A story of disenchantment, boredom, and the secret sources of renewal hiding in a Universe that is falling out of love with itself.
When I flew back to the US this January (on the infamous Iceland Air duct-taped drunken passenger flight of 48-hour Internet fame), I happened to cross paths in New York with Rebecca Schaffer, a theatre director I’d worked with in the past. We met up for a drink and decided it was time to put together a new show. Our conversation sparked some strange ideas, one of which was an overnight play, where audiences would be invited to drift off to sleep in the middle of the performance and spend the night. When we met up again in Missoula Rebecca and I reassembled the old Viscosity crew and together we began developing along the long road to what would eventually become a show called ThisIllusionment–a piece of devised theatre. This means it evolved organically from a few fundamental plot and character ideas, through multiple discussions and improvs, into a script written collaboratively using input from everyone in the company.
ThisIllusionment is the story of a talented stage magician who has lost all passion for what he does. Though the spectacular no longer moves him, his interest is piqued by a sudden awareness of the simple and mundane things in life. But his choices have a strong impact on the lives of those around him: there is a young boy who wants to learn the magical craft, a girl who is deeply intuitive of a more spiritual reality and yet overwhelmed by it, and a strange and magical creature whose essence is slowly falling to pieces. Meanwhile, two other characters, who represent the opposing forces of chaos and order in the Universe, struggle with disenchantments of their own.
On Saturday, June 1st, ThisIllusionment opens in the basement of the Zootown Arts Community Center in Missoula, MT. We’re calling this run a “Skeleton Production”. You could also say it’s a “pilot” or a “prototype” of a larger vision. This show does not include a sleepover, the sets, props, and costumes are rudimentary, the staging is somewhat barebones, and the script is not a final draft. It’s a work in progress, but it has progressed more than enough to entertain and tell its story. This first run aims to enchant as much as possible, but we want everyone to know that we’re striving for something larger. Those of you kind enough to come see the Skeleton Production are contributing to the birth and growth of a show grasping toward it’s wider vision, a show that we’ve always intended to be a collaborative effort, and that we need community support to fulfill.
When we close on June 9th we will hope to have piqued your curiosity and begun a dialogue with the audience that will help us develop the show further in a way that effectively communicates its message and its magic. A kickstarter campaign will follow in order to reforge ThisIllusionment into as spectacular and sincere a production as possible for 2014. Viscosity Theatre believes passionately in this story. We appreciate your patience and support throughout the process and invite you to join the collaboration and the conversation and to be a part of bringing its vision to life.