Strong and thoughtful… (ensemble and music) combine to create an ambiance, a taste of and for Scotland and Scottishness that likely to be matched only by Forfar bridies, meat pies and very buttery shortbread. Newsweek
Anything That Gives Off Light is both an entertainment and a thought piece that focuses on whether we are stuck in our histories, or whether we can cast off the constrictive ties and reinvent new and better histories for ourselves in the modern world. Front Row Center
[A] pugnacious, liquor-soaked musical… The songwriting duo the Bengsons composed the eclectic array of tunes—some poppy, some folksy, all good… A rich seam of aching observations about land and soil and property. New Yorker
When I first saw it in 2016…I found the magical adventure form of the show where we zip between Scotland and Appalachia “a fitting way to explore [something] as complex a morass as identity. Nothing is fixed. Ideas morph with time and so too must our storytelling.” With songs by the Bengsons, it is a foot-stomping journey where the characters go beyond that surface layer of who they are and start peeling back their own sense of where they come from and what home is in a smart, probing, and unique way. Recommended by Exeunt NYC
Interviews and First-person accounts
Jess Almasy + Reuben Joseph talk devising, identity, and the humanity on the other side of the aisle. [READ]
Jess Almasy writes about Sex, Politics, and Regional Control and the challenges of bringing Anything That Gives Off Light to the stage. [READ]
Davey Anderson talks to Broadway World about the show [LISTEN]
Diep Tran and Jose Solís talk about their impressions of Anything That Gives Off Light at Joe’s Pub onToken Theatre Friends. [WATCH]
Also, our friend Josh Groban stopped by:
Read what press had to say about Anything That Gives Off Light‘s 2016 Premiere here.
this past November I had the good fortune to stay up at a farm cottage in northwest New Jersey to write for ten days towards the TEAM’s current / upcoming project RECONSTRUCTION (still working but the devil might be inside). it was a vivid, visceral, and deeply intimate experience focusing in on response material to the TEAM’s 2009 play Architecting, which originally looked at Gone With the Wind, rebuilding after hurricane Katrina, and in large ways the ethics and politics of gentrification that occurs in America when corporate / capitalist aims, largely under the direction of white affluent citizens, dominate a landscape still writhing from the inequities and racial divisions stemming back to the civil war. now, in 2019, we call back to that origin work with a response recalibrated to incoroporate a parallel company of artists of color (our original production was largely populated by non black artists) to (post Charlottesville) handle Gone With the Wind as more than just a literary artifact but as a Confederate monument –– and to potentially surrender Architecting’s experimental storyline (but a narrative nonetheless) for a form that is more dance theatre piece with tech and poetry and rigorously scored original music and song.
during my time at the farm, I wrestled with what voice I could give or produce for the project writing solo as a 38-year-old female fourth generation Eastern European / European immigrant American who has come to be known on most if not all standardized forms as white, when the story in 2019 is undeniably so deeply identity-centric and the complications of writing for anyone else’s experience are undeniable, representation and authenticity being – in my opinion – one of the foremost political pursuits of art makers today. with an exacting and at times overwhelming sense of responsibility, I waded into very muddy spiritual waters attempting to write and create from both a hyperconscious and unconscious place of unknowing. the beginning process of generating art for and with the TEAM is always for me mystical and uncharted. but this experience was exquisitely separate from my prior 15 collaborative years in that it marked the first time I was sent to keep the flame of the project lit as an individual rather than in a typically heavily populated democracy-driven writers room of on average 13-plus wildly distinct humans with madly divergent aesthetics and processes. in some instances I was able to exchange materials electronically with collaborating artist Jerome Ellis who would riff on audio files and videos I haphazardly edited and he’d re-edit and send back. this was the first time I worked largely with voice memos as my medium. it felt like the text didn’t want to live solely on paper IE in one dimension. in my private work as a writer I’ve been deeply interested in the concept of seance, ghost invocations and rituals, having felt that the inundation of social media, frequent updates, podcasts, linear and subjective narration have run their course and in many ways exhausted their promise. the American musical as being retrofitted in the work Rachel Chavkin is collaborating with on Broadway to me is a cipher for the experimental world’s forms: how do we get to a new nontraditional sound and structure that speaks to the heightened state of our current American awareness without insisting that at any moment only one thing can occur? how do we access and amplify the danger and positive potentiality of the racially charged American psyche of an audience thro performance architecture in ways we have not seen before? so I feel like I was writing a ghost story, by lighting candles and sitting in the near dark alone in the woods and trusting whatever voice started to pour forward. sometimes that was a tormented note of Margaret Mitchell, dead but unburied, failing to atone for her sins or falling short of truly being able to reckon consciously with exactly what she had done, modernity of the now not being her forte. sometimes that work was a lament and a chest pounding, drawing from the images of a funeral march for New Orleans from our play in 2009.
when I emerged from my writing on day 7 or 8, beginning to see my journey home in 48 hours sight, it was only then that I realized I had actually gone some place. it was like I had burrowed into this somewhat deep and damp tunnel just below most of this country’s ground, where the dead live – the recent, the ancient, all the bodies that have been slain and continue to be slain for reasons of capital and control. I feel that on this ten day reclusion, I found that my contribution to the project may be to sing the voice of the dead, more so than the wrong or the right, but to chime in and resurrect some imagined call from them to us, the living. so for me, it’s not about what anybody’s tweeting out. it’s a call from the beyond that makes me want to write anything down in 2019.
while at the cottage I also spoke to everyone I could see – waitresses at the local small-house-like diner, the groundskeeper, an itinerant actor (visiting from out of state). these people told me about their lives and the lives of the dead who’d come before them, and I listened with the thirsting ears of a blind seeker feeling out their path, and their wisdom and humanity made it into the blood of everything I thought up. for me, to write IN a place is inevitably to write that place down. even the trees.
The TEAM is now accepting applications from college students, graduate students, and recent grads for Winter/Spring internships in our Brooklyn office. This is an unpaid opportunity.
Interns will have responsibilities in the following areas:
Production interns will work alongside the Producing Director and Associate Producer on touring and company management for our upcoming tours of Anything That Gives Off Light and Primer for a Failed Superpower. Duties will range everywhere from shopping for set pieces to coordinating payroll paperwork.
Development and Grantwriting
Interns will work with the Producing Director and Fundraising Committee to execute a spring fundraising event, prepare and submit funding applications, and maintain donor and funder records.
Interns will work with the TEAM’s Associate Producer to execute social media plans and coordinate marketing for our run of Anything That Gives Off Light at Joe’s Pub.
We place a high priority on giving all interns ownership of projects and tangible experience in the day-to-day administration of a small ensemble company. When possible, interns also support and observe rehearsals and artistic development, as well as TEAM-led workshops. A minimum commitment of 8 hours/week is required for internships, beginning in January. The TEAM’s office hours are 10am-6pm, Monday-Friday. Scheduling is otherwise very flexible.
If interested, please send a cover letter and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Internship” in the subject line. Please also provide a reference.
The days are getting shorter and darker, but it means we’re starting to approach the finish line for 2018 and this month, the TEAM is asking: What light do you see(k) in the new year?
Click above and check back regularly this December to activate the playlist where TEAM company members and collaborators sit down and take time to chat and connect about what keeps us moving together into 2019!
The TEAM has a busy and exciting year ahead, including:
First up in the new year, we’ll be launching the US premiere of Anything That Gives Off Light, our collaboration with the National Theatre of Scotland and the extraordinary folk-punk duo the Bengsons. We’ll start the tour by returning the show to the place where so much of the play was written: the mountains and communities of Appalachia. We’ll go from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg to the Crossing Roots Rural-Urban Theatre Workshop in Cumberland Gap, TN. There, we’ll be able to return the show to the students, historians, musicians, teachers, farmers, activists and storytellers who helped create the world of ATGOL. After that, we’ll bring the show home to New York for an extended run at Joe’s Pub from March 14-30. We can’t wait to see you there!
Then in May, we’ll be headed to Portland, OR for the first “tour” of Primer for a Failed Superpower! We’ll partner with BOOM Arts to build their own multigenerational community choir and mount the concert anew. Shows will be May 10 and 11 and we hope this will be the first of many local Primers.
From there, we’ll be diving into more work on Reconstruction (Still Working but the Devil Might Be Inside) – our new project wrestling with Gone with the Wind as a Confederate monument. We’ll be developing a script, building a set, and integrating glorious films we’ve made of our legendary collaborator Vinie Burrows. This is a huge undertaking since Reconstruction has a record 21 collaborators, but reckoning with a terrible past to reframe it for a more just present requires a lot of voices.
Through it all, we’ll continue to work on the Petri Projects: our seedlings of ideas for new plays. And with each project our family grows a little bigger, as we partner with new collaborators and center more voices in our work.
We’ll be working with a record number of collaborators in 2019, and with each new voice our work tells a fuller story of America. But our work requires support! We need to raise $20,000 by the end of the year in order to make all this happen. We hope you’ll consider a year-end gift to the TEAM this holiday season, amidst so many worthy causes in need of your support.
A little over a year ago, the TEAM produced Primer for a Failed Superpower – a concert featuring a massive multigenerational cover band of 32 teenagers, 30-somethings, and people 60+, celebrating protest music and activism from the past and present. We played two shows at Roulette. The room was sweaty and packed, and spirits were high. And the process was even more special, with deep conversations about generations and inheritance, race and religion and economics and gender and sexual identity.
Our dream was and is that Primerwas both something we made, and something that others could remake. To that end, we commissioned filmmakers to produce a short documentary about the process and culminating performance. Camilo Quiroz and Ellpetha Tsvikos were with us nearly every step of the way and created this short film that captures what happened and hopefully can serve as a tool for others in the future.
BTW: we’re bringing PRIMER to Portland in 2019!!! Please help us get there with a gift for the end of year. We’d love to share this work with more people.
In a pub at the end of the road, an American woman drinks alone, trying to forget the home she left behind in West Virginia. Two old Scottish friends, one of whom left for London long ago, wrestle with a fresh grief and a festering sense of betrayal. The three collide and set off on an increasingly blurry journey through the Highlands, digging down into layers of national mythology, bringing to the surface memories of forced migration. Anything That Gives Off Light features a throbbing score by award-winning duo The Bengsons, mixing the Scottish-American folk tradition with stomping punk, and the TEAM’s trademark athletic performance style.
Come March 2019, we begin our journey remounting ATGOL at Virginia Tech before heading to Kentucky to partner with Cardinal Cross to present our stripped-down “Pub” version at the Crossing Roots Urban-Rural Theater Workshop. There, we’ll be leading our Devising Within a Democracy workshop and participating in sessions led by artists throughout the region. We look forward to deepening our relationships with and experiencing first-hand the voices and visions of the Appalachian community. We conclude the tour at Joe’s Pub and sharing our harvest with NYC!
From Associate Director Davey Anderson:
For me, this tour is very special. Not only are we bringing Anything That Gives Off Light to the United States for the first time, but we’re returning to the place where so much of the play was written. Back in the Spring of 2016 we spent a formative couple of weeks in residency at Virginia Tech, researching and developing the text, with the help of Bob Leonard and his fantastic Performing Arts students, introducing us to local historians, musicians, teachers, farmers, activists and storytellers. Without these experiences at River View High School in Bradshaw, the Oxford Presbyterian Church in Lexington, the Friday night jamboree at Floyd Country Store, The Tales of the Lonesome Pine bookstore in Big Stone Gap and many other places, our characters and the world of the play just wouldn’t be the same.
The TEAM and National Theatre of Scotland
ANYTHING THAT GIVES OFF LIGHT
Written by Jessica Almasy, Davey Anderson, Rachel Chavkin, Brian Ferguson, and Alexander Grierson Music and Lyrics by The Bengsons
Created in collaboration with Matt Hubbs, Nick Vaughan, Brian Hastert, and Libby King
Directed by Rachel Chavkin
with Associate Director Davey Anderson
Performed by Jessica Almasy, Martin Donaghy, Reuben Joseph, Jessie Linden, Maya Sharpe and Katrina Yaukey
The TEAM’s Petri Projects program was launched in 2017, and allows the company to foster a pipeline of inquiry and development into new performance work led by a variety of company artists. The program is structured as a laboratory in which the company and its invited associates can explore new ideas or concepts to create either future company projects or independent work, and to receive the vital feedback that sheds light on its integrity.
We are currently seeking curious, motivated, proactive Artistic Assistants for the Nov-Dec 2018 workshop of AN EXIT TICKET, the inaugural Petri Project in the TEAM’s 2018-19 season. AN EXIT TICKET is a rigorous long form stand up / memoir / performance art / dance / rant experiment focusing on the public education systems in America, particularly in New York, and the journey of two experimental theatre artists through its trenches. AN EXIT TICKET is written by founding company member Jill Frutkin, directed by long time collaborator Jessica Almasy, and writer / actor / teacher / activist Modesto Flako Jimenez joins the writing team and cast.
Artistic Assistants will be in the room not just to observe the process, but to feed forward and engage with their creative brains and strategic skillsets wherever seems fit. You’ll be transcribing / recording the work of long form improvisations and rehearsal rewrites, assisting in managing various production elements such as problem solving tech needs, setting up the space, and ready to offer support both practical and conceptual. We strive to be a horizontal, democratic environment in which everyone works on an equal playing field in service of the play.
WHO YOU ARE
You have a deep interest in the development of new work, some experience with the previously outlined stage management skills, you are familiar with script-change-tracking in a master document (this is a super plus), and you are relatively comfortable adapting to the basics of / possibly running simple queues on sound and video equipment. The most important qualities to thrive in this room are your attitude, your appetite for fierce work, and your willingness to bring it.
Every single person that enters our creative room touches the play in some essential way and is a relevant contributor to our democratic process. There are no bystanders in a rehearsal room and we welcome you to activate that.
EXPECTATIONS Note: This position is currently unpaid. In exchange for your work, an Artistic Assistant is invited to participate in one of the TEAM’s upcoming devising or producing workshops for free.
AN EXIT TICKET development period runs from Nov 26-Dec 8. Artistic Assistants will be needed for the full two-week rehearsal period, and will attend up to two meetings with the creative team before the start of the workshop.
Current Rehearsal Schedule and Call times are listed below, subject to slight change:
Monday, Nov 26, 10am-6pm
Tuesday, Nov 27, 10am-6pm
Wednesday, Nov 28, 10am-6pm
Thursday, Nov 29, 10am-6pm
Friday, Nov 30, 2pm-10pm
Saturday, Dec 1, 12-8pm
Tuesday, Dec 4, 10am-6pm
Wednesday, Dec 5, 10am-6pm
Thursday, Dec 6, 10am-6pm
Friday, Dec 7, 12-10pm
Saturday, Dec 8, 12-10pm
Schedule can be further discussed and determined based on your availability as well.
TO APPLY: please email email@example.com with “Petri Project Artistic Assistant” in the subject line, with the following information:
– A cover letter indicating the Artistic Assistant project for which you are applying, detailing your relevant experience, what gets you immediately excited about the art you are making right now, and why you are interested in working with us.
– A resume including both your artistic and work experience.
About the TEAM
Founded in 2004, the TEAM is a creative ensemble committed to making new theatrical work about the experience of living in America today. We develop performance using a group writing room that fuses research, physical and verbal improvisation, writing prompts, and editing driven by consensus. This process has led to a modern canon of wild and extraordinary work that bears our unique democratic signature: multifaceted cohesiveness and rampant formal experimentation. With the TEAM, a single play can undergo years of development spanning residencies, international group chats and intellectual exchanges via email, multiple actual premieres, deconstructions and radical redrafts.
We’re excited to announce workshops that the TEAM will be leading this fall – register now!
Devising Within a Democracy
Modeled on the TEAM’s own unique creative process, this 4-hour workshop gives participants insight into a mini devising process, providing tools and strategies for solo and group creation, working through delicate issues of collaboration and authorship, and bridging into the editing and synthesizing process. Perfect for artists of all levels of experience! Learn more.
Sunday, Nov 18
10am – 2pm
Theatre Lab, 357 W. 36th St, 3rd Flr.
This session has been cancelled. Please see below for our next DwD workshop instead!
Thursday, December 13
7pm – 10pm
Taught by Artistic Director Rachel Chavkin
Our self-producing series, led by the TEAM’s Producing Director Alexandra Lalonde and industry guests, continues this fall with workshops about the business side of making and sustaining your work. Each two-hour session is a peer-to-peer discussion over drinks–your registration fee includes beer and wine provided by the TEAM.
Tuesday, November 27 Monday, Nov 26 7-9pm ART/NY South Oxford Space, Brooklyn, Studio G New York Theatre Workshop @ 79 E. 4th St
Allie and guest expert Jeremy Blocker will lead a 2-hour peer-to-peer conversation about building operating budgets for small companies. How does your operating budget reflect your mission and values? How do you represent the full scale and impact of your work in a spreadsheet? How do you present your operating budget for funders? With participants we will discuss these topics and more. We’ll share experiences from the TEAM’s own history, and solicit your questions in advance of the workshop to help guide our discussion.
Jeremy Blocker began his tenure as Managing Director at New York Theatre Workshop during the 2013/14 Season and has overseen more than twenty productions, stewarding the growth of NYTW’s annual operating budget from $4.5 million to $6.5 million and significantly increasing the Workshop’s reserve funds to secure the financial future of the organization. He also led the effort to create NYTW’s most recent strategic plan which has seen an expansion of the season to five productions, a 200% increase in artist compensation over the five year plan, the launch of a paid, year-long 2050 Administrative Fellowship, the renovation of NYTW’s 4thStreet Theatre and the launch of the NEXT DOOR@NYTW series. Prior to arriving at NYTW, Jeremy served as the first Managing Director of Ars Nova, New York’s premiere hub for new talent, where he produced six world premiere productions including the Obie Award-winning Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 by Dave Malloy, seven festivals, and dozens of concerts, readings and workshops. He has also previously served as Director of Individual Giving at Manhattan Theatre Club, Development Associate for Capital Projects at Atlantic Theater Company, and Producing Director of Babel Theatre Project, which he co-founded. Jeremy is an Assistant Adjunct Professor of Theatre Management and Producing at Columbia University’s School of the Arts and holds a BA from Harvard University and an MFA from Columbia.
Tuesday, December 11 7-9pm ART/NY South Oxford Space, Brooklyn, Studio B
Allie and guest expert Anna Frenkel will lead a 2-hour peer-to-peer conversation about fundraising from individuals for small companies. Together, we’ll discuss personal appeals, crowdfunding, benefit events, and cultivating and maintaining donors. We’ll share experiences from the TEAM’s own history, and solicit your questions in advance of the workshop to help guide our discussion.
Currently the Director of Development at Atlantic Theater Company, Anna Frenkel was previously part of the fundraising teams at Signature Theatre, The Public Theater, and MTC. She holds an M.A. in Performing Arts Admin from NYU and a B.S. in Computer Science from SMU When not at the theater or schmoozing donors, she plays competitive pinball.
The TEAM has added another Devising within a Democracy workshop in June, this time taught by Artistic Director Rachel Chavkin. Click here for more information!
Devising Within a Democracy
In June, the TEAM will be bringing our Devising Within a Democracy workshop back to NYC! Modeled on the TEAM’s own unique creative process, this workshop gives participants insight into a mini devising process, providing tools and strategies for solo and group creation, working through delicate issues of collaboration and authorship, and bridging into the editing and synthesizing process. Perfect for artists of all levels of experience! Learn more.
Wednesday, June 13th
7 – 10pm
And there’s still time to register for our second Self-Producing Workshop!
Our self-producing series, led by the TEAM’s Producing Director Alexandra Lalonde and industry guests, continues this spring with two more workshops about the business side of making and sustaining your work. Each two-hour session is a peer-to-peer discussion over drinks–your registration fee includes beer and wine provided by the TEAM.