Whether a residency’s goal is to pave the way for a performance of existing work, or to seed a new community-engaged project, we are interested in meeting your community members where they are. For instance, if we were planning to perform Pang! in your community in October, Dan might visit the prior April for a week. He might volunteer a few times at soup kitchens, attend a meeting of a student group that runs the local college food closet, participate in a community potluck, or attend a city council meeting at which the school lunch program is being discussed -- all the while connecting with leaders and stakeholders whose missions would benefit from increased cross-class dialogue about local hunger and food insecurity.
We are interested in meeting your community members where they are.
During the age of COVID-19, our “virtual residencies” offer a safe, low-cost option for rich face-to-face engagement with your community members, from the comfort of their own homes. We envision a virtual residency functioning similarly to one of Dan’s advance visits, except that the whole company would be in residence, and we would attend events and meetings remotely, via Zoom, Google Hangouts, or other video conferencing platforms. Having the entire company in residence expands the breadth of our offerings, such as:
Virtual childcare activities: Asynchronous workshop offering
Self-care: creative writing, meditation, breath
Oral History Methods
All company members would be “on-call” for the residency days - in whatever your time zone is - to join events or meet-ups that arise naturally throughout this process.
Dan Froot and Company work closely with presenters to design project goals, community engagement strategies, and residency activities.
Scroll down to learn about three basic presentation formats, which can be tailored to individual venues, communities, and presenting organizations.
Five performers circulate amongst a forest of microphones, voicing dozens of characters, creating live sound effects at tables overflowing with strange objects, and playing a variety of musical instruments. Pang!'s three 30-minute episodes are performed as if the audience is inside a sound studio with a radio theater company who are performing a series of live broadcasts. Here's what it looks like.
This is the most fully produced of Pang!'s formats, with theatrical lighting by Christopher Kuhl. Cricket Myers's 32-channel sound design immerses audiences in a three-dimensional sonic world, as if they are "between the ears" of the families whose stories we are telling. By performing live "Foley" sound effects on stage, we expose the mechanics of creating that sonic world, creating a gap between what the audience sees and what they hear. Audiences fill that gap with their imaginations.
This fully mounted version of Pang! generally requires three days of tech prior to opening. We travel with five performers and two technical personnel.
Four diverse and dynamic actors read three short, funny and hard-hitting plays based on oral histories of real families from around the country living below the poverty line. They voice dozens of characters in an evening of intimate, interactive, low-tech theater.
Sharing the stage with the actors are a handful of self-selected audience members, who watch the performance while seated at a homey kitchen table. Performance morphs into community forum as the table-mates discuss their own perspectives on the plays. Their conversation is amplified for the rest of the audience to hear, and eventually join.
This elegantly simple version of Pang! can be performed just about anywhere: in theaters, schools, food banks, etc. Technically, it's a cinch, requiring no theatrical lighting, little to no sound support, and very little setup or rehearsal time. Thus it is the most affordable, informal and adaptable version of Pang!
Make Your Own Episode of "Pang!"
Presenters can commission or co-commission Dan Froot and Company to create one or more new 30-minute episodes of Pang!, based on oral histories from their own communities. Those new episodes can be combined with one or two existing episodes to create a diversified evening-length program.
The process of creating an episode of Pang! typically takes 18-24 months. During that period, we conduct a number of short intensive residencies, offering workshops for local artists in Oral History methodology, developing partnerships with social service organizations, conducting 12 1-hour interviews with each participating individual or family. Then we adapt elements of each oral history into theatrical form (in consultation with the community participants), rehearse and perform the final work. It's an intensive, deep and longterm form of community engagement.
Aside from the performance itself, other products from each episode include a bound book-length oral history, and an audio podcast episode created from recordings of live performances.
The Kitchen Table
Every presentation of Pang! includes an intimate conversation among audience members, facilitated by residents of the local community and, when possible, individuals whose stories are being portrayed.
Immediately after the show, six audience members sit together at a table between the seats and the stage. Dan Froot and Company are not at the table. The facilitator provides prompts to get the conversation going. In what ways did you feel invited into or kept out of these stories? In what ways does your own story intersect or diverge from these stories? Once the conversation gets going, anyone can leave the kitchen table, and anyone can replace them.
The Kitchen Table format is based on The Long Table from Lois Weaver's Public Address Systems, which she developed from decades of work as a founding member of the pioneering theater company, Split Britches. It is a highly effective mode of fostering cross-class dialogue around issues experienced by Pang!'s participating families.