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Action at a Distance

  • Santa Fe Playhouse 142 East De Vargas Street Santa Fe, NM, 87501 United States (map)
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Action at a Distance: A New Theatrical Creation

Six Plays All to Collide All At Once

Santa Fe physical theater ensemble Theater Grottesco presents “Action at a Distance (Working Title),” a new work composed by the movement-based theatre ensemble Lisa Fay and Jeff Glassman Duo of Champaign-Urbana. The two companies received a grant from the Network of Ensemble Theaters for three weeks of outlandish theatrical research and development taking place in the most unassuming storefront in town. The play will be shared with audiences as it develops in Albuquerque at q-Staff Theatre for three open rehearsals, before coming to the Santa Fe Playhouse for six mid-process performances.

Action at a Distance bends the rules of human behavior on stage with curious audiences in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Theater boundaries of time and place are transcended by an unconventional theatrical form the Fay Glassman Duo (FGD) has developed called “Counter-natural Behavior.” The form draws attention to the tiny moments that occur throughout our day which, if repeated and . The techniques within this form are called “Pivot Montage,” “Manifesting Absence,” “Uncanny Coordination,” and “Imported Dialogue.”

These techniques enable actors to provide verbal, sonic, and physical material to multiple scenes simultaneously. FGD’s movement lexicon consists of solutions that re-frame the time and space of a theatrical performance. Characters can interact across different scenes, actors can transform into multiple characters and play physically in one scene, while providing a bodiless voice in another. Gestural choreography is used to jump from one time and place to another. These techniques take on naturalistic theatrical scenes and reorganize them in a way that immerses us within the story. Six plays happen simultaneously.

For three weeks Glassman and Grottesco Ensemble Members will put these techniques into practice and bring to life the first four-person application of the form. Glassman will also be offering four additional workshops: two for students of the New Mexico School for the Arts, and two public workshops in Santa Fe and Albuquerque to expand exposure to these techniques. The artists will share their discoveries and techniques through nine laboratory performances for public audiences in Santa Fe and Albuquerque.

About the Lisa Fay and Jeff Glassman Duo: Fay and Glassman are known for creating theater that ranges from humorous and disarming to mesmerizing and disorienting. Their work applies composed structures to ordinary human behavior, just as electronic music applies composed structures to ordinary sounds. The techniques they have developed over forty years are far outside what audiences are used to seeing at the theater and are designed to show us new ways of seeing ourselves and each other. The reflections can be cathartic and awakening, opening windows on new ways of seeing humanity. Find more information about The Lisa Fay and Jeff Glassman Duo at

About Theater Grottesco: Founded in Paris in 1983, Theater Grottesco is known internationally for visual and explosive original theater productions. The Grottesco Ensemble engages in daring, poetic research of culture and imagination, giving voice to the marginal elements of our contemporary society and taking audiences to the brink of emotional wonder and soulful reflection. Theater Grottesco is celebrating its 35th year and its 22nd year in Santa Fe. Find more information about Grottesco at

Performance Schedule:

q-Staff Theatre • Downtown Albuquerque
400 Broadway Blvd SE, Albuquerque, NM 8710
Monday • September 24 • 7 p.m.
Tuesday • September 25 • 7 p.m.
Wednesday • September 26 • 7 p.m.

Santa Fe Playhouse • Downtown Santa Fe
Monday • October 1 • 7 p.m.
Tuesday • October 2 • 7 p.m.
Wednesday • October 3 • 7 p.m.
Monday • October 8 • 7 p.m.
Tuesday • October 9 • 7 p.m.
Wednesday • October 10 • 7 p.m.

All Performances: Pay What You Wish (a hat will be passed at the end of the shows)

Tara Khozein •

Action at a Distance is made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, Network of Ensemble Theatres and New Mexico Arts.