• 501 (see three) ARTS and 24th STreet Theatre Present
    Dan Froot and Company’s
    An Evening of Three Live Radio Plays 
    About Families Hungering for Change
    24th STreet Theater in Los Angeles
    Saturday, December 2 and Sunday, December 3, 2017
    LOS ANGELES, CA – September 26, 2017 – 501 (see three) ARTS and 24th STreet Theatre are thrilled to present the West Coast premiere of Pang! on Saturday, December 2 at 8:00pm and Sunday, December 3, 2017 at 3:00pm. Pang! – by Dan Froot and Company – is a triptych of adventurous live radio plays based on the oral histories of three American families hungering for change. The 90-minute production is being performed for theatre audiences in the three cities where the actual families live: Cedar Rapids, Iowa (10/20 & 10/21), Los Angeles, California at 24th STreet Theatre (12/2 & 12/3), and Miami, Florida (1/26 & 1/27/18). Pang! aims to raise awareness, decrease stigma, and promote cross-class dialogue around circumstances faced by families living below the poverty line. For more information on Pang!, please visit Tinyurl.com/pang-info.
    Pang! Synopsis –
    Pang! is an evening of three highly original theatre pieces about real American families facing poverty’s innumerable challenges – from hunger to gun violence to foreclosure to immigrant life – with love, humor and resilience. Staged as if recording a live radio broadcast or podcast, three actors at microphones voice dozens of characters, from 18-months to 77-years old, from a Burundian refugee speaking in his home language, to a 7-year-old Miami boy whose dialogue is spoken in unison by the entire ensemble. Pang! is a symphony of animated dialogue, musical accompaniment and live Foley sound effects, including doors slamming, dishes scraping, doorbells ringing, shovels digging, and rivers raging.
    The plays are produced, written and directed by Dan Froot, in collaboration with the ensemble, with music by Robert Een, sound design by Cricket Myers, lighting design by Christopher Kuhl and are performed by actors Natalie CamunasDonna Simone JohnsonChristopher Rivas, and Froot and Een. Pang!’s lighting director/production manager is Katelan Braymer, the sound engineer is Gary Markowitz, and the dramaturge is Bobby Gordon.
    Los Angeles Tickets – 
    There will be two Pang! performances in Los Angeles at 24th STreet Theatre (1117 West 24th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007): opening night is on Saturday, December 2 at 8:00pm and a matinee on Sunday, December 3, 2017 at 3:00pm follows. Ticket are $24 for adults; $15 for students, seniors and teachers; $10 for teens under 18; and $2.40 for University Park residents (with ID). For tickets, please visit http://bit.ly/PangTickets or call 213-745-6516. 
    24th STreet Theatre’s Executive Director Jay McAdams and Artistic Director Debbie Devine have previously presented Dan Froot’s solo work in their Los Angeles venue. 24th STreet Theatre has been a community partner for the Pang! project over a span of four years, providing liaison for the Company to social service agencies and providing space for in-progress readings.

    Donna Simone Johnson performing in Pang!. Photo credit: Will O’Loughlen.
    [more photos found here]

    A Glimpse Behind the Scenes of Pang! –
    Pang! is a response to our increasing socioeconomic disparity. Over the course of eight months in 2015-2016, Dan Froot and Company created six book-length oral histories of families living with food insecurity in Cedar Rapids, Los Angeles and Miami. They then collaborated with one of the families from each city to devise each of the 30-minute stories that comprise Pang!. The families consult with the Company continuously throughout the adaptation, rehearsal and performance processes. The families include:
    From Cedar Rapids:
    A family who makes a harrowing escape from war-torn Burundi and resettles as refugees in Eastern Iowa. The play is a fictionalized account of the making of a documentary podcast about the family’s story by a do-gooder producer. As he tries to bend the family’s narrative to serve his mission, cultural misunderstandings ensue. The family is, in the end, able to communicate a more nuanced understanding of immigrant life than the producer has ever imagined.
    From Los Angeles:
    We are introduced to Beatrice, her nine spirited children and her cantankerous elderly uncle, Gregorio, as she takes us on a tour of the beautiful two-story house her grandmother purchased 65 years prior. We witness heartwarming vignettes from the family’s history: uproarious backyard barbecues, chaotic school mornings, teenage sisters fighting over the house’s only phone. We learn that the uncle has been trying desperately to modify the home’s second mortgage. Enter Rex Salonga, a convivial mortgage adjuster. Through a tragicomic kaleidoscope of phone messages and home visits, Rex befriends Gregorio and convinces him to allow Rex to “help” him modify his loan. Spoiler alert: the foreclosure crisis is not over.
    From Miami:

    A seven-year-old boy sews seeds of hope by fantasizing his family’s way out of a Miami neighborhood besieged by violence and beset by racism. The play is written from the child’s point of view, as audiences are taken on a wild ride that merges super-hero fantasies with car crashes, the tooth fairy, and the loss of a dear family friend.

    Even though the plays deal with sobering realities, they are rich with the humor, warmth and resilience of the families themselves.
    Pang!’s Process in Los Angeles –
    Pang!’s participant families were initially identified through a screening and consent process carried out by Pang!’s community partners in the social services sector, including, in Los Angeles: LIFT Communities Los Angeles and Hunger Action Los Angeles. Froot and local oral historian/performance and visual artist Luis Tentindo conducted twelve one-hour interviews in 2015 with each Los Angeles family. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and lightly edited into book-length oral histories, which are to be presented to their respective families. The Los Angeles family who then went on to consult with Dan Froot and Company on the adaptation of their story into theatrical form are Beatrice, her elderly uncle Gregorio, and her nine children ranging in age from 18 months to 22 years. Fiercely independent and self-reliant, Beatrice overcame the adversity of growing up poor in an underserved neighborhood by working as an auto mechanic and eldercare specialist.
    Why Radio Plays? – 
    Dan Froot and Company’s exploration of the radio play format is inspired by audio storytelling, from the classic 1938 radio drama War of the Worlds to the current zeitgeist of nonfiction public radio podcasts such as The Moth and Snap Judgment. Amidst a forest of microphones and musical instruments, and tables overflowing with odd assortments of objects, Dan Froot and Company voice dozens of characters, manipulate sound effects props, and play musical accompaniment. Froot writes that he wants audience members to feel as if they are “between the ears” of each family, hearing what they hear, feeling what they feel. “Empathy,” writes Froot, “can lead to the de-stigmatization of those living with hunger and poverty, which can lead to inter-class dialogue, which can lead to the political will to address income disparity in America.”
    Robert Een’s eclectic score features Een on cello, piano, and baritone ukulele; and Froot on flute and alto and soprano saxophones. Froot occupies the “Foley pit,” where he creates larger sound effects such as footsteps and door slams, and acts as the evening’s affable host.
    Hunger & Other Issues – 
    The original focus of the project was to destigmatize local hunger. All participating families qualify as being food-insecure, i.e., unable to afford enough healthy food for a period of time. As the project progressed, it became clear to Froot and his collaborators that while food insecurity was indeed problematic for all participating families, other issues presented more immediate threats: barriers faced by immigrants, foreclosures on family homes, and gun violence toward children. While food insecurity remains one of Pang!’s core concerns, the creators recognize ways in which it is woven inextricably into a fabric of circumstances for each family. Indeed, food insecurity operates metaphorically in the work, as participating families hunger for safety, security, stability, and a sense of home.
    Cross-Class Dialogue –
    An integral feature of each performance of Pang! is a discussion with economically diverse audience members, social justice activists, scholars, the artists, and participating family members. Pang! features an onstage “kitchen table” that is occupied by a shifting group of audience members before, during and after the performance. It provides a place to socialize, eat, and dialogue across socio-economic lines.
    Bios – 

    Dan Froot by Joanna Eldredge Morrissey

    Dan Froot, Producer/Lead Writer/Director

    Dan Froot’s work has toured internationally since 1983. Awards include a Bessie (New York Dance & Performance Award), a City of Los Angeles Artist Fellowship, and a Foundation for Jewish Culture Playwriting Fellowship. He has worked with Dan Hurlin, Yoshiko Chuma, Ping Chong, David Dorfman, Mabou Mines, Ralph Lemon, and Victoria Marks, among others. He is professor of choreography, creative process, and business of the arts at UCLA’s Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance – http://danfroot.com.
    Robert Een – Composer:
    Robert Een is a composer, singer, cellist, and performing artist known for his unique orchestrations and use of extended techniques for voice and cello. His work has been presented worldwide and has received an Obie Award for music composition, as well as two New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Awards for music composition and sustained achievement. Een has recorded sixteen albums of genre-defying original music. He is an adjunct professor of composition and collaboration at UCLA’s Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance, and composes for film, theatre, dance and the concert stage – www.roberteen.com.
    Cricket Myers – Sound Design:  
    On Broadway, Cricket Myers earned a Tony Nomination and a Drama Desk Award for her design of Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo. Regional designs include La Jolla Playhouse, Ahmanson Theatre, The Mark Taper Forum, South Coast Rep, The Kirk Douglas Theater, Pasadena Playhouse, The Montalban, and the Geffen Theater. She has earned 20 Ovation Nominations in Los Angeles – www.cricketsmyers.com.

    Christopher Kuhl – Lighting Design
    Christopher Kuhl is a lighting, scenic, and installation designer for new performance, theatre, dance and opera. Recent work includes: Stardust with David Roussève (REDCAT), The Object Lesson (BAM, Edinburgh Festival, Sydney Festival); Early Morning Opera’s The Institute of Memory (The Public Theater, TBA Festival); Straight White Men (Young Jean Lee’s Theater Company, Kirk Douglas Theatre, The Public Theater, Kaai Theater, Centre Pompidou). He is originally from New Mexico and a graduate of the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts).

    Natalie Camunas – Actor
    Natalie Camunas is a Los Angeles native, USC graduate, and queer identified artist. As a writer, Camunas’s plays have been produced in Los Angeles, NYC, and Ireland. Her TV credits include Speechless (ABC), Major Crimes (TNT), Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn (Nickelodeon) and her feature film credits include Hara-Kiri (Henry Alberto), Bruising for Besos (Adelina Anthony) and David Ayer’s upcoming film Bright, with Will Smith, Noomi Rapace and Joel Edgerton. Camunas writes and performs to empower and celebrate her communities. She is endlessly grateful to share her voice and use stories as tools to heal – www.nataliecamunas.com.

    Donna Simone Johnson – Actor
    Donna Simone Johnson is a Los Angeles-based actress and choreographer. Most recently, she can be seen in a national Nike campaign with NFL player Dayvon Ross as well as a recurring guest star on Bounce TV’s THE BRKDWN and FOX’s Shots Fired. Previous theatre credits include a host of regional theatre roles, including the national tours of High School Musical and The Lion King at the Pantages. Johnson holds an MA in Dance Education from NYU and an MFA in Acting from CalArts – www.donnasimonejohnson.com.

    Christopher Rivas – Actor
    Christopher Rivas is an award-winning international storyteller, passionate artivist, published writer, film/television (Grey’s AnatomyShamelessRizzoli & Isles2 Broke GirlsRosewood) and theatre actor. His artistic mission is to create and share stories that move us forward, blend boundaries, and encourage dialogue. He is the proud founder of Lifestyledezine, a community dedicated to exploring and realizing the power of compassionate storytelling.
    Bobby Gordon – Dramaturge:
    Bobby Gordon is a poet, performance maker, and Theatre of the Oppressed practitioner with an M.A. in Applied Theatre Arts from the University of Southern California (USC). He is a co-founder of the Melrose Poetry Bureau, teaches at UCLA in the Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance, is the Assistant Director of UCLA’s Art and Global Health Center, and has created work with ensembles across the Americas and in South Africa.

    24th STreet Theatre – Presenter
    24th STreet Theatre is a unique organization blending professional productions and world-class artists with quality arts education since 1997. Its mission is to engage, educate, and provoke our diverse community with excellent theatre and arts education. 24th STreet Theatre is one of the only professional Los Angeles theaters offering after school programming for elementary school children and one of the very few organizations approved by both the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and the Los Angeles County Arts Commission as arts education providers. 24th STreet Theatre is truly a model 21st Century arts organization that is using first-class art to make a difference in our own neighborhood, in our city, and around the world.

    501 (see three) ARTS – Producing Organization
    Pang! is a project of 501 (see three) ARTS, a Los Angeles-based independent artist-run non-profit corporation supporting the creation and production of original dance, music, theatre and interdisciplinary performance works by its members. The company is dedicated to redefining the role of the performing arts, artists and audiences in a globalized world through innovative approaches to artistic production.
    Supporters –
    Pang! is a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation Fund Project co-commissioned by Legion Arts in partnership with Miami Light Project and NPN. The Creation Fund is supported by the Doris Duke Charitable FoundationFord Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts (a federal agency). Dan Froot and Company’s residencies are supported by NPN’s Performance Residency FundCommunity Fund, and Forth Fund. For more information on NPN please visit www.npnweb.orgPang! is made possible in part by UCLA’s Council on Research Faculty Research Grant program; City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural AffairsNetwork of Ensemble Theaters’ Travel & Exchange Network (NET/TEN), supported by lead funding from The Andrew W. Mellon FoundationPuffin Foundation WestLos Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission; and by an Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit www.arts.govPang! was also made possible in part through residencies at MacDowell ColonyAutomata Art SpaceUCLA Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance, and Knight Foundation; by 24th STreet Theatre and by 117 individual donors who contributed through Hatchfund.org.
    “These are not stories about hunger per se. They are stories about families, who happen to be hungry from time to time. These families teach us that hunger and food insecurity are so deeply woven into the fabric of low-income families’ lives that they’re inseparable from other pressing issues that they may face on a daily basis: foreclosure, cultural and language barriers, racism and gun violence, to name just a few,” shares Froot. “Each family has impressed upon us their own reasons for sharing their stories through theatre. We are honored to bring these stories to life, and to engage diverse audiences in each city where we perform.”
    Dan Froot and Company gratefully acknowledge additional creative contributions from Sheetal GandhiShoji KamedaJudith ScottJulanne Chidi Hill and Paul Outlaw.
    Links –
    • Pang! – Tinyurl.com/pang-info
    • Pang! Los Angeles Tickets – http://bit.ly/PangTickets
    • Pang! Los Angeles FB Page – https://www.facebook.com/events/866553700169504
    • 24th STreet Theatre – https://www.24thstreet.org
    • Dan Froot press kit – http://tinyurl.com/danfroot
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    For more information, images, to request an interview or press passes, please contact Green Galactic’s Lynn Tejada at 213-840-1201 or lynn@greengalactic.com.

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    “I cannot imagine that one person left this remarkable show (Pang!) unaffected.”
    – Laura JohnsonLittle Village
    “Froot is an evocative storyteller with a crazy, irrepressible imagination and the simplest and most unassuming of performance styles. As a result, his subtle and unexpected shifts between comedy and tragedy can be harrowing. Without sentimentality, Froot manages to suggest the naivete of the hip, the pain of long repression and the terror of feeling alone. Full-throttle laughter turns to dazed silence as Froot spins his audience with him into a dark vacuum. It is quite an achievement.”
    – Jennifer DunningThe New York Times
    “I realize there’s so many out there that are hungry and on the streets and if they get that person like Dan who just reaches out to say, “Who are you, where have you been? What are you going through? Tell me your story.” He gave me the opportunity to see my life out in front of me from a whole different perspective and I was able to pick up a few of those pieces and start putting it all back together.”
    – Angel Victoria Spinola, whose oral history was adapted in Dan Froot & Dan Hurlin’s
    Who’s Hungry – Santa Monica (2008)
    “Impish, erudite, sensitive, and sidesplittingly funny, Dan Froot is much more than just a dancer-choreographer. He began as a jazz saxophonist-composer and has created award-winning experimental theatre works that combine music, movement, and text into brainy, laugh-a-minute explorations of profound personal issues.”
    Lisa Jo SagollaBackstage
    Posted on April 6th, 2018 lynn-hasty No comments

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