(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) – British playwright and performer Tim Crouch concludes a two-week residency at MASS MoCA, as part of the Sundance Institute Theatre Lab, with a staged reading of his play My Arm in Club B-10 on Saturday, December 1, 2012, at 8 pm.
Crouch’s multimedia tale of a young boy who decides to permanently raise his hand into the air unfolds through a combination of live performance, digital film, and the animation of everyday objects supplied by the audience before each performance. Shirley Dent, of the Institute of Idea’s Culture Wars, praises an early production of My Arm: “Tim Crouch understands narrative, he knows what words will pull us in and what silences will keep us there.”
Crouch describes the inspiration for the piece: “The original idea of the boy with his arm in the air came during an improvised story-telling I did for a group of ten-year-olds …. The image stuck with me.” Crouch then experimented with incorporating ordinary objects such as coffee cups, fire extinguishers, and chairs during a series of workshops at the National Theatre. He discovered that when “the objects were manipulated by the actors who were instructed not to get emotionally involved with… their object,” the effect was engaging for the audience.
At its core, My Arm also provokes discussion about the differences between visual arts and theatre. In the introduction to My Arm, Crouch describes “the social nature of watching a play and the private, stand-alone nature of looking at a painting… My Arm is from a clear theatrical tradition; the accompanying visual focus, however, requires a different frame of approach… Visual art expects its viewers to work hard. My Arm attempts to let the audience be by itself for periods of time…to give the audience a greater sense of its own authority in relation to what it is seeing.”
Beginning his career as an actor, Crouch started making his own work in 2003 and now, based in Brighton, he writes, performs, and produces his own plays. He has developed and performed commissions and new works across the world, including at the Royal Court Theatre and the National Theatre in London, theRoyal Shakespeare Company in Stratford, theTraverse Theatrein Edinburgh,Singapore Arts Festival, Culturgestin Lisbon, the Public Theatre in New York, and the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.
This year, Crouch was selected as a Sundance Institute Theatre Lab fellow. The acclaimed Sundance Institute, originally founded by Robert Redford, the annual host of the Sundance Film Festival, provides “a space for independent artists to explore their stories free from commercial and political pressures.” The Theatre Lab is dedicated to developing the careers of theatre artists through a collaborative fellowship program.
My Arm will be presented in the museum’s Club B-10 performance space,. located on the third floor of the museum, and hosting emerging artists from a multitude of performing arts genres. Dinner and snacks from Lickety Split Café and drinks from the MASS MoCA bar are available before and during the performance.
The staged reading of My Arm will take place on Saturday, December 1, 2012, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12 in advance, $16 on the day of the show. Tickets for students are $10. MASS MoCA members receive a 10% discount. Tickets are available through the MASS MoCA Box Office, located off Marshall Street in North Adams, from 11 AM until 5 PM (closed Tuesdays). Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111 during Box Office hours or purchased online at MASS MoCA.