Third Rail Projects (Then She Fell, Ghostlight, The Grand Paradise) will present the World Premiere of RETURN THE MOON, conceived and directed by Zach Morris and created by Alberto Denis, Kristin Dwyer, Joshua Gonzales, Sean Hagerty, Justin Lynch, Zach Morris, Marissa Nielsen-Pincus, Tara O’Con, and Edward Rice. Previews begin August 11, live via Zoom. Opening is set for September 8.
RETURN THE MOON is a live performance created specifically for the Zoom platform which invites audience members to collectively construct a shared experience that is one part toast, one part ritual, and one part retelling of a very old story of how the Moon was lost and found again. Matching decidedly analog tools of performance with the unique opportunities that the Zoom platform affords, RETURN THE MOON combines text, movement, cinematic visuals, and music. It also enfolds offerings from audience members to create a rumination on remembrance and recurrence, the interplay of shadow and light, and how a shared experience might linger and reverberate over the passage of time. The work also features an epistolary component; after the performance, every audience member is mailed a package that contains content and interactive artifacts from their shared event.
RETURN THE MOON runs one hour fifteen minutes for 60 audience members per performance. During the show, audience members are invited, but not obligated, to contribute guided input that shapes how the work unfolds. This experience is designed with audience comfort in mind and affords a range of opportunities where guests can choose if and when they wish to contribute.
RETURN THE MOON is performed by Alberto Denis, Joshua Gonzales, Justin Lynch, and Tara O’Con. The production features assistant direction by Marissa Nielsen-Pincus; choreography by Marissa Nielsen-Pincus, Alberto Denis, Joshua Gonzales, Justin Lynch, Zach Morris, and Tara O’Con; sound design and original music by Sean Hagerty; visual design by Zach Morris in collaboration with Alberto Denis, Kristin Dwyer, Joshua Gonzales, Justin Lynch, Marissa Nielsen-Pincus, Tara O’Con, and Edward Rice; stage management by Kristin Dwyer; and production management by Kristin Dwyer, Marissa Nielsen-Pincus and Edward Rice. It is produced by Zach Morris & Edward Rice.
From the onset of this project, director Zach Morris and collaborators were interested in exploring how to center audience experience on a digital platform. Morris reflected on some of the initial points of inquiry that prompted this project, saying “I was curious how we might create a ‘remote’ project that felt inviting and intuitive, communal, and personal. I wondered what inspiration might be found in this now ubiquitous platform that has become kind of an artifact and metaphor for the dissonance of distanced connection. I was interested in what it meant to craft a work specifically for this medium that would acknowledge and engage with its strengths, its all-too-familiar challenges, and also capitalize on the opportunities that it could afford that would be otherwise impossible in a traditional theater setting.”
The creators were also interested in the increased accessibility that a Zoom-based experience might afford both the creative team and audience members. By creating a work that exists in digital space, this project afforded the opportunity for artists who were in geographically disparate locations to work together and to simultaneously reduce the overhead costs associated with mounting an in-person production. Likewise, the digital/epistolary nature of this project allows audience members from around the world to attend the work while allowing the production to offer tickets at a much lower price point than might otherwise be possible.
RETURN THE MOON runs August 11- September 30, performance dates vary. Three ticket tiers are available: General admission at $42, Pay-it-Forward at $67, Subsidized at $15. The Pay-it-Forward tickets support Subsidized tickets. Preview tickets go on sale July 15, 2021 and the full run goes on sale August 6, 2021. For tickets and info visit, www.thirdrailprojects.com/return-the-moon.
About Third Rail Projects: Third Rail Projects has been hailed as one of the foremost groups creating site-specific, immersive, and experiential performance. The partnership is dedicated to the work of Zach Morris, Tom Pearson, and Jennine Willett and their projects that re-envision the ways in which audiences engage with contemporary performance. They have made work in New York, nationally, and abroad since 2000. Their long-running, award-winning immersive hitThen She Fell, was named as one of the “Top Ten Shows of 2012” by Ben Brantley of The New York Times and acclaimed as one of the best theater experiences of 2013 by Vogue.
Fundamental to the director’s work is the notion of re-imagining contexts for presenting contemporary performance, as exemplified by a history of creating projects sought after by avid theater goers as well as those seeking unique experiences. Collaboration is integral to the work, in the creative process as well as in partnerships with each new site, community, and cultural landscape. This manifests in numerous points of inquiry and programmatic objectives that foster artistic exchange and shared practice across unique communities.
In recent years, Third Rail has launched several major works, all of which were met with massive critical and audience recognition: As Time Goes By in St. Petersburg, Russia; Sweet & Lucky with the Denver Center for the Performing Arts;Learning Curve with Albany Park Theater Project in Chicago; Ghost Light with Lincoln Center Theater’s LTC3 at the Clare Tow Theater; Behind The City with The Macallan; and The Grand Paradise, which ran for 11 months and garnered rave reviews and Critic’s Picks from The New York Times and Time Out New York, among others.
The directors and their collaborators work nationally on new immersive and site-specific projects, and internationally through the Global Performance Studio (GPS), which combines the Third Rail’s creative and educational offerings through a program of cultural listening and exchange. The directors have been the recipients of several prestigious awards, including: two New York Dance and Performance (Bessie) Awards; a Chita Rivera Award for Choreography; a Drama Desk Awards Nomination for Unique Theatrical Experience; several fellowship awards including two CEC Artslink Back Apartment Residencies (Russia); a Theater Fellowship from the Bogliasco Foundation (Italy); an IllumiNation Award from the Ford Foundation and National Museum of the American Indian; and more. Third Rail Projects has also been recognized as part of the creative team of the Emmy Award-winning virtual reality adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Wolves in the Walls. In 2016, Zach, Tom, and Jennine were named among the 100 most influential people in Brooklyn Culture by Brooklyn Magazine..