Decomposition Instead of Collapse: Playing Changes with Daniel Alexander Jones, Part Two

Collective Editors’ Note: This essay series is by and for the theater community, and hopes to offer regenerative, communal thinking in the face of industry changes. We are providing a brave space for artists and administrators to focus on creating present and future solutions out of, or beyond our past [perceived] failures. This series builds upon Annalisa Dias’ essay Decomposition Instead of Collapse: Dear Theater Leaders Be Like Soil, originally curated and published by Rescripted and Nothing for the Group. To mirror the mycelial intent of this series, we decided to expand our collaboration and partner with 3Views, amplifying this content on multiple platforms. All editing for this series is done on a voluntary basis, and we offer a small honorarium to our writers for their perspectives. We encourage you to support/donate to our platforms so we can continue this important work. Thank you to Stephanie Ybarra, Lauren Halvorsen, and Annalisa Dias for being originating thought partners in this work. This series is published in a commons with 3Views on Theater, Rescripted and NFTG.

You can read Part One of Playing Changes on 3Views, and Part Two below, here on Rescripted.

A note from pharaoh: Re-Membering oneself is a concept I first learned from Daniel Alexander Jones in 2015, on a production of Gem of the Ocean. Borrowed in part from Toni Morrison’s rememory, re-membering is the practice of pulling together oneself from experiences, stories, and the fragmented pieces that are often all we have at our disposal. It’s the act of allowing all of the pieces to arrive at a state of wholeness, and this whole out of the many is a concept critical to be a practitioner of Theatrical Jazz, the practice I would inherit during our time together. 

Jones has become a lifelong beacon for me, someone whose signal I will always look for when I’m lost. He has taught me so many lessons of freedom, of how to walk away and do it all over again, how to never lose your audacity, tenacity, or style, and for the love of all that is sacred – to not give up your voice or the ability to think on your own behalf. 

This piece has been a growth experience for both of us, as I helped Daniel, who has shaped me so deeply with this examination of his own lineages and teachers, the fruits of which you are about to read. Generated as we each stood at our own thresholds, willing each other to step through. This is the work of “playing changes to new meaning.” The practice of urging each other to open up, to name ourselves, to create something new together. Remember.

The core idea of the series that we’ve cultivated, Decomposition Instead of Collapse, is all about what we will craft even as institutions and cultural bastions are being disrupted and dismantled. This requires a conviction of purpose, or as Jones puts it in his virtual liner notes for the album Aten, “deep faith in the emergence of light from the darkness.” Jones effortlessly weaves these teachings of his mentor Dr. Constance E. Berkley with the current challenges our industry is facing, reminding us ever so sweetly, that we’ve been at this edge, this precipice, this portal, many times before. 

PLAYING CHANGES, pt. 2

 

(l-r, The Vassar College Africana Studies Core Faculty, circa 1989-1990. Professors Tukumbi Lumumba-Kasongo, Lawrence Mamiya, Joyce Bickerstaff, Obika Grey, Constance E. Berkley, Norman Hodges, and G. Moses Nkondo)
yesterday

Dr. Berkley, 

I am at your door. Continue reading “Decomposition Instead of Collapse: Playing Changes with Daniel Alexander Jones, Part Two”

Support Palestinian Theatremakers! An Open Letter in Solidarity with The Freedom Theatre in Jenin

Editor’s Note: Rescripted has always believed in sharing the unfettered and unedited opinions of our arts community as they fight for justice, and the fight for Palestine’s freedom is no different. The following is an open letter on behalf of the Jenin community, and The Freedom Theatre in the West Bank. Artistic Director Ahmed Tobasi, Producer Mustafa Sheta, and theatre graduate Jamal Abu Joas and many others were taken from their homes, physically abused and detained. Only Tobasi has been freed thus far. We join our colleagues around the world in advocating for their release, for an immediate ceasefire, and for the end of the occupation in Gaza. The letter here is presented in full, but you can read, sign, and view all signatories at this link

This letter calls for the immediate release of Mustafa Sheta, Jamal Abu Joas and all 100 members of the Jenin community detained on Wednesday 13th December. Please read the letter in full and fill in the form linked below if you would like to add your signature to the list. Completing this form will add your name to a public list on the letter itself. Your name may also be used for press opportunities. Your email will be kept confidential and only used in the event of updates, or related actions. Whilst we are particularly interested to hear from those working within the theatre industry, this letter is open for anyone to sign. So please share it widely. Sign the letter here.


We, as venues, artists and culture workers are united in our commitment to justice, dignity, freedom, and equality for all people in Israel and Palestine. We hold every life to be precious, and we grieve every death.

On Wednesday 13th December, Israeli soldiers attacked The Freedom Theatre in Jenin, shooting the building, destroying offices and assaulting its staff.

Artistic Director Ahmed Tobasi, Producer Mustafa Sheta, and theatre graduate Jamal Abu Joas were taken from their homes and detained. Jamal was severely beaten.

Ahmed Tobasi has since been released, also beaten. His colleagues, along with approximately 100 other Palestinians taken hostage from Jenin, remain detained. Continue reading “Support Palestinian Theatremakers! An Open Letter in Solidarity with The Freedom Theatre in Jenin”

What Is GenZ Theatre?

Editor’s Note: As we continue to see article after article about how theatre is in a crisis, Rescripted has been seeking the generative opinions of our local and national community. When Genevieve pitched this piece about GenZ theatre I was elated, because theatre is so often stereotyped as being for older people. This smart and funny piece offers insights into the gap theatre may feel with this generation. For years, I wrote about my visions for the American theatre, and now I get to amplify yours. To get in on the discourse, pitch us at rescriptedreviews@gmail.com. 

What is GenZ Theatre?

GenZ theatre is all TikTok dances and jokes about suicide, right? Yes and no. Although viral moves and dark humor overshadow most of my generation’s reputation, it is not all we have going for us. My name is Genevieve and I was born in the spring of 2000 (yes, I know). In 2023 as an early-career theatre maker and administrator in Chicago, IL, I am constantly working with and surrounded by other GenZ theatre artists. American GenZ theatre is unique and, more importantly, it deserves your attention and resources. Continue reading “What Is GenZ Theatre?”

The Devil’s in the Walls – No Man’s Land at Steppenwolf Theatre

Suspended in front of a blank white slate is a proscenium inside a proscenium (scenic, Andrew Boyce). Two men sit inside, each uniquely unpleasant, each reaching desperately to the other for an emotional connection. Hirst (Jeff Perry), the rich “man of letters” and owner of the decadent home, and Spooner (Mark Ulrich), a random man he met in a bar, proceed to engage in a battle of words. As the scene goes on, I become keenly aware Spooner is taking more than his fair share of the conversation. I seriously thought Spooner was going to grow horns at some point, he’s so whimsical it is hardly trustworthy, but it is fantastic to watch. As Spooner gets more animated, seemingly feeding on Hirst’s apathy, Hirst gets quieter, and harder to understand. I suddenly realize what is happening – he is extremely drunk and slowly shutting down. 

Continue reading “The Devil’s in the Walls – No Man’s Land at Steppenwolf Theatre”

Decomposition Instead of Collapse – Dear Theatre, Be Like Soil

Co-signed by Lauren Halvorsen and edited by Regina Victor.

With thanks to Stephanie Ybarra for always daring me to speak my ideas – Annalisa Dias

Editors note: This eco-driven essay urges us toward regenerative strategies and will also be published in Halvorsen’s newsletter: Nothing for the Group! This brain trust and resource sharing is a natural development as Annalisa dives into the collective wisdom of mycelial networks, and what they can teach us about supporting each together through this abrupt change. – Regina Victor

Author’s note: One of the biggest obstacles to systemic change is the unwillingness to move beyond the current paradigm we inhabit. We won’t be able to identify solutions or viability / scalability of those solutions until we move beyond an economic paradigm driven by scarcity. This essay is for those interested in using the imagination to push past the limitations of our current social and economic containers. Annalisa Dias

at the time all we knew was the story had run out. all the stories. of staying young to cheat death. of thinking young people wouldn’t die. of immortality via “making a difference.” of genetic imprint as stability. of stacking money and etching names on buildings. people used to do those things before. not to mention that they would not mention death and would hide the dying away and strive to protect the eyes of the children who already knew everything.

at some point. all the dead being here anyway and all of us here being obviously doomed, we let go of that particular game. and started breathing. and saw our hands.

we let go.

i felt like i could fly.

alexis pauline gumbs. M archive.

Continue reading “Decomposition Instead of Collapse – Dear Theatre, Be Like Soil”

The Fly Honeys 2023 Labor Day Weekend Lineup

The Fly Honeys are back and the bees are a-buzzing baby! If you have a pulse and live in Chicago, you should know who the Honeys are by now, but let me tell the new post-panorama generation what’s good. The Fly Honeys are a femme-led, party-starting, ass-shaking, glitter-bombing, sex-positive queer punk performance group born from a legendary annual event, The Fly Honey Show, founded in Chicago in 2010. They are best known for their saying “everybody, no matter what your body.” Having personally experienced the Hive as a dancer prior to the pandemic, they practice what they preach! 

Continue reading “The Fly Honeys 2023 Labor Day Weekend Lineup”

A Love Letter to the Rain Scene in Paula Vogel’s Indecent

“It’s the 20th century! We are all attracted to both sexes.” – Madje Asch, Indecent

Indecent begins with a set of instructions: In this play, actors play multiple roles. In this play, we sing and dance. In this play, we speak Yiddish. Sometimes, German. Sometimes, English. In this play, we are Jewish. We create, celebrate. Sometimes we fight. Some of us survive.

In this play there are lesbians who dance in the rain.  Continue reading “A Love Letter to the Rain Scene in Paula Vogel’s Indecent”

Editor’s Note

This is a letter from Editor-In-Chief Regina Victor, about Rescripted’s approach to artist testimonials and community amplification, as well as ways to support and write with us. There were a couple of responses to our recently published piece that indicated a missing context regarding the history of how we’ve worked with our community. This piece clarifies some of Rescripted’s publishing practices and has information on how to pitch us. For our newer readers, this is an introduction to our work. 

On Monday, June 12th, the following text was added to our four part series: “Common Traps for the Aspiring Artist: A Testimonial at Trap Door.”

*Rescripted has not independently verified the details in this testimonial. The opinions in this piece belong solely to the author.* 

*We had thought this was evident from our initial editor’s note, but community feedback made it clear further clarification was needed. After some consultation, we have added this clause. Thank you for calling us in.

The accuracy in the language is very important, and we thank you for making us better at communicating our intent. Clarity is needed, because Rescripted will continue to post testimonials of this nature.  Continue reading “Editor’s Note”

Lucy and Charlie’s Honeymoon is a New Take on the Classic (mid)Western

Lucy and Charlie have an instant attraction, as dangerous as it is romantic. Likening themselves to a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde, these two get hitched on a whim and head out on their honeymoon looking for trouble, only trouble ain’t that hard to find. Before too long, Lucy and Charlie find themselves on the run from the law and an international criminal organization. Featuring original country western and folk songs, Lucy and Charlie’s Honeymoon by Lookingglass Artistic Associate Matthew C. Yee, is a whirl-wind adventure about two First Generation Asian-American renegades. 

Charlie (Matthew C. Yee) and Lucy (Aurora Adachi-Winter) are the embodiment of chaotic good. Their outlaw behavior is a reclamation of their identity, and a rejection of stereotypes.  Charlie is a “cool cowboy” and Lucy is an unstoppable force. Together, they barrel across the Midwest headed toward Charlie’s family cabin, getting tangled up with a hilarious cast of characters along the way. Directed by Amanda Dehnert, Lucy and Charlie’s Honeymoon is a hilarious runaway train chock full of comedic partnerships.  Continue reading “Lucy and Charlie’s Honeymoon is a New Take on the Classic (mid)Western”

Part Three: Common Traps for The Aspiring Artist, A Testimonial at Trap Door Theatre

This is a testimonial piece by Chicago Theatre Community member Robin Minkens, who had a multi-year experience with Trap Door Theatre, a local storefront theatre. This is a personal experience, told from a single perspective. These pieces by their nature, and per our mission, are subjective by intention. *Rescripted has not independently verified the details in this testimonial. The opinions in this piece belong solely to the author.* This is not reporting, but community support. Our aim as always is to amplify those who do not have a platform, and to empower the experience of the artist. 

Editor’s Note:  Robin came to me through Facebook at the end of April because she had seen my own testimonials on social media. Robin had recorded her experience in a draft, and was wondering if her experience had merit, and if it would be beneficial to share it with others. At that time, she did not know that I was an editor, or of the existence of Rescripted. When I had read the entirety of her story, I was appalled. What captured me about Robin’s testimonial is that it is a story many of us have lived through. Emerging into a professional theatre scene with abundant hopes and dreams, only to encounter prejudice, maltreatment, and gaslighting. The commonalities in this piece are harrowing to me, because they require us to accept that the way we have been working is not ethical. The experiences we have endured are not acceptable. This piece is a death by a thousand paper cuts. I encourage you to read it to the end. This is Part Three. Click here to access Part Two, and Part One.

Decomposed EP. 5

December 2020, comes for the first virtual rehearsal of Decomposed with everyone in the cast, and I see and learn that Nicole had cast a few individuals who had not, to my knowledge, ever worked at or auditioned with Trap Door. There was a group of five all working together at someone’s apartment that included Emily, David, Miguel, Maryam and Maryam’s boyfriend (who to my knowledge had never been in a play before). Matty Robinson, his girlfriend, Nicole, and Nicole’s now-fiancé, who was the music director, the same way he was for The White Plague, in their same apartment building. Then there was just myself filming at my apartment, and my main scene partner at her separate apartment. 

I realized that I had seen Matty’s girlfriend on The Quarantine Files episode with Matty –  the company Matty said he was not interested in working with. Again, I understand that perspectives may change when the future of a professional field is uncertain. I was surprised because when I initially saw his girlfriend’s name in the email that went out I had no idea who she was, or that they were together. I learned during rehearsal that she was brought in by Matty, and that they were in a relationship. Continue reading “Part Three: Common Traps for The Aspiring Artist, A Testimonial at Trap Door Theatre”