Festival explores silos, steamship and more

Aug 15, 2016

The Response Performance Festival covers four days, uses three venues and allows access to an historic steamship. The event, which starts Thursday, is the latest ambitious effort from Torn Space Theater.

"It should be seen really as an exciting event where audiences are able to experience contemporary performance that they otherwise wouldn't have the opportunity to see in Western New York," said Dan Shanahan, Artistic Director for Torn Space.

"We look at the architecture first and we start to think about what are themes that could be intersected with that architecture," said Shanahan in describing Torn Space's process in developing its performances.

"So, this year, again, will be working at Silo City. This is our fifth year in residence at Silo City."

The space of the S.S. Columbia will also be explored during the festival.    

"Audiences will be given access to the boat. We will be designing various installations for the boat."

An excursion steamship built in 1902, the Columbia was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. It now sits docked along the Buffalo River.

Torn Space will also utilize its home base at Adam Mickiewicz Library and Dramatic Circle on Fillmore Avenue to host the New York-based theater company Temporary Distortion and its presentation of  "My Voice Has an Echo in It."

"The performers, there are five of them, are in a soundproof, contained box. Within that box they are manipulating sound, video, light. The audience accesses the piece through headphones."

The audience can view the performers inside the box. The performers, however, can't see the audience throughout the six-hour piece.  

"Ideally, audiences will view 'My Voice Has an Echo In It' for a period of time. Go over to Silo City, which is only ten minutes away,  watch the piece there. And then return to 'My Voice Has an Echo in It'  to see how the piece has progressed and changed."

The festival will also feature a lecture by performance scholar Bonnie Marranca at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center on Saturday, August 20.