Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky.
~ Kahlil Gibran
Follow me up our metaphorical tree. American Myth is our root system, imbedded in the soil of our community. The Center is our trunk, providing the core structure of our organization. The branches, then, are the ways in which we reach out to our community. Our poems in the sky. As I mentioned in Center, full productions are merely one way in which we will deliver our product of new American Myths. Over time, our tree will develop in ways we cannot foresee, some limbs will fall off, and others will spring up. Right now, though, we are a simple sapling with a few branches just beginning to form.
Our first two branches are entirely new ventures, which are both exciting and frightening for the same reason: the unknown. Beginning in 2017, the AMC will begin producing a podcast entitled Mythville. The ingredients and the process of this format are evolving quite rapidly, so for now, I will speak more generally and future blogposts will address the specifics. We aim to take a short-form old story, like a fable, song, or folk tale, and put it alongside a bit of history from Appalachia. We will choose these ingredients based on the current conversation we are having with the rest of our work. For instance, in 2017 we will begin our investigation of America surrounding the ideas of tribalism, fear of the other, and inherited hate. These ideas will change or evolve from year to year, but this is where we will start. Once we have our old story and our chosen history, we will marry them and discover a new American Myth. The mission for Mythville is twofold: to revive our history through an old story and to introduce our community to the tool of American Myth.
The second branch will be pop-up theatre, which the AMC will generate and perform throughout the Asheville region. Using story culled from future full productions as a jumping off point, a small ensemble will use a devising process called Dream Pieces to physically explore the AMC's current conversation. They will create a collection of stand-alone 5-15 minute pieces that can be performed anywhere a nine foot diameter circle can be drawn. These pieces are to be played in public, inspired by the busking model popular in Asheville. The goals of pop-up theatre are to physically investigate the ideas of our current conversation and to invite new members into the conversation by meeting them in the community.
Looking to 2018, the AMC aims to share its first full length production, The Ballad of Romeo and Juliet. This will be the culmination of the conversation we have been having over the past year surrounding the ideas of tribalism, fear of the other, and inherited hate. We aim to use what we have discovered through our other branches to inform the final product, how we present it and how we talk about it. In conjunction with the full theatrical production, the AMC will hold roundtables where the community will be invited to break bread together and discuss the relevance they found in the current new American Myth. In addition to food and discussion, special guests from the community will be invited to speak on how their fields of expertise may apply to the new American Myth that has been presented. This event is an attempt to keep the conversation going within the community after the final curtain call.
This is how we will begin, as a small sapling growing amidst the Appalachian forest. If you see us out there, help us grow. A smile can be our sunshine and a few coins can be the rain.