Zoomtopia by Interact Theater
Author: Interact Center for the Visual and Performing Arts | Contact: interactcenter.com
Peer-Reviewed Publication: N/A
Additional References: Films, Radio and TV Publications
Synopsis: An Interact original production presents Zoomtopia in the comfort of your favorite Virtual Space. Zoomtopia’s alternate universe hurls us past the storms of isolation, uncertainty, and technical aggravation, and into a world of miracles and wonders. Life as we know it has been kicked to the curb, COVID has us locked down, and Virtual Reality is our new neighborhood. But heck, when has Interact ever let a bad situation go to waste?
Interact original production presents Zoomtopia in the comfort of your favorite Virtual Space.
It's the year 2020 - life as we know it has been kicked to the curb, COVID has us locked down, and Virtual Reality is our new neighborhood. But heck, when has Interact ever let a bad situation go to waste?
Plucked straight from the imagination of Interact artist Michael Engebretson and over sixty-five visual and performing artists, Zoomtopia's alternate universe hurls us past the storms of isolation, uncertainty, and technical aggravation, and into a world of miracles and wonders.
Action begins with Kevin Kling, whose one-man Greek Chorus keeps the narrative moving forward throughout.
Happy virtual images of Interactors show what things were like in the before-times, while their anthem, "Sweet Are the Uses of Adversity," foretells how creativity will help them cope with what is yet to come.
The ensemble appears to be standing six feet apart even while in their own separate spaces, courtesy of the zoom-time wizardry of UpTop Films. Actors Jule and Sam, sweethearts before the isolation, mourn their separation as they sing, "My Heart Goes Boom." Everyone wants to escape, and Engebretson's vision gives them the way to go. The crew boards a spaceship bound for Zoomtopia, eager to embrace ideals of diversity among alien cultures, to do battle with planetary warming, or to become distant stars with constellations named after them.
All the planets are art forms - spectacular colors on the Rainbow Planet, lyrical wisdom on the Poetry Planet, and chanteuse Josette Antomarchi's musical Love Planet filled with flowers and songs sung in French ending with the planet of Hope. A harrowing trip through a wormhole attack by masks - a musical reminder that "Sweet Are the Uses of Adversity" - and the crew returns home, eager to share stories of this mind-altering journey as Earth begins its recovery. The New Orleans jazz trio of Zena Moses, Jeremy Phipps, and Eugene Harding - collaborators in our 2018 Guthrie Theater production, Hot Jazz at the Funky Butt - completes the show with an original uplifting song.
Even in the time of COVID, Interact can't resist the chance to work our quirk - and here is something to think about: at 20% of the U.S. population, people with disabilities are rarely believed to have the capacity to make their own choices about where and how to live, and that lack of choice heightens the sense of isolation and loneliness that is prevalent during COVID. Add that to the fact that they are rarely recognized for their talent as innovative creators and professional artists. Interact's vision blows those misperceptions out of the water with work like Zoomtopia - not only a high quality work of art and social commentary, but also a testament to how this dedicated company of artists with disabilities has turned to creativity as a place of healing, solace and a way to stay connected in community.
- Virtual Production: Uptop Films
- Original Music: Composer Ryan Bynum
- Guest Actor: Kevin Kling
- Guest Musicians: Gene's Music Machine; Eugene Harding, Zena Moses, Jeremy Phipps, Jake Gold, and Kyle Chevarnic
- Director: Jeanne Calvit
- Where: Virtual performance runs from June 10 - July 11
- Purchase Tickets: www.interactcenter.org/zoomtopia
Interact Center for the Visual and Performing Arts
Founded by Artistic/Executive Director Jeanne Calvit in 1996, Interact Center for the Visual and Performing Arts has transformed lives through our mission to create art that challenges perceptions of disability. In all of our work, Interact:
- Creates art in a spirit of radical inclusion.
- Inspires artists and audiences to explore the full spectrum of human potential.
- Transforms lives by expanding ideas of what is possible.
A professional theater and studio for artists with disabilities, our overriding vision is to lift voices not typically heard in the mainstream - through original devised theater, original visual artwork in outsider/visionary traditions, and through stories that flourish when artists with disabilities connect with their peers in a wide diversity of communities and situations.
Interact's vision of radical inclusion blurs ideas of who "can" and who "cannot," engaging artists with and without disabilities, and artists from mainstream and marginalized communities.
Our 40+ theater artists and 75+ visual artists come from African-, Asian-, Native-, Pacific Islander-, and Euro-heritage backgrounds, with an intergenerational mix of ages 18 to 75. We have toured to England, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Australia. And we have helped develop Interact-Model theaters in Thailand, Australia, and New Orleans.
Interact Theater has won two Ivey Awards, multiple National Endowment for the Arts awards, and has been presented by the Guthrie Dowling Studio, as well as mounting performances at The Lab, Pantages and Southern Theaters, Theater Latte Da, The Cowles Center and other venues. Interact Visual Arts Studio exhibits Visionary and Outsider Arts traditions in a density rarely seen outside of large east and west coast cultural centers. We show in venues throughout the area, including Soo Vac Gallery, the Rochester Museum of Contemporary Art, NE Minneapolis' Art-A-Whirl, Jackson Flats, and our own Interact Gallery.
Ms. Calvit has studied and performed throughout Europe and the US, and is notably a graduate of the Jacques LeCoq School for Theater, Mime, and Movement in Paris. She has been recognized with a McKnight Fellowship for Theater Artists, Arc MN's Legacy Award as a change maker in the arts, a Leadership In Neighborhoods Award for pioneering work in arts and diversity, and MPR's Arts Hero award for using her talent to make the world a better place.
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Zoomtopia by Interact Theater | Interact Center for the Visual and Performing Arts (interactcenter.com). Disabled World makes no warranties or representations in connection therewith. Content may have been edited for style, clarity or length.
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