Throwing Tennis Balls and Pushing Boundaries

Director Daniel Fish, and an ensemble of 5 actors, are producing a piece at Chocolate Factory in Long Island City, Queens. The piece is based on audio recordings of the late and highly popular David Foster Wallace. I was drawn to this article because it seems very similar to the production of Gob Squad’s The Kitchen we watched for class, but has a few differences.

Fish reads text and directions based on works by David Foster Wallace to the actors, who listen through headsets they wear for the entire show. Fish uses a different script each time, so the performance is never the same. The actors never know exactly what they are going to be doing or saying. These actors must be fearless. It is challenging enough to perform a rehearsed piece of theatre in front of an audience. The actors must also have an incredible amount of trust in Fish, and in each other.

The article I found had a picture from a rehearsal for the show. Three actors are wearing  headsets, and two of them are dumping a box of tennis balls on the other one. It definitely appears to be a non-traditional piece of theatre.

I would be very interested in observing their rehearsal process. I’d like to see if they practice certain movements, or bits that they use every time, or if the story is completely new each performance.

This show might not make any sense, in fact it might be really bad, but that’s not the point. If we don’t push boundaries theatre is going to disappear. We have to continue to be creative and innovative in order to keep the art alive, even if that means we make really weird plays.

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