The Artist’s Laboratory Theatre is teaming up with Tri Cycle Farm for a dramatic series entitled New Now. It is a site-specific performance series that investigates consciousness, presence, and interpersonal relationships in a modern world infiltrated with social media, technology and disparate narrative. On May 29-June 1, they will present a workshop production of the New Now at Tri Cycle farm. This will be the first of several performances from the project.

“We are interested in what is lost and gained with the constant use and dependence on instant information and communication,” said Erika Wilhite, director of Artist’s Laboratory Theatre. “I see that social media has given us almost unlimited access to each other and to information— and I love it. I gain so much in the New Now. Things are easier now. Everything I need seems to be at my fingertips. I can access most things I need with the swipe of a screen, and that is useful to me. I can communicate to so many people. It is great for theatre planning and organizing! But I can also stay plugged in way too long.”

Wilhite found herself taking her phone to bed so she could check her email upon waking. Although she loves her work, she found the quality of her attention had become compromised due to multitasking. She began to wonder if she was really present in situations or even paying attention. These questions formulated the basis for the play, but she insists New Now is here to raise questions rather than provide answers.

“We don’t ever want to diagnose or prescribe through theatre,” said Wilhite. “We simply want to look closely at this because it feels like it might be an important question. It feels big. The New Now refers to everything that is different today because of technology and progress.

“The best thing about the performing arts is that it is alive and now. The talent of a performer is in her ability to imagine, focus, and stay present. So the very nature of theatre is relative to the project. But we like to think of ourselves as ‘orchestrators of encounters,’ because we always look for different ways to engage our audiences. We strive to make to performances that are surprising and fun, but also relevant.”

Artist’s Laboratory Theatre decided to team with Tri Cycle Farm because farming is all about sustainability, community and renewal.

“We ask ourselves in this project if are we living ‘personally sustainable’ lives,” Wilhite said. “I ask myself how long can I keep up this pace and split focus before I burn out? The farm is many things for us. It is a beautiful Place with gorgeous natural staging opportunities for theatre. It is an inspiration in its function. We are also interested in what food and poverty look like in the New Now, and Tri Cycle has the mission to reduce food insecurity. And the director of the farm, Don Bennett, is such a great collaborator! He is just as interested in the New Now as we are.”

The Artist’s Laboratory Theatre is an experimental and site-specific theatre company. Since their inception in 2010 they have pursued a mission of exploring and expanding the audience’s role in live theatre by creating intimate and unique performances in surprising places. They are a long-term project-based company dedicated to the development of original plays. They recycle and repurpose space and text. They experiment with form and content, and use a broad range of subject matter and literary forms to make theatre. They extend their process to our audiences and collaborate with them in our research, devising sessions, and rehearsals. They adapt their plays to locations that are not necessarily built to serve theatrical purposes. Their site-specific plays have been produced in a variety of nontraditional spaces such as shop-fronts, alleyways, parking garages, a residential home, motel rooms, and even the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

The group has launched a Kickstarter project.  Help support them by clicking this link and donating.

For more information, visit: ArtLabTheatre.com

 (Photo courtesy of Artist’s Laboratory Theatre)