Silo City set to host Response Performance Festival

Aug 16, 2017

By using multiple venues on multiple weekends, the Response Performance Festival stands out among the region's busy summer festival season. Torn Space Theater, which produces the event, begins the festival this weekend with "The Gathering" at Silo City.

Its multi-media productions using Silo City's gritty, industrial backdrop have brought widespread recognition to Torn Space Theater.
Credit Michael W. Thomas

According to Torn Space Artistic Director Dan Shanahan, this is the fifth multi-media performance the company has produced at Silo City.

"The layers of history that exist within this space, and how, if you can re-contextualize certain buildings they can embody different themes," Shanahan related as he looked out over the massive, empty structures that form Silo City.

"Really every time we look at a building it has so many different clues as to how to construct a different piece."

Construction companies have partnered with Torn Space to provide construction equipment for "The Gathering." The Lancaster High School marching band and color guard will appear while Canisius College is allowing use of its drone technology for the production.

"Just the sound of drones is very unsettling," said Shanahan. 

"Video designer Brian Millibrand is hooking up to the drones live feed video. And so the drones will be filming certain aspects of the production and then projecting those images onto a larger scale."

The festival also includes performances from outside groups at Torn Space's home at the the Adam Miscievicz Dramatic Circle. The dance company Palissimo will be there on August 19 and 20. On September 15 and 16, the festival concludes with 600 Highwaymen's presentation of "The Fever."

"The way in which you have an audience full of strangers particpating in the creation of a work is done with a real elegance," said Shanahan of 600 Highwaymen.

"I have to say, they do it in such a intelligent and controlled way. It was, really, like nothing I've ever experienced. "