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innovative play features some of the Front Range’s most celebrated performers
Boulder, COLO. — Boulder-based square product theatre returns with a remount of Greg Wohead’s “Celebration, Florida,” an innovative performance work that features performers who will not have seen or read the script before they perform.
Featuring two unrehearsed performers who have never met, “Celebration, Florida” is a quietly surreal show for anyone who has ever missed anyone or anything. Veering between reality and simulation, the piece orbits around ideas of surrogacy; a stand-in to replace a person you miss, a re-creation of an experience you can’t stop thinking about, nostalgia for a place that perhaps never existed. Greg will speak to the audience through two performers using pre-recorded audio and headphones. They will know almost nothing about the show when they walk onstage.
“We had a lovely time presenting the regional premiere of ‘Celebration, Florida’ back in 2019,” says Emily K. Harrison, square product theatre producing artistic director. “It offers a really fun and unique opportunity for performers. Because they know so little about the play before they perform and because they’re committed to being onstage with another performer they’ve never before met, it really requires a great deal of trust. They have to trust themselves and their instincts, they have to trust the playwright, and they have to trust the other performer – so really, they have to be willing to place their trust in the hands of complete strangers and be comfortable not knowing what may happen.”
While it shares a name with a real-life American city, the play itself is not about Celebration, Florida – at least not directly. “‘Celebration, Florida’ is a theatre performance that deals with stand-ins, surrogates, cover versions,” Wohead notes. “Things that are once, twice, three times (or more) removed; people and places that are at a distance, the longing involved when we miss people and the realization that the person we’re missing (or the version of them we imagine) might never have existed in the first place.”
“I wrote ‘Celebration, Florida’ at a time when I was often at a distance from people and places I loved and felt attached to. I found myself longing for these people and places,” Wohead said. “In a lot of ways, the piece feels like a perfect play for now, as we reflect on our time apart, time that was forced on us by the global pandemic,” Harrison added.
“For me the heart of the piece is witnessing the experience of the two performers,” Wohead notes. The entire time you’re seeing two performers who didn’t know each other begin to spend time together, to get to know each other in some sort of way and depend on each other to get through the show. Maybe in amongst the confusion of conflicting stories and trying to parse out what’s ‘real’ and what’s not, we can just enjoy human connection.”
“Celebration, Florida” by Greg Wohead
produced by square product theatre
Featuring performers from throughout the Front Range (full schedule TBA)
Run dates and times:
8 p.m., Wednesday, March 15; Thursday, March 16; Friday, March 17; Saturday, March 18
3 p.m., Saturday, March 18
Venue: Carsen Theater at the Dairy Arts Center
2590 Walnut St., Boulder, Colo.
$24 general admission; $15 students; $20 seniors
$5 off tickets purchased by March 6!
Tickets available at https://thedairy.org/event/celebration-florida/or 303-444-7328
square product theatre’s mission: The mission of award-winning, Boulder-based square product theatre is to engage in radical acts of inquiry that leave an audience with just as many questions as answers. For more information, visit squareproducttheatre.org
About the playwright:
Currently based in Portugal, Greg Wohead is a writer, performer, and live artist originally from Texas. He makes theatre, performances, one-to-one pieces, and audio works. He draws on a broad range of references and forms including autobiography, found audio, film, historical reenactment, and fan fiction, and prioritizes a sense of the off-center, the slippery, the queer. His recent touring work includes “Call it a Day,” “Celebration, Florida,” “Comeback Special,” “The Ted Bundy Project,” and “Story #1” (in collaboration with Rachel Mars). His work has been seen at theatre and festivals in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Europe, including Battersea Arts Centre, Brighton Festival, Forest Fringe, Bristol Old Vic, Mayfest, Northern Stage, Bios (Athens), LAX Festival (Los Angeles), Fusebox Festival (Austin), ArtPower (San Diego), mala voadora (Porto), and English Theatre Berlin. Commissions and residencies include Orchard Project, MAKE, Vooruit, Contact Flyinng Solo International Commission, Choreodrome by The Place, Dois por Dois Residency by mala voadora, Experimentica, Theatre in the Mill, South Street, Bristol Ferment and Dance and the Homemade by Chisenhale Dance Space. gregwohead.com