Why is Found partnering with Young Playwrights to produce work outside of your normal process?
What has it been like to marry Found's process with a pre-existing text?
Found is perpetually fascinated with finding new ways of working. When PYP reached out to us, we felt the immediacy and relevance of Shannon's script and believed that our approach to generating physical and music-driven work could benefit the surreal style she was interested in exploring. We've partnered with PYP before, and found working with a young student's script to be a refreshing approach to theater. When you're paired with a young writer, there can a newness to art-making. They are literally experiencing the process of putting up their own show for the first time, and that excitement is contagious. Ultimately, this partnership is about telling a powerful allegory Found believes in and using the skills we've picked up as a company to help Shannon further develop her work and discover her unique voice.
-Phoebe Schaub Found Company Member, Producer
Found works from a sort of blank canvas. We use concepts and detailed research to build a story out of performance art. Literary inspiration has always been a key element to our creative process, but we have never had an opportunity quite like this. Working alongside a brilliant young playwright on FIRST THEY CAME FOR has proved to be an incredible experience for us.
From our first rehearsal we were given fully formed characters. We had a narrative structure that blended history with the expressionist and unreal. We were basically given a springboard to propel us into devising our performance pieces. As the play was still being written, characters could jump right off the page and into room. We could improvise, search the depths of the world we were creating with our writer, and then see the script grow alongside our devising work.
It has been a bit like “show and tell” (or maybe “show and write”). As we moved through the rehearsal process we really found a great back and forth- Shannon would share new writing and we would show some art pieces inspired by that. By the next day would end up with another scene incorporating both: writing inspiring performance art inspiring. It definitely helps that Shannon DiStefano is a young playwright who isn’t afraid to take risks. Found is mostly about taking risks (failing, going beyond the bounds) and hopefully returning with something both wild and true.