Theatre of Yugen and Five on a Match Present SEEN / BY EVERYONE
Theatre of Yugen and Five on a Match present SEEN / BY EVERYONE - conceived by Amir Darvish and Meg MacCary, and co-written by Matthew Cohn, Amir Darvish, Meg MacCary, Enormvs Muñoz and Jen Taher. Directed by Theatre of Yugen's Artistic Director, Nick Ishimaru.
SEEN / BY EVERYONE is an exploration of death and grieving in the age of social media. Not long ago, when a person died they disappeared, living on only in private photographs and letters, or a death-notice on microfiche. Now, their presence remains: their photos and comments and questions, their trivialities and heartfelt expressions linger on. We can still visit their pages or feeds and "talk" to them, in full view of everyone else. What does it mean to live, die, grieve, and keep living in the era of over-sharing? When the dead don't just "go away" the way they used to?
SEEN / BY EVERYONE consists entirely of found text culled from social media. Over several years, thousands of comments and posts pulled from a variety of social media platforms were collaged together. Placed next to each other, these fragments formed conversations, and through this process, distinct voices emerged. The five members of Five on a Match created a play from these voices, all mourning in their own ways, set in a bar on the banks of the Acheron river-the Greek "river of woe".
SEEN / BY EVERYONE uses found text to illuminate the intimacy of people's online revelations and tells a story of how we are now returning to an era of public mourning. The play explores how social media has turned all users into chroniclers of their own lives and the lives of others. It also highlights the humor found when there is no barrier between the heartfelt and the profound and the banal and the crass.
In this production of SEEN / BY EVERYONE, Theatre of Yugen will incorporate elements of Noh theater.
Noh, developed in medieval Japan from Buddhist services, deals almost exclusively with the lingering ghosts of the dead. Over the centuries, the form was refined and codified, introducing conventionalized movement, music, and voice that carries multifaceted symbolism into meditative performance. This is the quality captured in this production of SEEN / BY EVERYONE: a meditation on ghosts of the digital era. Theatre of Yugen is one of the only companies that works in Noh outside of Japan.
Presenting SEEN / BY EVERYONE in San Francisco gives the people who are actively involved in shaping social media platforms a chance to hear the words of the people who use these platforms as a de-facto town square, a place to find connection in an increasingly transient society and raise their awareness of how their products impact society at large.
The San Francisco audience is uniquely situated to shape the next modes of social media. As the home of Silicon Valley and meeting place of hundreds of unique cultures, the Bay Area is the perfect place to continue refining this story of how we die, grieve and keep on living in the era of the over share. This production also explores how social media gives a platform for members of underrepresented communities to engage in a nation-wide dialogue. To engage them, Theatre of Yugen will continue to offer pay-what-you-can nights and reach out to community organizations to offer free or discounted tickets.
Theatre of Yugen, founded in 1978 by Yuriko Doi is dedicated to the preservation of traditional Japanese theatre forms of Kyogen and Noh, as well as continuing to innovate and intertwine tradition with new forms and approaches, contributing to the conversation around modern theatre.
Five on a Match is a diverse group of artists who create and produce original theater and film that tell the stories of the human connections we make in the strange world in which we live. Five on a Match is Matthew Cohn, Amir Darvish, Meg MacCary, Enormvs Muñoz, and Jen Taher. www.fiveonamatch.com
Cast includes: Annika Bergman, Alan Coyne, Adrian Deane, Enormvs Muñoz, Paul Rodriguez, Stephanie Whigham and JJ Van Name.
Costume design: Liz Brent
Scenic design: Josh McDermott
Light design: Brittany Mellerson
Sound design: Ella Cooley
Directed by: Nick Ishimaru
Stage Manager: McKenna Moses
Matthew Cohn's (Writer/Producer) is a New York-based artist. New York: Don Juan Comes Back From The War (Lenfest Center for the Arts); Seen/By Everyone (playwright/performer with Five on a Match, at HERE Arts Center); Twelfth Night and A Midsummer Night's Dream (New Place Players); The Country Wife (Odyssey Productions); Babette's Feast (The Connelly Theater). Regional: Oslo, A Doll's House, and The Importance of Being Earnest (Northern Stage); Measure for Measure (Elm Shakespeare); Rhinoceros (Mighty Theater). He is also the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Vox Theater. www.matthewcohn.com
Amir Darvish's (Writer/Producer) New York Theatre: Seen/By Everyone, This Lingering Life, I Came To Look For You On Tuesday, The (*) Inn, Taxi To Janna, and the critically acclaimed Off-Broadway one-man show: Mercury. 2010 NY Innovative Theatre Award recipient for Outstanding Featured Actor in Psych and a 2009 NY MITF Best Actor Nominee for Higher Education. Film & TV: "Madam Secretary", "Shades of Blue", "Person of Interest", "Bar Karma", "Running Wilde", "Love Magical" and "Month to Month". Amir Darvish.com
Meg MacCary (Writer/Producer) played Queen Isabella in the popular web series The Adventures of Jamel: The Time Traveling B-Boy. Her New York credits include City Girls and Desperadoes with Austin Pendleton (Theater for the New City), This Lingering Life (HERE), Dinner With Friends directed by Pam MacKinnon(Roundabout), I Came To See You On Tuesday (La MaMa), The (*) Inn (Abrons Art Center), The Tempest (Target Margin), Seen / By Everyone (playwright/performer with Five on a Match, at HERE.) She's performed regionally at the Guthrie and La Jolla Playhouse. She won an Obie Award for her performance in Rinne Groff's What Then. She plays Blair in Yaara Sumerak's short film American Daddy. Meg co-founded Clubbed Thumb and served as co-artistic director for 13 years. Next up: The Peanut Butter Show with Little Lord. www.megmaccary.com
Enormvs Muñoz's (Writer/Producer/Actor) credits include This Lingering Life (Theatre of Yugen & Cake), Sidewinders (Cuttingball), The Oskar Trilogy (TheatreWorks Silicon Valley), A Language Of Their Own (Kumu Kahua) and Dogs Body (Theatre of Yugen w/Dah Teatar). He has been performing with Theatre of Yugen snce 2005, is a founding member of Five on a Match, clowns with Fou York, and is a burlesque performer. www.enormvs.com
Jen Taher's (Writer/Producer) credits include Immersion at NYTW (Emerging director fellow showing), Yvette and the Wild Shame (Signature), Asking for Trouble (EST), Flying Snakes in 3D and Dead People (both at Ice Factory), 9 to 5 - a drag queen version at the Castro Theater, San Francisco, National and International Tour of Chuck Mee's Bobrauschenbergamerica with SitiCo, and La Femme est Morte at PS122 & Edinburgh Fringe (Best Acting Ensemble Award).
Nick Ishimaru (Director) was trained originally as a musical theatre performer and started exploring Japanese theatre while studying at Colorado State University (BA, 2005), where he directed a kabuki adaptation of Macbeth. He went on to study at San Francisco State University, (MA, 2009). His work explores a combination of Western and traditional Asian performance techniques for original creations, along with work in conventional musical theatre and Shakespeare.,His directing work at Theatre of Yugen includes The Red Demon by Noda Hideki, A Noh Christmas Carol, and the Fermentation Laboratory. Previous directing work includes It Ain't Me by Claire Rice (original), Land of Infants by Meghan O'Patry (original), and Kaguya (original adaptation). Other recent production work includes A Minor Cycle by Greg Giovanni (original; actor and fight choreographer), This Lingering Life by Chiori Miyagawa (original; actor), and several traditional Kyogen plays with the Theatre of Yugen (actor).
Liz Brent -- Costume Designer: Liz Brent is a multi-disciplinary artist and educator. She specializes in costume design, construction, and wardrobe organization with a decade of experience and a background as a performer. She is a Colorado native who graduated from CU Boulder and lived in Japan before moving to San Francisco. Her favorite shows include otherworldly elements of the fantastic and mythical. More of Liz's work can be seen at http://www.lizb.work/
Joshua McDermott -- Scenic Designer: Joshua McDermott was graduated from the University of Hawai'i with a M.A. in Asian Theatre, specializing in the Japanese avant-garde. He has been working and designing in the bay area since 2005 and is employed as the Technical Director for the performing arts and social justice program at the University of San Francisco, where he is the coordinator of the Tech and Design Certificate.
Ella Cooley -- Sound Designer: Ella Cooley is a local theatre-and-music maker and educator. She graduated from UC Santa Cruz ('13) with a B.A in Theatre Arts and moved to San Francisco shortly thereafter to focus on making music; sound design is a fulfilling way for her to experience both of these worlds at the same time. Ella spends her daytime hours working at Theatre of Yugen as Office Manager and teaching music and theatre to little ones. She recently received a TBA Award for her work on The Winter's Tale (Ragged Wing Ensemble).