Theater Grottesco dispels assumptions about what theater is all about in its new production “Action at a Distance,” which opens at the Santa Fe Playhouse on October 1.
“We’re breaking the essential rules of theater while keeping the core of theater intact,” explains Theater Grottesco actor and cast member Tara Khozein.
“Our conversations during rehearsals have included the political and social implications of our process. We’ve been asking ourselves all kinds of questions, including what we think the audience will experience.”
“Action at a Distance” is set up more like an open rehearsal than a formal show. Created by Theater Grottesco in collaboration with the Illinois, movement-based duo Lisa Fay and Jeff Glassman, the work is a completely scripted production where six different plays collide all at once on stage.
It’s based on theater techniques that Fay and Glassman have developed during the past 40 years.
“These techniques enable actors to provide verbal, sonic and physical material to multiple scenes simultaneously,” says Khozein. “Characters can interact across different scenes. Actors can transform into multiple characters, playing physically in one scene while providing a bodiless voice in another. Gestural choreography is used to jump from one time and place to another.”
“Action at a Distance” stars Khozein, Danielle Louise Reddick, John Flax and Koppany Pusztai. Glassman has been working with the cast in town, while Fay has been sharing her ideas via Skype. The two theater companies received a grant from the Network of Ensemble Theaters to support three weeks of working together.
“This is really a work in development, a chance for Lisa and Jeff to see some of their ideas realized by Theater Grottesco,” Khozein adds. “It’s been fascinating and challenging for all of us. We feel like we’re having a poetic experience.”