Participatory performance investigates the ways we respond to present and imminent danger.
December 1 – January 25 at The Flea Theater
The Flea Theater presents TAKE CARE, by Niegel Smith (pictured here) and Todd Shalom. This world premiere production marks Smith’s directorial debut at his new artistic home and will feature The Bats, the resident acting company at the Flea. Previews start December 1 with opening slated for December 10.
TAKE CARE is a participatory performance that investigates the ways we respond to present and imminent danger. This evening-length performance gathers and reconfigures our personal language around emergency preparedness, abandonment, and consolation. Niegel Smith writes: “I wanted to make a piece for our resident acting company, The Bats, that engages them as interpretive and generative artists. I invited my long-time collaborator Todd Shalom (Elastic City) to create a performance that explores The Bats’ most urgent personal and global concerns. So, we’re inviting theatergoers inside a vicious hurricane — a perfect storm to expose the ways we take care of and neglect one another.”
TAKE CARE includes individualized prompts for audience participation alongside scripted moments for The Bats. Audiences will have the opportunity to choose their desired level of participation—they can be on stage or around it.
The production features The Bats: Tommy Bernardi (The Nomad, Student Body), Maki Borden, Rachel Lin (Mary-Kate Olsen is in Love), Ashton Muñiz (The Blind), Chris Murphy, Rebecca Rad (The Mysteries), Brittane Rowe (The Mysteries), Isabella Sazak (Sarah Flood in Salem Mass), Ryan Stinnett (The Nomad), and Catherine Woodard (The Blind), Hye Young Chyun, Taylor Edelhart, Ethan Hardy, Jax Jackson, Matthew Stango, and Jennifer Tchiakpe. The creative team includes Daniel Soule (scenic design), Amith Chandrashaker (lighting design), Claudia Brown (costume design), Miles Polaski (sound design), Ethan Hardy (choreography), Taylor Edelhart (dramaturgy), Cristina Pitter and Hye Young Chyun (props masters), Lilleth Glimcher (assistant director), and Keith Paul Medelis (production stage manager).
TODD SHALOM (Playwright) works with text, sound and image to re-contextualize the body in space using vocabulary of the everyday. He is the founder and director of non-profit participatory walks organization, Elastic City. In this role, Todd leads his own walks, collaborates with artists to lead joint walks, and works with artists in a variety of disciplines to adapt their expertise to the participatory walk format. He often collaborates with performance artist/director Niegel Smith. Together, they conceive and stage interactive performances in public and private environments. Todd is also a ringleader of Willing Participant. Willing Participant whips up urgent poetic responses to crazy shit that happens. Todd is a member of the core faculty in Pratt Institute’s new MFA in Writing. His work has been presented by organizations such as Abrons Art Center, Brooklyn Museum, The Invisible Dog, ISSUEProject Room, The Museum of Modern Art, The New Museum, P.S. 122 and Printed Matter. Todd is a graduate of the MFA Writing Program at California College of the Arts and also holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Boston University.
NIEGEL SMITH (Playwright/Director) is a theater director and performance artist who sculpts social spaces into unique communal environments where we make new rituals, excavate our pasts and imagine future narratives. His theater work has been produced by Classical Theatre of Harlem, HEREArts Center, Hip Hop Theatre Festival, Magic Theatre, New York Fringe Festival, Phoenix Theatre Ensemble, The Public Theater, Summer Play Festival and Todd Theatre, and his walks have been produced by Abrons Arts Center, American Realness, Dartmouth College, Elastic City, Jack, The New Museum, Prelude Festival, PS 122, the Van Alen Institute and VisualAIDS. He often collaborates with artist Todd Shalom. Together, they conceive and stage interactive performances in public and private environments. Smith was the associate director of the Tony Award winning musical FELA! – restaging that production in London, Lagos and its world tour, assistant directed the off-Broadway production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and both the Broadway and off-Broadway productions of Tony Kushner’s Caroline, or Change. He has worked on the artistic staffs of The Public Theater, Trinity Repertory Company and Providence Black Rep. He is a 35th Anniversary Artist-in-Residence at Second Stage Theatre and the Associate Artistic Director of Elastic City. Most recently, he directed Taylor Mac’s HIR at Playwrights Horizons, playing now through December 6. A graduate of Dartmouth College, Smith has received grants and fellowships from Theater Communications Group, Tucker Foundation, and Van Lier Fund. Before surviving high school in Detroit, he grew up in the North Carolina piedmont, fishing with his dad, shopping with his mom and inventing tall-tale fantasies with his two younger brothers.
THE BATS are the resident acting company members of The Flea Theater. Each year over a thousand actors audition for a place in this unique company. The Bats perform in extended runs of challenging classic and new plays. The Bats have recently appeared in premieres by A.R. Gurney, Will Eno, Adam Rapp, Beau Willimon, Mac Wellman, Elizabeth Swados, Thomas Bradshaw, Itamar Moses, Sheila Callaghan, Julian Sheppard, Ken Urban, Tommy Smith, Jonathan Reynolds, Trista Baldwin, Laurel Haines, Qui Nguyen, Sean Graney, and Amy Freed.
THE FLEA THEATER, under Artistic Director Niegel Smith and Producing Director Carol Ostrow, is one of New York's leading off-off-Broadway companies. Winner of a Special Drama Desk Award for outstanding achievement, Obie Awards and an Otto for political theater, The Flea has presented over 100 plays and numerous dance and live music performances since its inception in 1996. Past productions include premieres by Steven Banks, Thomas Bradshaw, Kim Davies, Bathsheba Doran, Will Eno, Karen Finley, Amy Freed, Sean Graney, A.R. Gurney, Hamish Linklater, Enrique Gutiérrez Ortiz Monasterio, Itamar Moses, Anne Nelson, Qui Nguyen, Adam Rapp, Jonathan Reynolds, Roger Rosenblatt, Elizabeth Swedos, Mac Wellman, and Brian Watkins. Successes include Drama Desk nominated She Kills Monsters, These Seven Sicknesses, Restoration Comedy, The Mysteries and eight World Premieres by A.R. Gurney including the WSJ Best New Play of 2013, Family Furniture.
TAKE CARE runs December 1, 2015 – January 25, 2016, Thursday-Monday at 9PM. We will have a special first preview on Tuesday, December 1, and we will not have a performance on Monday, December 14. The production will take a hiatus after Sunday, December 20 for the holidays, and resume performances on January 7. Tickets are $15 - $35 with the lowest priced tickets available on a first-come, first-served basis. The Flea is located at 41 White Street between Church and Broadway, three blocks south of Canal, close to the A/C/E, N/R/Q, 6, J/M/Z and 1 subway lines. Tickets are $15-$25-$35 and are available by calling 212-352-3101 or online at www.theflea.org.