BURNING TO COMMUNICATE
Currently, DecadesOut is continuing its work on Burning to Communicate. In the past year we’ve filmed additional interviews with the likes of the great American playwright Edward Albee, the inspirational Lanford Wilson, Scott Stringer (the Manhattan Borough President), and Judith Malina of the legendary Living Theater. Additionally, we had the great pleasure to discuss Off-Off Broadway with Robert Lyons of the Soho Think Tank, who recently opened a new theatre, The Ohio West, after losing the renowned Ohio Theatre (due to the rising cost of rental spaces in NYC). Further interviews were conducted with playwrights Robert Patrick and William Hoffman, Ellie Covan of Dixon Place, actor and director Austin Pendleton, John Clancy of the League of Independent Theatre, Kevin Cunningham of 3LD, and Terry Schreiber of Schreiber Studios (the old stalwart of Off-Off Broadway).
A documentary tracing the development of the revolutionary Off-Off Broadway scene in NYC. This series will explore the creative question through archival footage and firsthand interviews with those there at the beginning and who currently create independent theater.
For over 60 years, Off-Off Broadway has presented work that has impacted society fiercely and reinvented the art form, all while creating a vibrant community of artists. The small theaters of downtown NYC have been the launching pads for many famous actors, writers and directors. Many celebrities, like Al Pacino and Sam Shepard, can trace their first New York theatre production to a black box, cabaret, or cafe venue. In these places, audiences continue to be enlightened by a risky, well-conceived and crafted piece of theatre art. Burning to Communicate will not only present a historical perspective of the origins and development of this theatre movement, but will also ask the question: what drives people in their need to create? The explosion of a dream deferred? Voices with a need to be heard in the wilderness?
The Science Behind It:
Art cannot be isolated from the social forces surrounding its creation. The artist, either willingly or reluctantly, is part of the social construct into which they are born and live. The involvement leads to personal realization that leads to social realization. Thus, the artist can affect social change. The birth of the Off-Off Broadway theater movement did not coincidently occur at the same time as the beat movement in literature, the abstract impressionist movement in painting, and the Avant-garde in music. What forces create a movement? Perhaps forces looking to balance the incongruity of a complacent post-war America existing beneath the annihilative possibility of Atomic War.