Applied Mechanics to Present New, Immersive Work WE ARE BANDITS, 7/19-31

Concert meets immersive performance where every audience member has a backstage pass. Inspired by Russian feminist group Pussy Riot, Applied Mechanics is engaging its signature choose-your-own-adventure style to create a piece about feminism, protest art, and activism in our contemporary world.

Following the critically acclaimed, large-scale historical fantasia VAINGLORIOUS, Applied Mechanics creates a new, fierce theatrical investigation of the troubled relationships between state and citizen, art and politics, women and the public sphere.

This new devised work roars its name: WE ARE BANDITS. In the spirit of radical democracy, which embraces all citizens, WE ARE BANDITS will be presented July 19 - July 31 free of charge for all audience members.

WE ARE BANDITS asks, "What makes a political moment ripe for artists to have a deep impact? And how is it possible to affect social change in our American present?" Our shows include the audience as active participants, inviting them to enter the world of the play rather than just witnessing it, giving them agency in how they watch the stories unfolding. In the spirit of immersive work, Applied Mechanics approached this new project by asking "How can this piece go farther? How can we do more than depict the desire for a more just world, and actually enact it?" One answer is to make the art fully accessible, without excluding anyone due to financial barriers. Standing with fellow artistic organizations like The Wilma Theater, PlayPenn and Shakespeare in Clark Park, we are contributing to making affordable art in this city. "Philadelphia's most unusual theater company" expands our ongoing experiments with inclusive art by offering WE ARE BANDITS free of charge.

WE ARE BANDITS comes to life through the devising practice of Applied Mechanics: Rebecca Wright, Maria Shaplin, Thomas Choinacky, Mary Tuomanen, Jessica Hurley, Bayla Rubin and Kristen Bailey. Applied Mechanics explores the relationships between bodies and space, and builds immersive performances that challenge conventional ideas of theatrical space, narrative, and performer-audience relationship. This piece draws additional inspiration from the public interventions of Russian feminist group Pussy Riot, and the resulting incarceration of two of its members, as well as from protest music throughout the world and resistance movements throughout the ages.

The production involves a powerhouse team of some of Philadelphia's most exciting young artists, as well as a few talented guests from New York and LA. WE ARE BANDITS is directed by Rebecca Wright (Sarah Flood in Salem Mass: The Flea, NY; Slip/Shot: Flashpoint Theatre Company), designed by Maria Shaplin (The Ballad of Joe Hill: Swim Pony Performing Arts at FringeArts Festival 2013; Circle Mirror Transformation: Theater Horizon), Caitlin Lainoff (Sarah Flood in Salem Mass: The Flea, NY; Macbeth and She Stoops to Conquer: Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival, LA), Adriano Shaplin (Ondine: Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium; Sophie Gets the Horns: The Riot Group, NY), and Nikki Delhomme (Stones in His Pocket: Yale Rep; Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson: Redhouse Theatre, Syracuse NY). The cast is comprised of Mary Tuomanen (Three Sisters: The Arden; Ghosts: People's Light and Theater Company), Thomas Choinacky (Album: Tallinn, Estonia; Thomas is Titanic: Capital Fringe), Aime? Donna Kelly (We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as Southwest Africa, From the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915: InterAct Theatre Company; This is the Week That Is: 1812 Productions), Kathryn Raines (Marlene and the Machine: Bearded Ladies Cabaret; The Body Lautrec: Mary Tuomanen and Aaron Cromie), Annie Wilson (Melody Excerpt and Interior Drama: Lucinda Childs, Hipster Shaman: SoLow Fest), Isabella Sazak (Sarah Flood in Salem Mass: The Flea, NY), Anita Marie Holland (Dealing With Ophelia: Unicycle Productions, NY), and Adam Kerbel (Communitas: Almanac Dance Circus Theatre).



By Applied Mechanics

Directed by Rebecca Wright

Designed by Maria Shaplin Created by Applied Mechanics

WHERE: Asian Arts Initiative, 1219 Vine Street Philadelphia, PA 19107

WHEN: July 19 - July 31 2014

CAST: Mary Tuomanen, Thomas Choinacky, Aime? Donna Kelly, Kathryn Raines, Annie Wilson, Isabella Sazak, Anita Marie Holland, Adam Kerbel

TICKETS: FREE. Reservations required. Reserve at

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