There's Something About America (2013 - 2015)
The Dramatic Focus
To discover the theatrical aesthetic required for devising a performance piece that creatively transforms America’s clash of polarized social and cultural positions into a progressively deeper and more reflexively aware encounter of persons: self and other
The Aesthetic Aim
To provide audiences with an experience of their own social and political polarization that will alter the way they currently experience, understand, and respond to the pattern of polarized thinking and feeling that currently constrain them as individuals and undermine the civic vitality of the nation.
In the words of Co-Creator, John Gould Rubin, “the aim is to devise the aesthetic for a theatrical experience that enables audience members to gain at least a momentary liberation from the inner constraints of their prejudgment and certitude – and to experience first-hand that the inner shift from certainty and righteousness to curiosity and empathy is intrinsically and personally dramatic, entertaining, and compelling.”
The Insight Research
TÉA designed a two-part Insight research plan for There’s Something About America.
TÉA trained the Company members in the Insight approach to conflict analysis, who then explored the dramatic heart of polarization in New York City and beyond by engaging in hour-long, one-on-one Insight conversations with over 50 individuals. Each Insight conversation opened with the following set of questions:
When you think about polarization in America, what problems come to mind?
What do you find problematic about this?
What choices or decision do you find yourself making as a result of this problem?
TÉA designed and facilitated a sequence of ten Insight Design Labs in which Company members sought to answer the following question: “How does the drama without become the drama within?” (That is to say: how can what we do on the stage facilitate an enhanced awareness of the inner drama of thinking, feeling, and deciding we carry on within us?) To this end, Company members worked together in a series of collaborative theatrical exercises and experiments designed to:
Shape their Insight conversations into performance pieces,
Try out a range of experiments in theatrical aesthetics, and
Explore the possibilities in employing social media, interactive audience engagement, and various artistic genres for enhancing the reflexive awareness of audience members
The Performance Piece
TÉA work-shopped scenes, aesthetic experiments, and preliminary sketches of the performance piece in a series of Insight Design Labs at Studio 145 at Intersections International in New York City.
Co-Creators: Vieve Radha Price, John Gould Rubin
Artistic Director: Vieve Radha Price
Director: John Gould Rubin
Contributing Writers: Chukwuma Obasi, Chelsea Frei, Karen Eilbacher, Sarah Wharton, Jason Gray, Adriana Rossetto, Salomé Krell, Bronwen Carson
Choreographer: Bronwen Carson
Composer: Kwan Fi Lam