Our Aesthetic

Through playfulness, simplicity and beauty, we tell stories with all the complexities of our world. We reach back to our ancestors and imagine a new future.

For the past few years, we've been working on trying to describe our aesthetic. If we can name it, we can talk about it, measure it and recognize it when it's missing or straying. The essence of our aesthetic follows. 

The Search, how can we: 

  • find Beauty, Playfulness, and Mastery
  • explore the axis of sense, emotion and meaning.
  • place our wildest ambitions and our greatest fears onstage
  • convey both beauty and ugliness; sin and redemption; honor and shame.
  • apply the insights from our artistic practice and our communities to work against suffering and injustice.engage the imagination to re-stage our past and our future.
  • cherish both the local and global cultural specificities, believing that if the local and the culturally specific are interpreted faithfully, it may show us the way to the universal.
  • create a theatre grappling with our universe, one that is not afraid to wound, nor too timid to help heal.
  • provoke and inspire
  • fill audiences with the rage and fury deserved of an unjust world.
  • share the laughter, love and entertainment needed in an unjust world.
  • place imagination and creativity above the formality of one rigid structure.
  • find a common language
  • see the lives of those about us with understanding—with empathy and imagination—and interpret that life in significant images
  • illuminate a tremendous rethinking, rebuilding and redreaming of America
  • incite to action

The Work, what we create is: 

  • deeply sensual, igniting all the senses 
  • self-aware and consciously theatrical. 
  • an exploration of the conditions of love in a world where the most genuine expressions of human feelings increasingly come across as performance. 
  • focused on strong emotion, an awe of nature, and free from following rigid structures. 
  • exploring the power of nature, the importance of imagination, and the use of ritual and symbolism. 
  • finding the ordinary and sublime, each in the other. 
  • a sphere where we have to take on the task of building meaningful human relationships

The Roots, we: 

  • use our body, our breath and our imagination to create our own unique form and culture of performance 
  • distill traditions: draw upon and explore global cultural roots that have preceded us, to build a new artistic vocabulary for our time. 
  • strive to create new and remixed myths for our day. 
  • seek truth, beauty and meaning in a chaotic and violent world 
  • find power in staging the tensions between the sacred and the profane, the internal with the external, the rational and the mystic, as if a pendulum swinging between two poles is powering perpetual motion. 
  • bring back poetry: draw upon oral traditions and storytelling, fusing them with contemporary poetry and storytelling 
  • create a new music: remixing and manipulating ancient and new sounds to create our own sounds 
  • explore the physical relationship to the play through the movement of bodies in space

The Body 

  • performers use exaggerated, more human than human, images of the body as amplified simulacra in an attempt to capture the very essence of the character to evoke a direct emotional response. 
  • to capture the essence, we amplify the differences of a character, what makes it unique, to highlight the essential features and reduce redundant information 
  • create not through adding features to an actor, but relentlessly stripping away that which is not essential to the character 
  • deliberately exaggerate creative components to an extent that may never occur in a real person. 
  • prevents non-unique features from detracting from the stage-image. 
  • Isolating a single visual cue helps to focus attention in the audience, thereby allowing it to more effectively enjoy the peak shift along the dimensions represented in the play. There is a need to isolate the desired visual form before that aspect is amplified . 
  • The viewers attention is drawn towards the isolated and amplified areas, allowing one's attention to be focused on this source of information. 
  • attempt to transcend the limits of the actual world. 

The Breath 

  • a performer's job is to redistribute the energy throughout our bodies and throughout the room 
  • our entire bodies are an instrument, vibrations powered through breath 
  • voice is a crystal, focusing our instrument 
  • our lives are traced from our first breath to our last 
  • it's not the kiss, it's the breath before 
  • it's not the mortal blow, it's the last breath 
  • breath is the primordial power of performance 
  • breath > connection > empathy 

The Form 

  • Highly visual: a poem standing up in a three dimensional canvas, whose intensity, scale, form, shapes, geometry, lines, textures, qualities, luminosity, and color nakedly picture its reason for being. 
  • with childlike simplicity, big ideas are rendered without causing a sense of isolation that is felt when we feel words and ideas don't make sense. 
  • It should not desperately try to recreate an imitation or a photograph of an actual location in which a story is set in. 
  • simplicity does not exclude the use of fragmented imagery, multiple perspectives can coalesce into a single view 
  • Perceptual grouping is emphasized to delineate human figures and images from the background 
  • Design and visual images should highlight the subtext and metaphor inherent in the storytelling. 
  • "Form follows function - that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union." 
  • All unnecessary visual adornment and ornaments in design are removed. Realistic recreations of the world are abstracted and distilled into their purest forms.