ROCCO, CHELSEA, ADRIANA, SEAN, CLAUDIA, GIANNA, ALEX
Produced by THE PRIVATE THEATRE
in association with TÉA CREATIVE
Premiering at HERE Arts Center
february 23 - march 9, 2019
WRITTEN BY: DAN HASSE
BASED ON ORIGINAL WRITING BY:
CHUK OBASI, CHELSEA FREI, KAREN EILBACHER, SARAH WHARTON, JASON GRAY, Adriana ROSSetto, SALOMÉ KRELL, BRONWEN CARSON
ADRIAN BAIDOO, MICHAEL CUOMO, Kaelyn Amber Gonzalez, EMILY JACKSON, TALYA MAR, MELISSA MICKENS, CHUCK MONTGOMERY, CHUK OBASI, ADRIANA ROSSETTO
created BY: VIEVE RADHA PRICE & JOHN GOULD RUBIN
DIRECTED BY: JOHN GOULD RUBIN
producing director: VIEVE RADHA PRICE
SETS and Costumes: LIZ TOONKEL
LIGHTING: Erin Fleming
VIDEO: RAY SUN
sound/COMPOSER: drew weinstein
PRESS REPRESENTATIVE: RICHARD KORNBERG
PRODUCTION MANAGER: LIBBY JENSEN
GRAPHIC DESIGN: Jesse Jae Hoon
PHOTOS: HUNTER CANNING
ROCCO, CHELSEA, ADRIANA, SEAN, CLAUDIA, GIANNA, ALEX...
...is a theatrical tapestry of intimate stories, inspired by Bernard Lonergan’s 'consciousness of conflict' philosophy. It follows seven characters and their inner dramas as they are each confronted with life-altering decisions. By following each dramatic turn of these characters’ consciousness, Rocco, Chelsea… asks us to confront our own deeply held convictions.
Rocco, Chelsea, Adriana, Sean, Claudia, Gianna, Alex begins with a Thanksgiving dinner with the entire audience seated around a massive, three-sided table interspersed with the actors. The audience is merged into the family and the action, blurring the distinction between theatrical and lived realities. Through this immersive, hyper-real sensibility the audience experiences theater distinct from what they are accustomed to. Actors will disrupt the action by reacting to it, or by beginning the action of the next scene. As scenes merge, the audience begins to choose what to watch. Messages left on phones come live from those phones so that the audience leans in to hear them. Audience members will move to see what characters are responding to on their personal devices. How much the audience does or doesn't follow what the actors are actually seeing or listening to will determine how much they do or don't follow the choices those characters are making in their lives, just like we all do in our lives. As these multiple stories of American identity and decision making interweave, the audience collaborates with the show in devising their experience through their own choices and judgments. This immersion in the action and participation in the narratives, allows the audience to own the stories and feel the cultural landscape personally. By the end, this tapestry of American narratives will feel like it came from within each member of the audience and was lived more than observed.
Rocco, Chelsea, Adriana, Sean, Claudia, Gianna, Alex, devised and co-directed by Vieve Radha Price and John Gould Rubin is the fruit of a multi-year process. The Company, made up of 12 multi-disciplinary artist, set for itself the challenge of dramatizing the consciousness of conflict – the struggles Americans face in their everyday lives influenced by an increasingly polarized society.
In the first step of the process, the Company trained in and carried out “Insight conversations” (agenda-less, curiosity-based conversations designed to gain insight into an individual’s aims and aspirations without provocation) with Americans across the country in pursuit of issues and material.
The second step involved developing the narrative structure – a play. How could we select and organize the vast array of material we had collected in the interview process into a cogent and captivating drama that would lead our audience into a sense that we were performing something intimately bound to their lives? To this end, we designed and led twelve Insight Design Labs over the course of a year, working collaboratively with the Company to develop each company member’s chosen material into characters struggling to find themselves and to build relationships in a polarized culture.
In the third step, we pulled the drama of the title characters together by workshopping the play in a number of venues. A writer was engaged to weave the stories one into the other comprising a seamless array of narratives constructing a tapestry of conflict, decision-making, life and struggle. The play’s coherence is founded on audience members discovering themselves mirrored by the struggles, options and decision-making of the title characters; Rocco, Chelsea, Adriana, Sean, Claudia, Gianna, Alex. Through the characters’ conflict, the audience engages in their own struggles with socially fragmenting technologies and polarizing habits of mind that drive cultural conflict in America today.
ROCCO, CHELSEA, ADRIANA, SEAN, CLAUDIA, GIANNA, ALEX is about a shock-jock wrestling with his partner’s marital violence; a young woman engaging in an endless online courtship; an immigrant seeking naturalization as definitions of American-ness shift; a son facing accusations of 'burdening the family' with his HIV diagnosis; a woman grappling with an open adoption policy that provides closure to some and distresses others; a sister reliving—over and over—the loss of her brother to gun violence; a father fighting intrusive pornographic fantasies.
Inspired by Robert Altman’s Short Cuts and Robert LePage’s Lipsynch, this work interweaves an epic landscape of multiple narratives creating a powerful emotional experience. The theme of struggle and choice are married to an adventurous production in which the audience too must decide how to experience the show. ROCCO, CHELSEA, ADRIANA, SEAN, CLAUDIA, GIANNA, ALEX is a new theater event designed for the new America in which we find ourselves.