support provided by Humanities Council of Washington, DC. Toast activities in June 2013 at Capitol Hill Arts Workshop supported in part by Capitol Hill Community Foundation. Toast Incubator Series Salon at Round House Silver Spring made possible in part by Maryland Humanities Council. Special thank you to Victor Shargai, Toast developmental sponsor.

ABOUT dog & pony dc:
dog & pony dc is an ensemble-based devised theatre company focused on providing audiences new ways to experience theatre. The company creates (“devises”) new plays as a collective (“ensemble”) which playfully explore the elastic relationship between artist and audience. dog & pony dc has been recognized as the “upstart company” blazing a new path for audience engagement in performance. The company was highlighted in Washington Post as one of the local companies working on “broadening playgoers’ understanding of the riddles theater can unravel.” Since its founding in 2008, dog & pony dc has devised and mounted seven theatrical productions, including four world premieres and two original adaptations, all created collaboratively by the ensemble. The most recent productions, Beertown and A Killing Game, have received widespread critical acclaim. Beertown was nominated for a 2011 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding New Play (the first ensemble-based devised play to receive this nomination), before making The Washington Post's top-10 shows list for 2012. Beertown made a critically acclaimed Off-Broadway debut in February 2014 and performed for participants of the Lincoln Center Theatre’s revered Directors Lab program in July 2014. A Killing Game (AKG) won “Producer’s Pick of the Fringe” and League of Cincinnati Theatre’s “Best use of Improvisation/Audience Participation” at the Cincinnati Fringe Festival in June 2013. dog & pony dc has presented about its work locally (Shakespeare Theatre, Capital Fringe) and nationally (Theatre Communications Group, Animating Democracy, Assoc. for Theater in Higher Education) and was included in American Theatre magazine’s July 2013 cover-story on immersive theatre. dog & pony dc’s next show, Toast, will premiere September 11, 2014.