A Happenstance Manifesto (11/11/2015)
- We embrace the ephemeral nature of theatre.
2. Let the players make the play.
Theatre has become specialized: playwright, director, actor, designer. We prefer a model in which a company of “players” prepares an event for an audience. We share responsibility for as many elements of a production as possible: research, costumes, props, publicity, sets, text, structure, music, and performance. We believe the resulting organic whole is rich and rewarding and offers a refreshing integrity.
3. The experience of the audience is paramount.
The fundament of theatre is the meeting of performer and audience. We seek to offer in the moment of that meeting an elevated experience, one that nourishes the life of the audience with beauty, humor, emotion and surprise.
4. Structure need not be linear narrative.
Painting, music, literature, poetry and film actively play with structure. (E.g., cubism, a-tonality, shifting narrators, flashbacks, etc.) Theatre can do the same. Whereas experiments in the more durable works of these other arts can survive for generations, our theatre must be valid in the present moment. But to be valid, theatrical structure need not be a literal linear narrative.
We believe one never “gets the whole story.” There is always another perspective, element or event unseen or untold. We incorporate this truth in the making of our plays.
5. “Do the extraordinary with the ordinary.”*
Using the simplest means to convey images and ideas reminds us all of the power of the human imagination, body, and spirit. Ultimately the exercise of these aspects of humanity is the purpose of theatre. We want our theatre and its players to be active in that exercise, and not burdened or hidden with layers of artifice.
*Etienne Decroux, 1898-1991