Today, Cry Havoc Theater Company announced plans for " The Cenotaph, " a large - scale public art installation, which will honor victims of gun violence and be unveiled before the opening of its upcoming production of Babel at the AT & T Performing Arts Center in the Dallas Arts District this summer.
Teens with Cry Havoc Theater Company spent their spring break on the East Coast with mothers whose children were killed at school, friends who survived, and politicians at a juncture when it comes to guns. Hady Mawajdeh of KERA traveled with the group. They’re devising a play called Babel based on the interviews they conducted. It’s set to open July 6— a day before the second anniversary of the shootings of Dallas police officers downtown— as part of the AT&T Performing Arts Center’s season of the Elevator Project.
For 14 days Cry Havoc Theater Company artistic director Mara Richards Bim worked with seven female and six male actors from seven high schools. They created and rehearsed from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day. The result was the 70-minute play, A History of Everything, currently playing at the Margo Jones Theatre in Fair Park.
Walking into the Margo Jones space feels like entering a rehearsal space. To the left is an assortment of props, seemingly endless, that have been methodically assembled and organized by Korey Parker. Scrawled butcher block paper scrolls across the walls, present but not particularly noticeable, certainly not legible. The floor is covered with a map of the world that is covered with raised clues of a sort to what will transpire. Lori Honeycutt (technical director) has designed a set that both confirms the what and inserts question marks about the how.
In exciting news for Dallas' emerging artists as well as the audiences that love them, the AT&T Performing Arts Center is greatly expanding a program that gives them a shot at performing on the big stage. Now in its third season, the program, called the Elevator Project, will nearly double in size, with the number of productions increasing from five to eight. The season begins in September.
First established in 2014, the Elevator Project gives small and emerging arts groups space to perform on ATTPAC's campus, with support from the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs. Originally it was geared toward theater groups, but grew in the second season to encompass dance, music, and spoken word.
This third season awards slots to eight companies that are brand new to the series. Three productions will be staged in the Studio Theatre, located on the sixth floor of the Wyly Theatre; four productions in Hamon Hall at the Winspear Opera House; and one on the donor reflecting pool in Sammons Park, on the campus of the AT&T Performing Arts Center. All shows are $25 and general admission.
What setting is most appropriate for an allegorical play about our absurd and surreal political landscape? A carnival, as in The Great American Sideshow, a Kitchen Dog Theater and Cry Havoc Theatre collaboration opening at the Trinity Arts Center.
Cry Havoc Theater Company pulls no punches with its latest devised work, the anti-Trump The Great American Sideshow.
Since Nov. 9, 2016, it has been easy to predict that arts-makers would comment on the political moment through louder art. Among the classic plays that theater artists have revived nationally are Eugene Ionesco’s Rhinoceros and Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi, absurdist works that are remarkably evocative of the new president. An adaptation of George Orwell’s 1984 is on Broadway. Then there’s Julius Caesar, with which New York’s Shakespeare in the Park stirred so much controversy for a Trump-looking title character that outdoor Shakespeare organizations across the country, including Shakespeare Dallas, received death threats.
This year in our area, three original works have been the most pointed in criticism of the current administration and his diehard supporters. Two were at the Festival of Independent Theatres—Audacity Theatre Lab’s adaptation of the Charlie Chaplin film The Great Dictator, and Jeff Swearingen’s The Caveman Play, performed by young adult outfit The Basement. The latter was a sly, clever commentary on pack mentality and some humans’ refusal to believe in discovery, progress and logic.
Cry Havoc Theater Company’s The Great American Sideshow, directed by Mara Richards Bim, doesn’t even try to veil its indictment of 45. A co-production with Kitchen Dog Theater and using KDT’s current home at the Trinity River Arts Center, the devised work was created by teenagers from high schools across the Metroplex.
The setting: a circus sideshow where the freaks include Fortune Teller (Eboni Bolton), Bird Girl (Zephira Zithri Guimbatan), Bearded Lady (Keyshawn Lefall), Strong Man (Frankie Mars), Noodle Man (Luis Matos), Pop Eye (Tilah McGrway), Pin Cushion (Jordan Mercado), Narcoleptic Chameleon (Sheldrick Pearl), Sword Swallower (Zion Reynolds) and conjoined twins Ruth (Regina Juarez) and Ruth Ann (Michelle Ann Marie). Mother (Trinity Gordon) watches out for young acrobat Lily (fourth grader Maren Bennett). Fabian Rodriguez is a Barker.
The floundering freak show is purchased by a man named Otto Baron (the obvious Trump stand-in who is never seen), who sends Narcissa (Valeria Marin) to help whip things into shape. Most hilariously, Baron has a golden bird named Birdie (De’Aveyon Murphy) who has short, hashtag-ready outbursts that begin with a “tweet, tweet” (see our short video above). Journalist (Mary Bandy) tries to get the story and keeps being stifled by Baron and his supporters.