Democracy in America

democracy in america

Annie Dorsen, critically acclaimed co-creator and director of the hit rock musical on Broadway, Passing Strange, continues to break molds with her new performance event Democracy in America.

An episodic and juicy collage made from the cacophonous jumble of ideas, opinions and attitudes floating in the American ether, Democracy in America is a continually shifting 4-dimensional billboard advertising and animating the desires and dreams of the multitude. As a dynamic, interactive experiment in political performance, Democracy in America is not art about politics or ideology – instead, it is art made in a political way.

As a performance experiment, Democracy in America is continually evolving. During phase 1, the consumers were the creators. Through an online store that was open from November 26 through February 29, the public was invited to imagine and purchase the entire show – part and parcel – including the content. Any and all elements of what would be seen and experienced on stage were for sale. Shoppers submitted text, personal anecdotes, stories and jokes, physical or non-verbal actions, themes and concepts, and all elements of the design. One might’ve chosen to see a particular image or gesture, or performed a kiss, a dance, a cartwheel. Another may have chosen to buy a costume, a sound cue or a prop.

Now the shopping is over and Ms. Dorsen, together with her creative team, is tying it all together into a live art event that is sure to surprise.


Democracy in America
will be performed by three of NYC’s most celebrated downtown artists, Okwui Okpokwasili, Philippa Kaye and Anthony Torn. The creative team includes video artist Kate Howard, lighting designer Sarah Sidmon, sound designer Bart Fasbender, and dramaturg Katherine Profeta.

Do you get what you paid for? Yes, you do. This wild ride will indeed include ancient Roman texts, a fan dance to Ride of the Valkyries, a tapioca explosion, and – O.K. people, who ordered the rim job?

Check out Behind the scenes at Democracy in America
Democracy in America is a co-presentation of Performance Space 122 and The Foundry Theatre

More about Annie Dorsen
Annie Dorsen is a director, writer and dramaturg. Dorsen is director and co-creator of the Broadway hit Passing Strange; a piece she developed with musicians Stew and Heidi Rodewald, which opened at the Belasco Theater in February 2008 to rave reviews. Passing Strange has previously been seen at The Public Theater and Berkeley Repertory Theater. She is currently developing Truckstop with string quartet Ethel for BAM’s Next Wave Festival in Fall 08.

Dorsen is the recipient of several awards and fellowships, notably the Audelco Award for her direction of Passing Strange, the Sir John Gielgud Fellowship for Classical Directors from SSDC, and both the Boris Sagal and Bill Foeller Fellowships from the Williamstown Theater Festival. She is a founding member of PAF (PerformingArtsForum), an artist-run research and residency space in St. Erme, France.

Photos by Yi Zhao

Sunday, March 30 – Sunday, April 20, 2008
Tickets from $20
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