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Myths, reality, and being together

Ten Thousand Things planted the seed for three new works; first looks are April 9 and 10.

A cast of Ten Thousand Things (TTT) artists logging onto a video call isn't irregular these days, but this time they're not doing a play reading. Instead, they'll be discussing and performing snippets of three developing works in an event aptly called "Artist Created Work," April 9 and 10.

"During a TTT 'think tank' session with artist core members, many expressed the desire to innovate and explore what creativity and expression might be possible during the pandemic," artistic director Marcela Lorca says. "We have many restrictions right now, but what we can do is 'give room to the exploration of what's possible.'"

Ten Thousand Things divided artists into groups based on the artistic style they were interested in. Past that, though, it was all up to the artists to decide what they wanted to do.

Meghan Kriedler, unsurprisingly, gravitated toward music along with George Keller and T. Mychael Rambo, and together they created a three-song piece called "On the Rocks." The idea was born out of conversations about finding light in the darkness and the symbolism of birds; music and physical theater were only the jumping off points.

"Mostly, we began our collaboration with where we were in life on the day and let our seemingly random conversations steer us to a landing point," Kriedler says.

On the other hand, actor and improvisor Joy Dolo decided to learn more about movement and choreography with Marcus Quinones and Brian Bose, citing the latter's work as inspiration for her exploration.

Their piece, "F.E.A.R.," stands for False Evidence Appearing Real and delves into some of the trio's emotions as they face the world's conflicts. While choreography can skew to the abstract, Dolo hopes their work uses just the right amount to help everyone reflect on these difficult topics. "We hope to showcase a narrative of the duality of fear and joy," she adds.

Both "On the Rocks" and "F.E.A.R." include physical theater, but the third group of Aimee K. Bryant, Elise Langer, Tracey Maloney, and Karen Wiese-Thompson layers another element with clowning.

At the beginning of the process, the group discussed how much they missed everyone being in the same room, and so they worked toward facilitating that by setting their play outside in a park. For now, though, "Everything Sucks & Everything Is Hilarious" will have to show its themes of joy, kindness, and togetherness with adapted versions over Zoom. "We want those to be entertaining too, and not just us explaining 'what would be if…'" Langer says.

The future of these projects is undetermined after this week, so if any sound interesting, make sure to see them now. And hey, if they ever become an expanded, finished product, you'll be able to say you were there from the beginning.

"We are very open to further development," Lorca says. "We treasure the creativity of our artists and hope that these seeds continue to grow, either in association with the theater or independently."


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