Theater in a Van

Some young theater makers in NYC came up with a clever DIY project called Theater in a Van. Living in a city where space is at a premium you gotta do what you gotta do to do what you love to do. And, sometimes, necessity breeds invention that breeds innovation. Personally, I’m excited to see what their experiment has yielded.

After some success in New York, and some help from backers on they’ve taken to the road to bring their shows to the rest of the country. Tonight they are in New Orleans. I’ll repost the relevant details from the post on Blog of New Orleans.

Interested passersby can pay $5 to see one of three original plays. The back of the van serves as a stage, and the bus can seat between 10 and 12 audience members per performance. Each show runs between 15 and 20 minutes.

In the timely musical The Big Spill, two musicians come up with a crackpot idea to save the Gulf. Musical accompaniment is provided by a guitar, tambourine, toy piano and melodophone. In a Choose Your Own Adventure twist, the audience gets to decide how the play ends.

Lint, which Pease describes as the most standard play in the lineup, is an “adult fairytale” about a dust bunny tired of the constant upheaval in the air duct where she lives. Coming of age, she ventures into the world outside the ventilation system she knows.

The dark comedy A Funeral Song for Duchess D follows two young concertgoers who confront sinister, abstinence-promoting sex symbols of the Disney star variety. Puppets also comprise part of its cast.

Though they haven’t nailed down exactly where they’ll park, Theatre in a Van targets high foot traffic areas. Pease is hoping to find the French Quarter parking.

The troupe’s long-term goal is to modify the bus’s engine to run on vegetable oil. For now, it’s outfitted with a solar panel which helps keep the battery charged and powers the cast’s cooking equipment. (Yes, they’re also living in the van.)


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