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We are deeply humbled to announce that UNDERGROUND RAILROAD GAME was named #21 of the 25 best plays of the last 25 years by the New York Times.

Better 25

From the article:

Physical-theater artists who wrote this daring show for themselves to perform, Ms. Kidwell and Mr. Sheppard are accustomed to making work that’s rooted in the body. “Underground Railroad Game” is more text-based than they’re used to, yet it’s rooted in the body, too — the black body and the white body, female and male, locked in a poisoned dynamic of scarring damage and enormous pain.

Read it HERE.

We have been working on this piece since 2013, for all five years of our life as a company. From the cramped RV we drove down to New Orleans that fall, to the esteemed OBIE Award ceremony last spring, we have been bowled over by reception to this work. To find our show on this list, amongst plays like “August: Osage County,” “The Laramie Project,” “The Vagina Monologues,” and “An Octoroon” is more than we could ever have dreamed of.

UNDERGROUND RAILROAD GAME stands as a testament to the continuing power of live theatre. If you have been moved by the show and believe in our mission of exploding complex questions with precision and play, we urge you to secure the future of Lightning Rod Special’s work:

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Make a donation here.

Your tax-deductible donation ensures that we can maintain our commitment to creating intelligent, considered work that provokes the cobwebbed corners of our audiences’ minds. Donations of all sizes have a huge impact. If you are interested in making a donation of $2,500+ or in becoming an honorary producer of our future work, please contact Alice@lightningrodspecial.com.

Thank you.

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For more information about the UNDERGROUND RAILROAD GAME tour and art book/script, click HERE.

To stay up-to-date on all things LRS, click HERE.

Lightning Rod Special: Live?

What good is sitting alone in your womb?

Come hear the music play!

It’s been many months since our in-process showing of “Unformed Consent” in August and we are back in the studio, hard at work continuing development of the piece. We’ve been working on sharpening the critique, deepening our research, and most of all… writing new songs.

When we create, we do so with active participation and listening from every person in the room. In this way, our pieces are really created by the collective and have a strong ensemble voice. With this same sense of collaboration, our audience is a crucial voice for us to hear. Given that it can be many years before our shows premiere, we like to give you as many looks into our process as possible.

So, you are cordially invited to a one-night-only cabaret of songs from “Unformed Consent” and songs that have never before left the rehearsal room.

LRSLive

LIGHTNING ROD SPECIAL: LIVE?

March 30th, 10:30pm

La Peg at FringeArts, 120 N Columbus Blvd

Tickets: $5 standing room or $15 for a table

http://fringearts.com/event/lightning-rod-special-live/

We hope to see you there.

 

TWO SHOWS LEFT

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SANS EVERYTHING has two performances left before it gets swallowed up by the universe. Today, Saturday Feb 11, at 2pm and 8pm. Shows have been selling out (!!) but there are still tickets available for both performances.

Rave review on DC Metro Arts: “feels like magic”

—->Get your tickets now<—–

Set so far in the future that human bodies have been abandoned, Evolved Intelligence are plugged in to the human life cycle for the very first time. When they encounter Shakespeare’s As You Like It, Elizabethan-style chaos ensues: a total collapse of world order.

What do we owe the past when thinking about the future? How is humanity best expressed: through what we do or who we are? Love, art, escape, the cycle of life—Sans Everything impels audiences to question where humanity is going and what will happen when it gets there.

Get a taste before you go: watch the trailer

SANS EVERYTHING opens tomorrow

Tomorrow we premiere SANS EVERYTHING, our collaboration with Strange Attractor three years in the making.mason-bannercrop

After three nonstop weeks of rehearsing, remembering, crafting, and starting all over, we open tomorrow. The show explores questions around the need to perform, the essential interior of the human being, and the relevance of the past while looking forward into the future. It feels more timely than ever.

We have five performances this weekend and we truly hope you’ll catch one of them. Don’t wait to get your tickets, either– Thursday night is already sold out.

SANS EVERYTHING

LIGHTNING ROD SPECIAL + STRANGE ATTRACTOR

FEBRUARY 9, 8PM (sold out)

FEBRUARY 10, 8PM AND 10:30PM

FEBRUARY 11, 2PM AND 8PM 

—–>CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS<—–

Want a taste before you go? Check out our trailer for the show.

Have you been keeping up with our LIVE WIRE? Assistant Director Tenara Calem has been posting weekly blog entries about the process and themes of the show. Check them out for some incredibly insightful writing.

Tune in to WHYY’s Newsworks Tonight tomorrow, Thursday, at 6pm for an interview with Alice, Scott, and Aram about the show!

Are you on Instagram? Alice is taking over the FringeArts instagram feed for the rest of the week. Let’s see what happens….

Guest Blog Post #2

January 28th, 2017

Tenara here again.

Today in rehearsal, our marvelous outside eye/director Rebecca Noon said the following: “Today, we are deep sea explorers. We are diving into the darkness. We are probably going to encounter some beautiful coral reefs, but we might get a little lost, and that might make us panic a little bit. But we all have oxygen masks, and we can all share our oxygen. Look around the room – these people are deep diving with you, and if you need them, you can rely on them.” And she sent off the creators to generate the last third of the play.

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Fearless explorer, Rebecca Noon

On the idea of deep dive theatrical exploration: the creators at Lightning Rod Special and Strange Attractor have been working on Sans Everything for three years. Not every artist has the opportunity – the wonderful, challenging, ultimately edifying opportunity – to live in and mine out one artistic world for that long a time. For this stretch of Sans Everything, we’ve only got three and a half weeks to carve out the final and most true iteration of Sans. That’s very little time, but the good news is that we’re not starting from square one. Actually, the opposite is true.

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Jenn got the bends — er, the giggles

The challenge in these kinds of timelines is how to hold onto what feels most gold, how to kill your darlings, and how to find, remind, re-find, and rework what the ultimate question of the show is. For Lightning Rod Special and Strange Attractor, the creators don’t feel particularly obligated to be chained to one static and perhaps unyielding conceptual question this play is asking – but then when are we leaving behind what no longer applies, and when are we scrapping everything we’ve done to create something completely different? Is that bad? Is that useful? Is that still Sans Everything? Is it another show? Is Sans Everything merely a proposal, or a play made of marble that we are responsible for sculpting? To answer any of these questions in a way that is theatrically satisfying for all requires creators with brains and instincts that move rapidly from performer to playwright to audience to director to performing artist and back. You can rest assured that Lightning Rod Special and Strange Attractor supply just that.

But then, in an instant, it clicks. You find yourself in an improvisation that is offering absolutely everything you’ve been looking for – it’s the right tone, it’s the right question, it’s theatrically mesmerizing, and suddenly you know that while it may not be the exact scene that goes into the show, it is the first yellow brick on your road to what the audience will see on February 9th. You sit down with your fellow artists and share what it was that made that moment the right moment, and the action plan of how to make it the best moment, the piece’s moment. These kinds of rehearsals are the product of deep sea theatrical diving, and of witnessing the most gorgeous coral reefs down at the bottom.

~Tenara

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From Thursday’s designer run

What we’re watching this week: Time Lapse View of Earth from Space, by astronauts on the ISS

Do you have your tickets yet? Get them HERE.

SANS EVERYTHING Approaches

Yesterday we began rehearsals on SANS EVERYTHING, our collaboration with Strange Attractor three years in the making.

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We sat on the floor of the Red Horse Studio discussing characters, reading the script, and talking about our goals for the show. We’ve been reading Antonin Artaud’s “No More Masterpieces” essay, chatting with Artificial Intelligence experts, trying desperately to reach a Luddite (NOT EASY), and prepping for a busy week of collective actions. (More below)

We’ve got three jam-packed weeks of rehearsals before the show goes up. Stay tuned here for an inside look: Sunday begins our LIVE WIRE guest blogger series.

SANS EVERYTHING

LIGHTNING ROD SPECIAL + STRANGE ATTRACTOR

FEBRUARY 9, 8PM

FEBRUARY 10, 8PM AND 10:30PM

FEBRUARY 11, 2PM AND 8PM 

—–>CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS<—–

Continue reading

Another Transcendent LRS Party

JOIN US FOR

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Warm your hearts, raise some funds, and revel in…

THE EVERYTHING SPECTACULAR

Monday, December 5th

Starting at 6pm

Performances at 7pm

The Maas Building, 1320 N 5th Street, garden entrance

Funds raised at The Everything Spectacular will benefit the upcoming FringeArts premiere of SANS EVERYTHING, our collaboration with Strange Attractor. Maybe you caught a sneak peak at an early draft last year at the Special Strange, but after a year of development, plus a stellar Philly design team, we’ve got tricks up our sleeve.

The Everything Spectacular will feature performances by NYC Cabaret Legends Molly Pope and Erin Markey, Philly’s own Almanac, and LRS friend Alex Tartarsky (more to be announced). Plus: Silent auction! Live auction! Homecooked food and, of course, the signature Lightning Rod Special cocktail.

Live auction grand prize is a New York package with tickets to NATASHA, PIERRE & THE GREAT COMET OF 1812. Don’t miss your chance!

CLICK HERE TO GET TICKETS

To make sure you stay updated on scintillating party details, sign up for our mailing list: