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Melisa Tien, Dante Green Develop New Work In The Assembly's Deceleration Lab for Collaborative Theatre Projects


Melisa Tien, Dante Green Develop New Work In The Assembly's Deceleration Lab for Collaborative Theatre Projects

The Assembly presents in-process showings of two new works developed by the resident artists of the Deceleration Lab, an initiative to foster new theatrical projects that experiment with multi-perspective and multi-disciplinary models of creation.

This year's Lab Artists are Dante Green, developing their new musical Levi's Big Leap with an exploration of regional folklore and puppetry, and Melisa Tien, whose experiential theatrical work Untitled Landscape aims to map out the common occurrences that make up a human life. Both artists will share excerpts of their works-in-progress and participate in a discussion about their process in two free public events happening live on Zoom this week.

Saturday, December 11, 7pm ET - Dante Green will be joined by Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble Founding Member (and national treasure) Laurie McCants for a live discussion of the development of Levi's Big Leap, the shadow puppetry elements involved in the show and their shared hometown history. Dante is a writer, composer, and director, originally from Bloomsburg, PA where Laurie-a fellow writer, director, and puppeteer-founded Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble with other recent graduates in 1978. The pair have worked together in various capacities for almost fifteen years.

Tuesday, December 14 at 7pm ET - Join Deceleration Lab artist Melisa Tien, her collaborator Tamilla Woodard, and members of The Assembly for an hour-long virtual event that encapsulates the process of constructing Untitled Landscape, an experiential theatrical work conceived by Melisa Tien that invites participants to engage with and be audiences for one another. An intimate look at what defines the landscape of each of our lives, it asks: What are the moments in your life that, taken together, make up who you are?

Both showings are online and open to the public. Free reservations may be made at

The Assembly, a collaborative theater collective whose ten original plays include New York Times Critic's Pick HOME/SICK and Seagullmachine, launched the Deceleration Lab in 2020 to support artists in The Assembly's broader community to develop work that takes artistic risks, challenges traditional hierarchical structures, and creates new professional opportunities for the participating artists.

Levi's Big Leap is a new musical by Dante Green. When little Levi's family is mysteriously forced out of their small-town home of Rural, Pennsylvania, he decides this is the PERFECT opportunity to escape capitalist imperialist society. He begins his own American Dream with his best (NOT) girlfriend Maddison and their mangy mutt Meatball. With twenty-four hours remaining, Levi encounters fear (and racism) on his journey and discovers deep dark secrets about his all too ignorant town along the way, including the reason why his family had to move in the first place.

Untitled Landscape is an experiential theatrical work conceived by Melisa Tien and developed with director Tamilla Woodard that aims to map out the common occurrences that, together, make up a human life. The project utilizes an audience-centered devised-work process that features audience input in the creation of the text as well as their participation in the presentation of the work. Building off previous collaborations with theater performers, they are inviting specific communities of non-actors to take part in participant-centered devising workshops, each one possessing its own unique, inherent theatricality. As with untitled landscapes in the visual arts, every human's existence has its own defining characteristics but also displays common contours that denote it unmistakably as a lived life.

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