600 Highwaymen Enlists the Audience to Perform in The Fever at Current | Arts

600 Highwaymen Enlists the Audience to Perform in The Fever at Current

by

comment
600 Highwaymen - PHOTO BY MARIA BARANOVA
  • Photo by Maria Baranova
  • 600 Highwaymen
Wednesday, April 11-Sunday, April 15
Current Artspace + Studio, Chapel Hill
Various times, $10–$20
www.currentunc.org

It was an effective public service advertisement. I can still hear it now, some three decades later. Instead of demanding our money or time, Jimmy Stewart's prairie voice, soliciting for the American Red Cross, simply asked a gentle but conscience-pricking question: "Where do you fit in, neighbor?" New York theater company 600 Highwaymen poses a similar query in The Fever, its latest experiment in citizen performance—a theatrical form devoted to exploring the boundaries of audience participation. The company placed its adult-themed 2014 music-theater drama Employee of the Year on five untrained nine- and ten-year-olds. Here, the group enlists audience members seated in a rectangle around the stage to pose and perform simple tasks as they stand in for various characters. It's a work of "ritualistic communal storytelling" (Chicago Tribune) that "seeks to break down those unseen walls we all put up around us" (The New York Times). —Byron Woods

Add a comment