9. 68 HAYWOOD
I am happy to announce that I am working with the city of Asheville to produce the inaugural full theatrical event of The Ballad of R & J during the month of June 2018, at the 68 Haywood Street lot in the heart of downtown.
This empty lot has been tied up in bureaucracy for the past couple of years—so much so that the locals have taken to calling it the “Pit of Despair.” When I saw it, though, I saw the Dionysian Theatre of Acropolis. With the help of scenic designer Arnel Sancianco, and costume designer, Caitlin McLeod, we will transform it into the perfect setting for this long gestating project.
Instead of an outdoor theatre show, I'm describing this event as corner busking turned block party with a theatrical piece in the center. As the threshold to the event opens, we will simply play music for the first half hour or so, attracting attention and drawing in passersby. We will have an open door policy with donation only ticketing. It is my hope that this enables folk to join us for the time they have and give based on their experience. I aim to partner with a food truck so that our audience can break bread with us before, during or after the show. Finally, Arnel and I are working on a testimonial board, which will serve as a sort of passive talk back. It will pose prompts to the conversation we hope to start with the piece prior to the show and provide a space for response after the show.
All of these choices are the culmination of my Year Zero listening tour of Asheville. To look back on the preceding posts is to see an evolution of thought. I am attempting to create an event tailored to a community that embraces creativity outside of the box. As a part of this evolution, the idea of pop-up theatre has gone through a metamorphosis. Leading up to and interspersed with this event I am attempting to design a civic outreach program, which will bring theatrical bursts of The Ballad into the communities of Asheville. The idea is to bring the show to folks before asking them to come to us. This pop-up program will be comprised of stand-alone 15 minute scenes that culminate in a tangible, personal invitation to the full theatrical event.
There's plenty of work ahead, but the process has finally commenced. More to come in the new year.