Ensemble Open Call for Present Shock (National)

Currently seeking ensemble members with a strong multi-faceted background in acting, movement and improvisation for this new conceptual project led by Artistic Director and multidisciplinary theater artist Seth Lepore. After reading a description of the project below please send a resume, cover letter and links to work samples to seth[at]sethums[dot]com. Auditions are on an ongoing, invite-only basis. If you live outside the Northeast region, auditions can take place by Skype.

Development begins in May 2015 with up to four three-week residencies in different parts of the U.S. Premiere is set to take place in early 2016. MUST be available for the entire development period which includes 9-12 weeks scattered throughout 2015 in three week increments as well as touring in blocked timeframes from 2016 through 2018.

PRESENT SHOCK is a multimedia theater piece, based on the best-selling book by media theorist Douglas Rushkoff, that will examine and challenge our relationship to the immersive technology that surrounds us – what is gained and what is lost? What happens to the present when we multi-task? What does it mean to be always on, always connected? What effect does all this “connecting” have on meaningful interactions between people?

PRESENT SHOCK will explore his ideas in ways that, pointedly, are only possible through the live human exchange of performance. Aside from the script, the most important elements of the piece will be the physical environment we create and the characters we “people” the stage with.

With a cast of five (including Lepore) the ensemble will play multiple roles, bringing to life these kinds of inner realities. The development process will include mini-workshops with choreographer Catherine Cabeen and the new media designer.

The physical environment will be influenced by the work of visual artist James Turrell, who plays with visual perception and the ways it can shift without our being aware of it – the perfect corollary to the Present Shock idea. Our goal is for the space (which is manipulated subtly through immersive lighting and video projection) to become an ensemble member, with an environment personifying our fluctuating emotional and psychological states and what Turrell calls our “accelerated habits of looking”.

As more discussions surface about the appropriate ways to incorporate (or ignore) technology in the theatrical landscape, this project confronts the “always-on” real-time realities that constantly fight for our attention. The goal is to create a simplified space where the audience lives inside of digital streams by humanizing the process. By immersing the audience in an environment that is both welcoming and gripping, the ensemble demonstrates the multiple choices we have at our disposal, and how that affects us not only as individuals but a culture as a whole.

We will use the platform of live theater to take technology’s limitless capabilities and refine them into a sparse, yet defined interior. We will advance the way multimedia interplays by allowing audience reactions to shift both the ensemble’s choices, as well as the tones and hues of colors enveloping them. Currently there are many artists experimenting with not only how the audience views their work, but more so, how they experience it. Present Shock aims to not only get rid of the fourth wall but to examine why it exists in the first place. The audience will be invited to sit or stand where they see fit.

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