Annie Dorsen's PROMETHEUS FIREBRINGER to Have New York Premiere at The Chocolate Factory Theater

This strictly limited engagement will run May 11–13, 2023 at The Chocolate Factory Theater in Long Island City, Queens.

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The Chocolate Factory Theater, Media Art Xploration, and New York Live Arts will present the New York premiere of Prometheus Firebringer, the first lecture-performance by director and writer Annie Dorsen in her hometown of New York since being named a 2019 MacArthur Fellow. This strictly limited engagement will run May 11-13, 2023 at The Chocolate Factory Theater in Long Island City, Queens. Tickets are now on sale at

"What shall I do?" is a question at the heart of every Greek tragedy, observes philosopher Simon Critchley. When there are no good options, when every course of action comes with unbearable costs, how do you choose? This question inspires Prometheus Firebringer, which continues Dorsen's exploration of the ambiguous impacts of technology.

In ancient Greek mythology, Prometheus stole the gods' fire to give to humans-sparking sudden and dramatic advances in technology and the arts, and dramatic new sources of conflict. His story is told in the 2500-year-old Prometheia trilogy attributed to Aeschylus, of which only Prometheus Bound remains in full.

In Prometheus Firebringer, Dorsen uses the predictive text model GPT-3 (a precursor to ChatGPT) to generate speculative versions of the missing story. Each night a chorus of AI-generated Greek masks performs a different iteration, while Dorsen engages the audience in reflections on power, knowledge, and doubt.

Although the explosion of artificial intelligence technology into our daily lives feels unprecedented and new, Dorsen asks if we have been here before. She reflects openly on her influences, standing in contrast to how the black box of AI operates. How do we decide to act when we can't trust our sources? And who do we become in the face of a technology controlled by a select few, especially when its workings remain a mystery?

"Algorithmic theater is not sci-fi," says Dorsen. "The pieces I'm making are neither utopian nor dystopian fantasies of a far-off future. The question most fundamental to my creation of algorithmic theater is 'What kinds of screens are we peering into, and what kinds of selves are we hoping to glimpse there?' We have already given over large areas of decision-making to algorithms, and we have already (mostly) agreed to participate in the conversion of our lives into data, which algorithms use. Algorithmic theater makes their functioning available for observation and contemplation, so that we may begin to understand not only how they work, but how we work with them."

In addition to Dorsen, the creative team for Prometheus Firebringer includes Ian Douglas-Moore (sound design), Ryan Holsopple (video and systems design), Ruth Waldeyer (lighting design / technical direction), Okwui Okpokwasili (voice print), Livia Reiner (voice print), Harry Kleeman (3D artist), Tom Sellar (dramaturgy) and Natasha Katerinopoulos (producer).

Three performances of Prometheus Firebringer will take place May 11-13, 2023, at The Chocolate Factory, located at 38-33 24th Street in Long Island City, Queens. Critics are welcome as of May 11, which also serves as the official opening. The performance schedule is Thursday-Saturday at 7 PM. The running time is 60 minutes with no intermission. General admission tickets, which are priced at $20, are available at Standard ticketing fees apply.

The Chocolate Factory is accessible via the 7 or N train at Queensboro Plaza and the F train at 21st Queensbridge. A PDF with detailed directions can be found here.

About Annie Dorsen

Annie Dorsen is a theater director and writer whose works explore the intersection of algorithms and live performance. Her most recent project, Infinite Sun (2019), is an algorithmic sound installation commissioned by the Sharjah Biennial 14. Previous performance projects, including The Slow Room (2018), The Great Outdoors (2017), Yesterday Tomorrow (2015), A Piece of Work (2013), Spokaoke (2012), and Hello Hi There (2010), have been widely presented in the US and internationally.

Some of the venues where her work has been seen include Performance Space New York (formerly PS122), Le Festival d'Automne de Paris, The Holland Festival, BAM's Next Wave Festival, New York Live Arts, Kampnagel Summer Festival, Kaaitheater, and The New York Film Festival's "Views from the Avant-garde" series, along with many others. The script for A Piece of Work was published by Ugly Duckling Presse, and she has contributed essays for The Drama Review (TDR), Theatre Magazine, Etcetera, Frakcija, and Performing Arts Journal (PAJ).

She has collaborated frequently with musicians and choreographers, including Anne Juren, Ethel, Questlove/The Roots, DD Dorvillier, and Sébastien Roux. She is the co-creator of the 2008 Broadway musical Passing Strange, which she also directed.

A retrospective of Annie Dorsen's algorithmic work was presented in 2022, at Bryn Mawr College with major support by the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage. The publication Algorithmic Theater: Essays and Dialogues, 2012-2022 was created as a literary companion to the event, collecting a decade of writings by and about Dorsen, including dialogues with artistic collaborators in addition to provocative essays on theater and technology.

In addition to awards for Passing Strange, Dorsen received a 2019 MacArthur Fellowship, a 2018 Guggenheim Fellowship, the 2018 Spalding Gray Award, a 2016 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grant to Artists Award and the 2014 Herb Alpert Award for the Arts in Theatre.

Dorsen is currently completing her second year at NYU School of Law.

About The Chocolate Factory Theater

The Chocolate Factory Theater exists to encourage and support artists in their process of inquiry. We engage specifically with a community of artists who challenge themselves and, in doing so, challenge us. We believe that by supporting the labor of these artists, we contribute to elevating New York City as a thriving and more equitable wellspring of ideas.

The Chocolate Factory embraces artistic practice as an integral part of the artist's whole life, an essential component of the life of our community and a key element of a larger national and international artistic dialogue. As such, we host artists as our equal partners with shared autonomy, trust and appreciation. While we seek to make big ideas and extended relationships possible, we commit to working at a small, intimate and personal scale, with few artistic compromises or boundaries.

We achieve all of this by creating a vessel for artistic experimentation through a residency package serving the whole artist - salary, space, responsive and flexible support for the development of new work from inspiration to presentation.

An extensive archive of The Chocolate Factory's past performances is freely available at

About Media Art Xploration

Media Art Xploration produces live & immersive arts that harness & interrogate the scientific advances of our times, affording artists a voice in the most pressing conversations. Artists, performers, scientists and creative technologists come together to make work that engages audiences in new ways, raising awareness of the promise and peril of the constant innovation around us.

We incubate new work at the nexus of live arts and science in our MAXmachina laboratory, a yearly cohort of leading thinkers and creators. We present this work and more at our biennial festivals, the next one slated for November 9-11 in NYC.

In our first four years of programming, we collaborated with over 130 artists, 50 scientists and creative technologists to bring over 20 productions, 15 MAXforum conversations and 5 museum installations to premier venues including Carnegie Hall, The Exploratorium, MASS MoCA, New York Live Arts, Boston Museum of Science and ONX Studio for Xtended Reality. Visit us at &

About New York Live Arts

New York Live Arts is an internationally recognized destination for innovative performance and humanities programming, offering audiences access to art and ideas by creatives notable for their conceptual rigor, formal experimentation and active engagement with the sociopolitical and cultural currents of our times. Led by world-renowned artist Bill T. Jones, New York Live Arts supports artists at all stages of their careers through our residencies, commissions, and artist services. It also serves as home base for the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company, which has been creating groundbreaking work for over forty years. We at New York Live Arts acknowledge and offer deep gratitude to Lenapehoking, where our theatre sits-the land, and waters of the Lenape homeland.

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