The Rat Conference, alternative theatre's most radical "organization," will be descending on New York, Aug. 15-24, to hold its annual RatFestation convention.
The Rat Conference, was spawned from a 1993 article in Yale Theatre journal by Erik Ehn. In Ehn's article "Towards Big Cheap Theatre," he posed the challenge: to form lines of communication among experimental theatres. Most of these theatres nationwide are going through similar problems (budget, volunteers, artistic crisis...etc) and could benefit each other by sharing solutions.
Since its inception, problems have plagued The Rat Conference. Arguments between theatre companies have covered everything from a clear-cut definition of what Rat is, to defining what "RAT" could be an acronym for (Some of Ehn's suggestions are: "Resident Alternative Theatres, Raggedy-Assed Theatre and Rogues in American Typecasting).
Nevertheless, RatFestation will be presenting workshops, performances and roundtable discussions at New York locations such as: The Ohio Theatre (212-966-4844), HERE (212-647-0202), New York Theatre Workshop (718-832-6504), and Coney Island, USA (718-372-5159).
RatFest '97 events include: * TIRZA'S WINE BATH WORKSHOP- The Rats plan on reviving one of Coney Island's famed attractions of yesteryear. Pink Decor, bubble machines and women immersed in bubbling red wine.
* MULTICULTURALISM AND THEATER at HERE. A workshop led by Denis Moritz, Theatre Double (Philadelphia).
* THE ELECTRONIC RAT at HERE. A roundtable discussion about the Rat's website and how to maintain it.Thieves Theatre (Brooklyn).
* MEYERHOLD WORKSHOP at HERE. A workshop led by Carlo Altomere, Alchemical Theatre (NYC).
* DINNER... or BITS OF RAT WITH YOUR TAKE-OUT at HERE. Organized by Peculiar Works Project (NYC), a chance for Rat members to present their latest projects and ideas to each other.
* RATSO'S RATCHET at the East 4th Street Theatre. Performances led by Joshua Furst and Jonathan Pascoe (NYC), over 200 different three-minute plays will be presented.
Numerous other events will be taking place throughout the Conference, for a more detailed schedule call (718) 832-6504. -- By Sean McGrath