Performances begin online July 24 for the New Ohio Theatre's 27th annual Ice Factory Festival. Featuring four shows broadcast over four weeks, the Obie-winning festival kicks off with live streamed performances of Mona Mansour's Beginning Days of True Jubilation, the inaugural production from Mansour and Scott Illingworth's new theatre company Society.
Adapted for Zoom, Beginning Days of True Jubilation is a satirical journey through the cult-like, group-think of winner-take-all capitalism, from the early euphoria of a new start-up through its epic crash and burn. Directed by Scott Illingworth, the new piece is conceived by Society, which uses a method of research, improvisation, and discussion to make theatre. Performances will be July 24–26.
Next up will be we need your listening, an interactive, virtual show created by multidisciplinary artists Velani Dibba, Ilana Khanin, Elizagrace Madrone, and Stephen Charles Smith. In a shifting theatrical landscape, individual audience members enter a dim space between digital and analog reality and are taken through a series of intimate, one-on-one exchanges with performers—discovering and re-discovering the act of listening as radical engagement.
The piece, which runs July 30–August 2, was created with the performing ensemble, made up of Hilary Asare, Alex Bartner, ChiWen Chang, Sam Gonzalez, Alice Gorelick, Julia Greer, Nile Assata Harris, Annie Hoeg, Sam Im, and Bri Woods.
Ice Factory continues August 4–8 with Who's There?, a cross-cultural encounter involving artists based in Singapore, Malaysia, and the United States. Using Zoom, the show explores the unstable ground between us and “the other." A Black American influencer accuses a Malaysian bureaucrat of condoning blackface. A Singaporean-Indian teacher launches an Instagram feud calling out racial inequality at home, post-George Floyd. A privileged Singaporean-Chinese activist meets a compassionate White Saviour, and an ethnically ambiguous political YouTuber takes a DNA test for the first time.
Who's There? is created by The Transit Ensemble, and is co-directed by Sim Yan Ying "YY" and Alvin Tan. The cast is made up of Ghafir Akbar, Sean Devare, Rebekah Sangeetha Dorai, Neil Redfield, Camille Thomas, and Sim Yan Ying "YY".
Rounding out the festival is A Burning Church by New Ohio Archive Residency Artists Zhailon Levingston, Alex Hare, and Nehemiah Luckett. With a book by Hare and Levingston (who also directs), music by Luckett, and lyrics by Levingston, the new musical traces the lives of church leaders and congregants amid political movements, tragedies, and spiritual rebirth.
This iteration of A Burning Church, which runs August 13–15, will be presented as a virtual religious service, weaving in performances of songs from the show with sermons, commentary, and moments to hold spiritual space together.
The 2020 Ice Factory Festival runs July 24–August 15, with a full performance calendar available here. Tickets are pay what you will, with a suggested donation of $10. Learn more about the festival by visiting NewOhioTheatre.org.