On July 29th & 30th, we saw our first show come to life – Tunes, Brews & Wormwood #1. The Tunes: The Dollhouse Thieves. The Brews: Diebolt Brewing. The Wormwood: That’s us.
It was the first show of our theatre-band collaboration series, where we pair up with Denver bands every month and devise a show around their original music, performing at different local breweries.
We do this because we’ve never seen anything like it, and it’s something we’d want to go to. Additionally, we believe our craft could benefit from being more collaborative and community-based, inviting theatregoers and non-theatregoers alike into non-traditional, non-exclusive theatre spaces. “Site-inspired” theatre is also a fantastic challenge, as a story transforms in conversation with a unique setting. As for the choice of “tunes & brews,” we’re aware that people like music & beer, and we get to support the local musicians and craft brewers we love.
I’m speaking as Amanda here, and on a personal level the reception of Tunes, Brews & Wormwood #1 was, frankly, moving. Yes, it was a fun show in the taproom of a brewery, but it did contain an emotional message, and the amount of people laughing and then crying was something quite special to experience as a theatre-maker. After the show, several audience members approached us to admit they initially weren’t excited when they learned they were going to a theatre performance (they came with friends, or to support cast members), but were pleasantly surprised to encounter an interactive story involving music and drinking. One patron explained, “you’ve changed my perception of theatre – I was a TV-film guy, but now I get the point of coming out to a thing – you’ve got me hooked,” which was potentially more meaningful to me than anything else that night. The idea here, at least for me, is that theatre shouldn’t be for one type of person, it should be communal, available, and offer something that TV and film can’t – it has to go beyond the proscenium model, it has to capitalize on whatever makes it different from other media. For us, that’s the utilization of physical space, collaboration with artists in the community, and the introduction of interactive elements into our shows. If we’re making something that’s attracting a diverse audience and inspiring skeptics to believe that our art is a worthwhile and distinct craft in society, I think we’re doing a good thing.
My main hope is that we can continue to do this work, and while I have faith in our abilities, I also know it is not an easy feat. Vaguely exhausted but mostly excited, we’re already heading into rehearsals for Tunes, Brews, & Wormwood #2. The Tunes: Open to the Hound. The Brews: Strange Craft Beer Co. The Wormwood? Still us, pressing on.
-- Amanda Faye Martin