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).
New Paradise Laboratories Blurs the Lines of Virtual and Live Performance with Extremely Public Displays of Privacy Sept. 2 – Oct. 1, 2011
PHILADELPHIA – 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.”
Act 1, Extremely Public
Extremely Public Displays of Privacybegins on the Internet at ExtremelyPublicDisplays.com (beginning September 2). Beatrix and Fess meet online, inside Chatroulette which pairs people randomly. In the Extremely Public Act 1, audiences can log in from anywhere at any time to spy on this developing relationship and discover the story as it unfolds – at the Extremely Public Displays website, on Facebook and in other sites. This customizable, voyeuristic experience exploits the anonymous but intimate character of the Internet as Bea begins her bold and brazen manipulation of Fess.
Schedule, September 2 – October 1: Extremely Public Displays of Privacy begins online September 2 with Act 1: Extremely Public. Act 1 is produced as part of the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and will be available continuously, for free, as new content is created and added.
Act 2, Displays
Act 2, Displays journeys offline and into the streets of Philadelphia as Beatrix sweeps Fess off her feet into a surreal game of escalating public dares. Audiences can download the free app or reserve an iPod to take a free walking tour in Fess’s shoes. Displays beckons voyeurs to slip inside the relationship between the two women and feel the intimate thrill of discovery as Bea moves Fess through the Rittenhouse Square commercial district – around corners, past restaurants and shops, and into alleys.
Schedule & Reservations, September 9 – October 1: Act 2: Displays is a self-scheduled, self-guided walking tour and is available free as a downloaded app in the iTunes store or by reserving an iPod through New Paradise Laboratories beginning September 9. For those in need of an iPod, reservations can be made between the hours of 5:00 and 8:00 p.m., September 9–11, 13–17, 19–24, and September 28–October 1. iPod reservations can be made through brownppertickets.com or by calling (215) 923-0334.
Act 3, Privacy
Displays rockets to a jarring conclusion when the secret performance location is revealed and online fantasies collide with physical realities in Privacy, the third and final act. Fess begins to question who Beatrix really is and just how public she wants her life to be. She offers her captivated followers an extremely private performance – part concert, part public revelation. For Act 3: Privacy, audience members will gather at the intersection of 17th and Sansom Streets in Center City, Philadelphia. The exact location of the performance venue will be revealed to ticket buyers at the time of attendance. Acts 2 and 3 are produced as part of the Philly Fringe.
Schedule & Tickets, September 14 – October 1: Tickets for Act 3: Privacy can be purchased in advance for $15 – $20 at brownpapertickets.com or by calling (215) 923-0334. Service fees apply to online orders.
Act 3 Performances
Preview Wednesday, September 14, 9:00 p.m. ($15)
Preview Thursday, September 15, 9:00 p.m. ($15)
Press Opening Friday, September 16, 9:00 p.m. ($15)
Saturday, September 17, 7:00 p.m. ($15)
Saturday, September 17, 9:00 p.m. ($15)
Monday, September 19, 9:00 p.m. ($20)
Tuesday, September 20, 9:00 p.m. ($20)
Wednesday, September 21, 9:00 p.m. ($20)
Thursday, September 22, 9:00 p.m. ($20)
Friday, September 23, 7:00 p.m. ($20)
Friday, September 23, 9:00 p.m. ($20)
Saturday, September 24, 7:00 p.m. ($20)
Saturday, September 24, 9:00 p.m. ($20)
Wednesday, September 28, 9:00 p.m. ($20)
Thursday, September 29, 9:00 p.m. ($20)
Friday, September 30, 7:00 p.m. ($20)
Friday, September 30, 9:00 p.m. ($20)
Saturday, October 1, 7:00 p.m. ($20)
Closing Saturday, October 1, 9:00 p.m. ($20)
Tickets for performances September 14 – 17 may also be purchased through the Live Arts Festival & Philly Fringe Box Office at (215) 413-1318 or www.livearts-fringe.org.
About the Director
Director and Co-Creator Whit MacLaughlin is the OBIE and Barrymore Award-winning artistic director of New Paradise Laboratories of Philadelphia. He has conceived, written, directed and designed 14 original performance works with the company since its inception in 1996. Prior to his founding of NPL, he was a charter member, for 17 years, of the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble, originally under the artistic direction of famed theatre teacher Alvina Krause. Since 1978, he has acted in, directed or written hundreds of theatre productions, many devised in collaborations between several producing organizations. His award-winning projects have been presented at the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival, Children’s Theatre Company of Minneapolis, Arden Theatre Company, InterAct Theatre Company, Act II Playhouse, the Chinese Art Coalition and numerous colleges and universities.
About the Production Team
Jorge Cousineau (Co-creator/ Production Video and Sound Design) has created sets, lights, sound and video for over 150 dance and theatre productions in and around Philadelphia, most notably with Arden Theatre Company, The Wilma Theater, 1812 Productions, Pig Iron Theatre Company, Group Motion Dance Company and Rennie Harris PureMovement. He is a recipient of an Independence Foundation Fellowship and was awarded the F. Otto Haas Award for Emerging Theatre Artist. He has received several Barrymore Awards as well as a Lortel Award for his sound design on the New York production of Opus and was Philadelphia Weekly’s Artist of the Year in 2010.
Rosemarie McKelvey (Costume Design) is a member of the Resident Ensemble of Artists. Other theatre companies she has worked with include the Minneapolis Children’s Theatre, Arden Theatre Company, The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Pig Iron Theatre Company, 1812 Productions, Theatre Exile, Actors Theatre of Louisville, and Azuka Theatre.
Annie Enneking (Co-creator) has been a performing artist in the Twin Cities, Minnesota area for twenty-eight years, working as an actor, dancer and singer/songwriter. She is currently recording her third album. Enneking was a 2010 Playwrights’ Center McKnight Theatre Artist Fellow.
Brittany Freece (Co-creator) is an advertising artist, Internet personality and bon vivant who currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.
Larry Loebell (Co-creator/ Dramaturg) is a Philadelphia playwright, dramaturg, screenwriter and teacher. His most recent play, House, Divided, was awarded a new play commission from the National Council for Jewish Culture and was nominated for a Barrymore Award as Outstanding New Play. Loebell currently teaches playwriting and dramaturgy at Arcadia University and teaches film history as an adjunct Associate Professor at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.
Emily E. Rea (Production Coordinator and Continuity) Originally from Northern California, Rea is a freelance theatre artist in New York and Philadelphia. This past March, she directed and co-produced an original piece with Them Hands Productions titled Sandy and Soil at the Brooklyn Lyceum. She has worked with New Paradise Laboratories as an assistant director, dramaturg, stage manager and production manager since 2007. This fall she will begin an MFA program at CUNY’s Brooklyn College in Performance and Interactive Media.
Rick Banister and Johnny Benson (Web Design) Banister and Benson have been executing art and technology projects together for more than ten years. Their current work is comprised of forward-thinking interactive web projects. Banister is a partner at P’unk Avenue heading up design and previously worked as an art director at Red Tettemer. He has developed interactive solutions for clients like University of Pennsylvania, Duke University, Time Warner Cable, and Pennsylvania Tourism. John is an engineer at P’unk Avenue and was previously a principle at Educated Guess Work. They love invention, problem solving and the beautiful simplicity that emerges from the right solution.
Extremely Public Displays of Privacy has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through the Philadelphia Theatre Initiative, the National Endowment for the Arts, the MAP Fund, a program of Creative Capital supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation, The Independence Foundation New Theatre Works Initiative, and the Wyncote Foundation.
Megan Wendell, Canary Promotion 215.690.4065, megan [at] canarypromo [dot] com