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Occasional Green Room Gifts, and Other Perks of Aging

The TEAM is a lot older than we used to be. Time makes that true for everything, but it doesn’t make it less poignant.

When we started work on A Thousand Natural Shocks in 2005, we rehearsed at 10AM in the basement of a bar. It was sticky and dark and smelled the way a bar does when you are sober. We played the young people of Hamlet, inheriting a world of our fathers. We were still young enough to be precocious. I went to rehearse from 10-3, waited tables from 4-12, made enough to scrape by, and woke up ready for more.

We’ve grown up now. It’s not a bad thing. Time’s got to do its job, and all things must change. We pay ourselves now. We have proud accomplishments, but in our 30s we can no longer be the new babies on the block. We have things like an office and a board of directors now. Occasionally there are presents in our green rooms.

The TEAM has never been ironic, so it is with awkward honesty that I point out that our new show is about youth. Adolescence. Primer For a Failed Superpower is us writing a love letter to our children about what it was like to grow up with America as a Superpower. We are no longer exploring our own inheritance, but now preparing to give.

We spent two weeks this summer in London, at The National Theatre Studios. We picked up instruments for the first time and with great pride learned to play one song together. We explored ideas about parenting people and countries, honoring the past, constructing the present, and creating new forms in which to share our work. It was one the best experiences I’ve ever had with the company. I felt how sincerely we had grown in generosity of spirit and mind. I saw the incredible new work we were making, constantly striving to break into new forms and ideas.

And I mean, c’mon: I got paid to play pretend with my friends in a land across the ocean for a few weeks – what could be better?

We made some cool stuff, we showed it in Edinburgh, they gave us International Festival Whiskey in the greenroom. Now we’re going to show it here, in our home borough of Brooklyn. We’ve got 45 minutes of raw material we want to show you. We want to hear what you think: what images stick with you, what forms excite you. We want to know if you think what we think is exciting. We want to play our Fugazi cover for you. It’s a casual vibe, and there will be beer. Come join us:


Primer For a Failed Superpower – work in progress showing

Saturday October 20th, doors at 8, show at 8:30

At Jack: 505 ½ Waverly Ave, Brooklyn

Hang out afterwards.



Kristen and LIbby during band practice in Edinburgh, August, 2012


Brian, Kristen, Jess, and Jill during performance of A Thousand Natural Shocks, 2006