It’s been a moment since we last performed our hit-musical Mission Drift. However, we were thrilled to see that The Guardian named it one of the 50 best theatre shows in the 21st century. Check it out (and the other works that made the list) here.
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.
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.
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 on Token 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.
“…the conviction in the voices could not have been louder or clearer.”
New York Times
“Behind the Scenes of Primer for a Failed Superpower”
“For Teen Activists, What Good Is a Protest Song?”
New Yorker Radio Hour
“Protest Songs Take Center Stage In Primer”
The Leonard Lopate Show
Want to learn more about Primer for a Failed Superpower?
Visit the Primer website.
***** An astonishingly accomplished piece of work…as entertaining as it is intellectually demanding.
**** A fierce poetic snapshot of two contemporary cultures linked by history.
The three distinctive actors [are] perfectly matched, giving tough, intelligent performances, masking an inner warmth behind their deadpan wit.
**** Exhilarating…Raw, heartfelt and messy on several levels…Boldly theatrical.
**** A trenchant critique of global complicity…attacks pieties about Scottish and American victimhood, drawing the line between fantasies of freedom and violent aggression.
**** A whisky-fired fantasia.
The gauzy dream-world of their storytelling where we can zip from West Virginia to Scotland makes this adventure magical and messy. The labyrinthine format of the show is a fitting way to explore as complex a morass as identity. Nothing is fixed. Ideas morph with time and so too must our storytelling.
**** A true celebration of Scottish culture, humour, music and storytelling.
Edinburgh Festivals Magazine
Want to learn more about Anything That Gives Off Light?
View more production and rehearsal photos on Facebook.
Listen to music from the show and an interview with Jess and Sandy on BBC Radio’s Janice Forsyth Show.
Read more about the show in these features from The Guardian, Fest Magazine, Herald Scotland, The Scotsman, and The List.
Performances run thru August 26. All performances are SOLD OUT.
“Funny, thoughtful, affecting…the excellent performances of actors Libby King and Kristen Sieh, and [Rachel] Chavkin’s clever direction, carry the day.”
“Strange, charming and highly likable…a straight-ahead, full-tilt voyage through man- (and woman-) hood.”
“Not your ordinary take on history or gender…[an] imaginative, theatrical collage.”
“Weirdly brilliant…surprisingly emotional…wildly entertaining.”
A limited number of seats and standing room have been released for our final 13 performances at A.R.T. Book now!
“An exhilaratingly bumpy ride into the myth-making landscape of America…The pleasure is in the piece’s highly developed sense of the ridiculous…It’s a joyride into the construction of identity, and one with unexpected emotional resonance.”
“Combines witty cultural literacy with a tender intimacy… anchored by two performances of enormous conviction – a technically dazzling one from Sieh and a subtle, profoundly emotional one from King that lays bare the soul of America as a land full of heroes that is also a very lonely place to be.”
“The juxtaposition of President and popstar encapsulates something vital about masculinity…Image is key too: the way we present to the world, the identities we construct online, and our failure to measure up to our sense of self or our sense of others. It is, amongst other things, one of the best portraits of depression I’ve ever seen.”
“Two brilliant comic performances, born from rigorous research and intense acts of gender-bending empathy, make this a surprisingly easy sell from the get-go…when a company as talented as The TEAM serve an all-you-can-eat-feast, it’s worth adjusting your waistband.”
— Alexander Ferris (@AlFerris) October 24, 2015
— Corinne Furness (@DisAgg) October 22, 2015
— Martha Rose Wilson (@martharosew) October 27, 2015
Adored @theteamplays RoosevElvis tonight. Subversive hero drag soaked in all American beer & one inspiring road trip.
— LAURA NORMAN (@Cassette_Girl) October 24, 2015
Photo: Helen Murray
Described as a “hunk-a-hunk-a burnin’ waste,” RoosevElvis makes an unexpected appearance as #26 on Senator Tom Coburn’s annual Wastebook.
Clearly, this means we’ve arrived.
“RoosevElvis is far too empathetic a play to lend itself to cold deconstruction…[It’s] the company’s most intimate work that I’ve seen, and also its warmest…a lot fresher than most new plays you’ll see this season.“
“…researched to the teeth, [RoosevElvis] offers a spirited and insightful commentary on two archetypes of American masculinity, while finding teasing ambiguities within both that suggest that machismo is a shaky existential choice.”
– Ben Brantley, New York Times
“..More buoyant than theatrical material has any right to be…RoosevElvis‘s velocity sweeps us into gorgeous, buoyant nonsense without our noticing…The audience laughs—not with recognition or self-satisfaction, but with the purest kind of astonished delight.”
“This glorious show is strong precisely because it focuses, at long last, on individuals. It fully, totally revels in King’s gravelly, bourbon-soaked tones; it exploits to the last degree Sieh’s titanic comic gifts…Some astonishing scenes, several the best I’ve seen this year, are the result.”
– Helen Shaw, Time Out New York
“a stirring, absurd, and grandly human historical-cosplay road-trip fantasia…a big-hearted and affecting examination of that most American of faculties: imagining yourself as bigger, grander, and more, no matter how little you might be.”
“The most awesome buddy comedy in American history…in typical TEAM fashion, it explores so much more, from the limits of hero worship to the impossible standards of masculinity in America, and all with thrilling athleticism and unfailing intelligence.”
“Command performance[s] by King and Sieh who carry the whole production by weaving in and out of their characters and counter-characters seamlessly…[they] deftly spar across the stage through historically biographical reflections and witty one liners.”
– Grace Moon, velvetparkmedia
Photo by Sue Kessler.
In June 2013, the TEAM took Mission Drift across the pond to The Shed, the National Theatre’s temporary theatrical space on the South Bank in London, where it was met with great enthusiasm and positive reviews. Check out what the London press had to say about Mission Drift and the TEAM:
“A theatrical tornado, and a sideways glimpse into America’s tarnished, weary soul.”
The Guardian’s Lyn Gardner also gave us this fantastic tweet immediately after the performance
Mission Drift @NationalTheatre is a thing of fierce skittering beauty, skewering capitalist expansion through story of desert mirage. #stage
“It’s thrilling, it’s explosive, it burns with the heat of flashing neon and sun-soaked desert sand.This is unapologetically exciting theatre.”
“American capitalism really is a mindfuck of a subject, and if you’re going to attempt to address its entire history in a couple of hours then you really need a mindfuck of a play…Mission Drift is a whirlwind of song and sound and surreal vignettes that conveys the dizzying mania of America’s rise with an energy that’s part sickening, part exhilarating.”
“Intelligent or indulgent, bold or bewildering? It’s probably all of them at times. The dizzying theatrical bravura of the piece, however, keeps you fascinated and on edge throughout.”
Mark Shenton, The Stage
A “ mesmerizing drift through the legend of the American ‘frontier’.”
“A raunchy roster of songs that twist and subvert the diamante-studded Vegas vibe.”
“A riotous and wickedly enjoyable fable of the creation and destruction of the American Dream in Las Vegas.”
“Mission Drift gets under the skin of American capitalism, while dazzling with its expansive ambition. With this pulsing piece the TEAM has given the capital its most politically potent musical since London Road.”
“This is fiercely intelligent stuff.”
During the final week of the Mission Drift run in New York City, Heather Christian and I went over to the NPR Studios. We were both extremely excited, but Heather can testify to the fact that my face almost shattered I was so giddy. With eyes wide we followed Margot Adler as she gave us a tour of the studio. Almost everyone was out to lunch, but it didn’t matter. I saw the desk of Robert Krulwich. And we even waved at Zoe Chace and Chana Joffe-Walt from Planet Money.
We sat down with Margot and discussed the work, which she’d seen previously.
CLICK HERE to listen to the awesome story that she put together.