InnerMission's 'Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again.' Aims To Challenge Audiences
New production at Diversionary's Black Box opens today
If you want to sit passively in a theater and watch a play then missions new production of revolt she said. Revolt again is not for you. Intermission describes itself as quote driven to tell stories that grab you and shake your insides. PBS arts reporter Bethann Comando speaks with Christianna roast us one of the actresses in the play Christiane and you're working on a new production for intermission which is called Revolt she said. Revolt again. This is kind of an experimental piece so explain what people might expect from my gosh anything and everything you can think of. Other than gun violence will be in this show. It really focuses on all the taboo topics that everybody is really afraid to speak about. You were shot. It's become more. Acceptable to discuss these types of topics nowadays. But it's still the way that she does it. The playwright Alice Birch with the text itself it's very blunt. It's very unapologetic and it's. It is the way that it is. And this isn't a matter of opinion. It's just this is how a world. Is seen through these people's eyes. Which is really exciting and really frightening at the same time. And it's a play that seems to really want to push people's buttons in a certain way so that it's not just actors on a stage kind of interacting with each other but you're trying to engage the audience in thinking very directly about the ideas that you're discussing. Absolutely. But the way that it is performed in the way that we speak not only to each other but to the audience we're speaking to them because more than anything we really want them to start to open their minds and think that for themselves to stop listening to what other people are telling them and just really taking everything that's happening and going on around them and analyzing and then after that coming to their own conclusion as to what is going on and then then acting upon that. So if people are coming to this and expecting a traditional play in the sense of characters with names in a very clear kind of linear narrative they're not going to get that. So explain kind of what that theatrical experience is going to be like. It's very immersed. You're not coming to see a show and this show and to look through the window you're. Coming. Without knowing that you are participating and then it's up to you as the audience member to really fully immerse yourself into it. We give you the baseline of everything and. The show happens around you it doesn't just happen on the stage you are in it with us. And so at that point you have to make that decision as an audience member. Am I just going to be someone that's going to sit around and watch what's happening. Or am I going to be someone that's not just going to watch but I'm also going to. Try to really understand what's going on and be active within it. There's tons of moments where we're engaging the audience because we genuinely want you to have a response to us and it's really up to them at that point and that's what makes it so exciting because if you're not going to be out for it then we're going to find someone who's ready. You're performing this diversionary is blackbox theater. So when you talk about this being immersive this is a tiny space so there's really no where for people to go but to be engaged with. So describe what the size of this is. It's a really small stage. I mean when you talk when we talk about there's really no where. For them to go there's really nowhere for us as the cast to go either. There's moments where you think that we're not something but we're in something and without even realizing it. The audiences also and I mean there's literally seats on part of the stage that the audience will be sitting into. So there's really no way for anyone to go which is really vulnerable and it makes for a very intimate performance and. A very direct message to everyone because it's not. So much we want you to look from the when you're not on the outside looking in you're in this with us no intermission is really concerned with putting on plays that do have some sort of social component or social commentary. Is that something that attracted you as an actress. Love that. I mean from the the opening scene of the show. It was just a moment of oh my gosh this isn't your average play. It's not a happy go lucky. I mean there's there's happy moments in that definitely but there's also a lot of truth. Very vulnerable and that's what really draws me towards a play strip you raw and. You rebuild yourself not only just you but with the rest of the ensemble we're all pretty much stripped raw and then we build each other back up. To this point at which it's really empowering and I really appreciate plays that do that and they don't focus upon you know one single narrative and one perspective. This is a play that focuses on all different types of perspectives from the perspective of the man from the perspective of the woman from someone of you know ethnicity different ethnicities different social economic backgrounds. It's a play that anyone and everyone can relate to which really draws me in myself as an actor I'm really drawn to pushing getting to the edge pushing the bar and really pushing people's buttons because I feel like when I would what I want is for people to walk out of the performance. And feel. This new found sense of urgency to want to act. Upon something whether it's. You know. Civil rights or whatever it is animal rights all these different things that are going on in society right now. I just want them to want to actually instead of just saying they want to do something I want them to do it. Now there. Is a scene where actors are talking on top of each other you have like multiple people on stage with kind of multiple scenes going on simultaneously. That's not possible. So how is that as an actor to perform where you're interacting with people who aren't necessarily in your scene. It's so hard it's so hard but it's so exciting and exhilarating because the audience is literally going to be like somebody is saying something over here oh okay and they're going to hear something here. And then all of a sudden they're gonna go Oh that goes with that. And then before they even know what something else has gone on and they're like crap I'm missing a bunch of stuff. So now at this point I just need to be present and I need to listen. And so it's very much the same state of mind the audience is exactly where I am I've got to figure out where I am what I'm doing who I'm talking to when I'm talking where I'm going and then what's next. All right well thank you very much for your time. Thank you. That was PBS arts reporter Beth Komando speaking with actress Christina Rosalee's intermissions revolt she said. Revolt again runs through September 29 that diversionary Black Box Theatre.
If you want to sit passively in a theater and watch a play then InnerMission’s new production of "Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again." is not for you.
InnerMission describes itself as “driven to tell stories that grab you and shake your insides.” Revolt She Said Revolt Again does just that with its experimental, and inventive collection of vignettes.
"It’s very immersed," actress Kirstiana Rosas said. "You’re not coming to see a show and this show to look through the window. This show happens around you. It doesn’t just happen on the stage. You are in it with us."
Rosas and Carla Navarro are two of the actresses in the ensemble performing in the tiny, intimate space of Diversionary’s Black Box Theatre.
"One of the reasons this play was chosen was to incorporate that intimacy into the storytelling," Navarro said.
In order to challenge the audience in a very direct and even at times uncomfortable manner with scenes that deal with rape, abuse, sexism, dysfunctional families, and more.
"So the intimacy of the space is playing for our purpose," Navarro added.
"You’re not on the outside looking in; you’re in this with us. That’s what makes it so exciting because if you’re not up for it then we will find someone who’s ready," Rosas said.
What audiences need to be ready for is a play that breaks rules to deliver a non-linear, multi-character narrative.
"It really focuses on the taboo topics that everybody is really afraid to speak about. The way that she does it, the playwright Alice Birch, with the text itself, it’s very blunt, it’s very unapologetic," Rosas added. "It is the way that it is. It isn’t a matter of opinion, it’s just this is how a world is seen through these people’s eyes."
Whether it is about a young girl who doesn't want to be forced into marriage with a man who raped her or a daughter trying to come to terms with why her mother abandoned her as a child.
As an actress Rosas said that is "really exciting and really frightening at the same time because then you start to think about what your views on certain things are and what other people might view you and if their views differ at the end of the show when you are done, how will they look at you."
Diversionary's Black Box Theatre is such an intimate space that some audience members will find themselves on the stage and others will be confronted by actors who might be inches away. This is not the kind of theater for the faint of heart and that's fine with InnerMission.
"The way that we speak, not only to each other but to the audience, we’re speaking to them because more than anything we really want them to start to open their minds and think for themselves and stop listening to what other people are telling them and just really take in everything that is happening and going on around them and analyzing and after that coming to their own conclusion as to what is going on. And then acting upon that," Rosas said.
"We are telling a story of hey, this is what’s going on, this is what we are living through, this is what we are fighting for, and this is how it’s working or not working and this is how we are accepting it or not accepting it," Navarro said.
Like a mom who clearly states that one of the things she will not bake is cupcakes, especially heart-shaped ones.
The play builds to a fever pitch as multiple stories and characters converge in a cacophony of voices.
"It’s kind of like we are fighting for attention of the audience," Navarro added. "But we want our audience to feel that way, to feel, 'Oh my god there are so many things going on, what do I listen to and why am I listening to this and not this?' Our brain wants to cling on to things that we want to connect with."
It’s a play that strips away protective layers to get to raw emotions and then once the actors, the characters, and the audience are vulnerable it empowers them to rebuild.
"I really appreciate plays that do that. That don’t focus upon one single narrative and one perspective. It’ a play that anyone and everyone can relate to which really draws me in," Rosas said.
"I absolutely believe that this will create a conversation whether you like the play or you don’t like the play, whether you identify or don’t identify, this play is going to present so many topics and so many situations that everyone has an opinion on," Navarro stated.
Rosas concluded: "What I want is for people to walk out of the performance and feel this newfound sense of urgency to want to act upon something whether it’s civil right or animal rights, all these different things that are going on in society right now, I just want them to actually, instead of just saying they want to do something to actually do it."
That is the best kind of interactive theater.
"Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again." runs through Sept. 29 at Diversionary’s Black Box Theatre.