Extremely Public Displays of Privacy
Audiences are encouraged to stray outside the usual boundaries of theatre art in Extremely Public Displays of Privacy, a three-part performance experience from New Paradise Laboratories. The interactive cross-media, music and theatre piece begins online on September 2 as part of the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival, then travels through Center City Philadelphia and concludes with a live show as part of the Philly Fringe in September. It then continues to play through October 1.
Audiences will delve deeply into the evolving relationship between Fess Elliot – mother, schoolteacher and undiscovered singer/songwriter, and Beatrix Luff (Bea) – performance artist, “cool hunter,” and mysterious entrepreneur – as they meet online. First, Bea sweeps Fess off her feet and into a surreal game of escalating public dares; then Fess begins to question who Bea really is and just how public she wants her life to be.
The boundary-crossing, award-winning director Whit MacLaughlin tempts the adventurous theatregoer to engage with the work in new ways by merging the virtual and real worlds through the three very different acts. “Act 1 begins in the Internet,” says MacLaughlin. “Then Acts 2 and 3 get you up and out of your chair – keyboard-tapping fingers go on holiday – and you investigate the physical world as you might the digital world. We’re aggressively exploring the web as a performance space,” he continues. “Can the web be a place where art happens, not just where you find out about it? We are making a piece not about the Internet – but inside the Internet. “
New Paradise Laboratories began to explore the world of online relationships and social media in the groundbreaking 2009 Live Arts Festival show, Fatebook, in which 13 young actors assumed fictional identities and formed relationships on Facebook, culminating in a live show. Other Live Arts Festival shows include FREEDOM CLUB (2010), BATCH: An American Bachelor/ette Party Spectacle (2007) and Planetary Enzyme Blues (2005). Philadelphia Magazine has called NPL’s work “completely original… funny, and, most importantly, wildly entertaining.”
Read the full show press release below.
New Paradise Laboratories (NPL) was founded to create surprising, meticulous, spiritually challenging, and wholly distinctive experimental theater productions that investigate physical expression, on-stage and in life. These productions are assembled using collaborative creative processes developed by the company. The work tends to value wild humor, shock, a concern for history, a muscular visual sensibility, and a fascination with the utopian impulse. Furthermore, NPL uses the fruits of its experimentation to benefit the artistic and audience community as a whole. Under the artistic direction of Obie and Barrymore Award winner Whit MacLaughlin, previous Live Arts shows include: FREEDOM CLUB (2010), FATEBOOK (2009), BATCH (2007).
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