Sunday, February 2, 2014

Returning to Capital Fringe with Ten Principles

Ten Principles...

And not just any ten principles, but the Ten Principles of Burning Man.

That's what this year's Capital Fringe show is going to be about. And I use show in the LOOSEST of terms. The production will be ten DC area burners, each telling an autobiographical story about their experience with one of the principles. But why Burning Man? Why the Ten Principles?

Well, for those that have followed AWoL Productions' work over the years might have noticed, since the first show in 2010, each production has been somewhat autobiographical. The first year, the show was about the rave scene, a kind of theatrical PSA, paying homage to the community that helped me discover my passion for dance, to the point where I pursued it professionally. The second year, the play was about how Filipino communities and families deal with mental illness, which helped me deal with a personal family tragedy. And the third year, the production was based on my thesis in grad school, about how working performers define arts advocacy and community.

So after taking a break from productng last summer, I'm returning to the performing arts festival with a storytelling piece about Burning Man. Because last August, I went to the Playa for the first time.

That's me in front of the Man...WAY in front of the Man, from 2013's theme, Cargo Cult. And if you look real carefully, you can see the UFO with the Man on top, right above my head. And when I got back to DC, I had a lot of friends ask me what it was like, seeing if my experience matched what they'd heard or seen. And whatever experiences I shared, I would inevitably bring it back to the Ten Principles.

The trouble is, as much as people who haven't been HAVE heard about Burning Man, the Ten Principles was usually not a part of the picture. And so grew the idea and inspiration for focusing this production on just that. What's great is that this is truly going to be a production by the community, for the community.

There will be a window of time where submissions will be accepted from everyone who'd like to pitch their story to tell. Then, with the assistance of a group of burners who've taken on leadership roles in the DC area burner community, we'll select the final ten stories. And these will be ones that aren't just particularly compelling in and of themselves, but that (when combined with the other nine) will contribute to and fit in the arc of the larger piece.

So with that, I leave you with one of my favorite photos from my first time to Burning Man. Me, inside the massive UFO, looking straight up at the Man for the first time.

And this summer, I look forward to helping bring others' experiences from the Playa to Capital Fringe, to give a similar peek into the community of Burning Man,

JR aka Nexus

P.S. The Man burns in 209 days!! Ten Principles tells in 158 days!!

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