I view the theater as a sublime meeting place where audiences and performers can break with convention and safely transgress, subvert, question and explore our present reality. My goal as a theatre artist is to create an immersive experience from which audiences carry more awareness, spontaneity and inventiveness into their everyday lives, theater that challenges its audiences to remain engaged and vulnerable in trying times.
I believe passionately that part of my role as an artist is to reinvent what theater’s role is today and how it reaches people from a variety of social backgrounds. Developing work in communities, non-traditional spaces and mixing mediums allows me to create work of substance while finding multiple entry points for my audiences.
I am a detail-oriented creator. Every aspect of the performance, beginning from the moment the audience enters, is meticulously designed. To construct my performances, I juxtapose source material in a collage style to create an uncanny world of the references we are all familiar with but do not necessarily experience as parts of a whole reality. I use popular culture references, academic discourse, verbatim text from interviews, found sound bytes, and original sound design. The material is developed through movement, improvisation, gesture the architecture of the performers' bodies and the topography of the theatrical space.
I use physical comedy and satire, as a model to find humor in the tragic complexities and absurdities of our lives. Using the essential language, archetypal characters and ritual behaviors of everyday existence, I playfully transpose them in a brutal, honest, grotesque form. The grotesque is a kind of mask that permits the actors and audience to engage playfully. We suspend judgment and revel in our truth.
The NY Neo-Futurists create a weekly show that performs 30 short plays in 1 hour. We race a timer as the audience choses the order of the plays we perform, all written by the cast. Neo-Futurism is a non-illusory theatrical aesthetic that embodies chance, change and chaos with 4 rules: 1. We are who we are. 2. We are where we are. 3. We are doing what we are doing. 4. The time is now. The company has produced over 5,000 new short experimental plays over a 16-year run in NYC.
The Solution to the Middle East Conflict in a Nutshell.
© Nessa Norich 2015
All Neos gather around the table center stage. God/Spot light on them.
Nessa: Somewhere in this theater… are two pistachio nuts.
And we need to find them.
Mirsky: We’re not just going to go finding nuts just because.
Nessa: Well, what if I told you the answer to peace in the middle east could be found in one of the nuts.
Rob: No way.
Connor: Peace in the middle east?
Cara: You’re telling us finding your nuts could create a two-state solution, disarm Iran’s nuclear facilities, convince religious settlers that the West Bank isn’t their god-given right, give reparations to Palestinian families for their loss of land and instigate non-violent Israeli government-funded reconciliation and educational programs between young israelis and palestinians.
Nessa: Just saying what if…
Mirsky: We’d have to stop the show.
Cara: And displace the audience.
Rob: Which would make people paying good money very unhappy.
Connor: Well, it might be worth it…
Think about the possibility…look at each other…
All: Naaaaaaaaaah. Impossible. Yeah right. etc….
Cara: Finding our nuts would be way too difficult in the first place, and the probability of those nuts actually giving us the answer to one of the greatest modern global conflicts is so tiny, it just isn’t worth turning this whole theater upside down.
Rob: Motion to leave nuts for someone else to find some other time in order to not disrupt business as usual and potentially piss ticket-payers off. All in favor?
All Neos but 1 raise their hands.
Nature Channel Mind Travel
©2017 Nessa Norich
Neos are spread throughout the audience.
Lights are dim.
Nessa: Let’s close our eyes and begin with breathing. Feel the space between your abdomen and mouth as one open tube, that air enters unobstructed. Breath in. And out.
With each deep breath, let the image of a natural space become clearer. A space of bliss. A place of harmonious wild life. You are there.
A warm beam of sunshine enters your body from the crown of your head, flooding through your neck and heart, down your spine. From your depths, a tingly coolness spirals up like a wave.
The wave kisses the sun’s heat, like sunshine on the sea, every pore opens and you feel that everything around you also radiates with a fuzziness. And the great cool breeze blows through you, reminding you that the clouds are here too.
In this space, you notice a fallen log laying on the earth. You notice little creatures inching along the trees bark. They are smiling lips, of all shades of reds and purple and pinks, they crawl along the tree with long fuzzy catterpiller legs dancing to their song.
NEOS sing: Just Listen.
VOICE OVER: The smiling singing lips dance up your arm, as they touch your skin they become invisible and warm. This warmth is absorbed into your arms. And when it reaches your heart, a burst of warmth overwhelmes your chest and radiates out. And a voice is heard.
NEOS in unison:
Hi there, perfect.
Are you listening?
I am more than the colors you reflect.
I am always. You will pass.
I encompass all mystery: above, below and beyond.
I remind you of perfection: a flower. A bee. A breeze. The rain.
What you are
From time to time, to still feel all of that.
I am yours for nothing.
So let’s spend some time together.
[All take a deep audible breath]
A breeze carries away the song.
NEOS sung: When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn? zzzzzz
VOICE OVER: And with that, the colors that reflect the world around you begin to shift, the green of the grass flows into the bark of the trees, the blue of the sky, turns the leaves purple, the grey earth combines with the hue of your skin. And nature’s rainbow continues to flow and transmute. And the cold breeze returns to your belly, bringing about deep filling breaths, envigorating our bodies, bringing energy to our throats, and warmth to our guts and cheeks, excitement to our limbs. Our bodies want to move… to sing back to her.
Water and Earth Signs
©2017 Nessa Norich
Nessa and Aya tie flat surfaces to the top of their heads. On the surface, they each balance a full cup of water in a clear cup.
They glide from Upstage right toward downstage left. They take turns revolving around one another.
If a cup drops, they pause until a female identifying intern replaces the cup with another full cup.
The ladies wear eclipse sunglasses if we can source them - otherwise pink lens-ed glasses.
Sound: LOCAL HERO by Mark Knopfler on repeat.
Pink and purple lights.
Nessa: I watched the eclipse laying on a pink flamingo that was floating in a salt water pool. I stared directly at it through a tiny hole in my hands like this. It looked like a neon pink crescent moon.
Aya: They say the eclipse brought about a shift of techtonic proportion.
Nessa: A metaphorical pulling of the rug from out from under us.
Together: Are you feelin it?
Aya: I've gotten closer to my cats and I bought furniture from ikea with money I don't have - also my Scorpio boyfriend flipped my entire room around on me.
Nessa: I took ayauasca 2 weeks ago and that’s been most recently fucking with my shit. I also opened up my 3 year relationship and started my first a love affair with a woman. And other stuff I don’t want to share.
Nessa: How you feelin it?
Aya: Feeling like a waterwheel. Everything that goes up immediately goes down but eventually goes up again because time is cyclical. Are you feeling it?
Nessa: I’m feeling like a well inside me is deepening. Like I’m trying to steer a sailboat in the middle of a hurricane.
All: wind sound exhale.
Nessa: Do you believe in astrology?
Aya: I'm too overwhelmed to independently go looking for the patterns in what's overwhelming me. Do you Nessa?
Nessa: I’m a Pisces - a dreamer fish who swims towards fresh waters, new bowls. There is something about attaching my being to a cosmic design that makes being make sense - not because I am significant, but rather that I am not in control - and knowing it, allows me to work within the natural flow of my horoscopes prescription.
Aya: I spent the eclipse with my therapist. A choice so embarrassing that I dropped therapy. I could have been on a magical mushroom journey in nature, laughing among the dear with basket of bright red apples. I've never tried mushrooms and I don't usually like apples, but I'm sure I could have immensely enjoyed them under the sun, had I been a little less sad about nothing.
Aya pours her cup over her head, Nessa spits past Aya onto the stage.
c. Nessa Norich 2018
Hilary, Kyra and Nessa walk over chairs from arm to arm. They play with testing their balance or move through the house.
Kyra: How many times have you heard the expression, “life isn’t fair”?
Nessa: Who originated that expression?
Hilary: Does every culture function on this core belief? That life isn’t fair?
Kyra, shouting to the heavens: Life isn’t fair!
All, shouting to the heavens: And so??
Hilary, shouting to the heavens: Are we supposed to just swallow all the jagged little pills?
Nessa: As a child, I was taught to revere a God that dealt horrible punishments, deserved by an a people whenever their faith waivered.
Hilary: “In fairness”, God favored his chosen people and so they owed him unfaltering loyalty.
Nessa: That was justice.
Kyra: Justice and fairness are/ (Nessa: are not / Hilary: should be) – synonymns.
Nessa: Fair unfairness. Unfair Justice. It’s like saying “since life isn’t fair as a rule, whatever happens is kind of fair even when it’s not.”
Nessa: Like Fucking taxes
All: Un-fucking fair.
Nessa: I’m out here spending 20+ hours a week creating art and experiences that melt people’s minds and last week my bank went into the negatives because I had to pay THOUSANDS to a government run by a president that has never paid fucking taxes.
All: Un-fucking fair.
Hilary: I spent time, energy, money going to multiple events, buying gifts for the marriage of two close friends. When I tried to make plans with them for my birthday they said, “Let’s watch TV when you’re no longer in the show.”
Kyra: The 2 men arrested at Starbucks.
All: Un-fucking fair.
Kyra: Why the fuck did they still have to spend a night in jail despite their cooperation in their ARREST??
Hilary: Unfucking fair all of it!
Nessa: But when I zoom in–
Kyra: Boil it all down–
Nessa: – when it comes down to it, all this unfucking fair fairness doesn’t appear to be some cosmic perpetual tilt…
Hilary: that forces us to stand crooked and call it straight
Kyra: The totality of all the unfucking fair fairness is made up of infinite choices made by you!
Nessa: By us! Humans!! Crooked humans!
Hilary: Crooked humans who are pushing down on the scale!
Kyra: Crooked humans who are not held accountable and have way too much fucking power!
All: LIFE IS A BITCH
Nessa: When powerful people are bitches.
Hilary: Life is fair BECAUSE you die.
Kyra: Scarcity was fabricated by the same gods who called life unfair.
Nessa: Life is full of fucking miracles!
Kyra: Nature maintains balance.
Hilary: If we could get out of its way.
Kyra: Maybe we’d all say
Nessa: Life is divine.