From audio dramas to short films, and plays written for post-pandemic production, a repertory company of over 90 artists were hired to create 20 projects in a six-week period in October and November of 2020
Produced by ShutterSky Pictures, 2020
For six weeks during October and November 2020 (building upon the collaborative process established in June 2020’s Mercury Company I), Artists Repertory Theatre hired nearly 90 writers, directors, educators, actors, technicians, designers, and producers (including several ART staff) to create theatre-inspired work that moves beyond the traditional form in response to public assembly restrictions. Individuals were involved in a multitude of projects, forming a repertory company dubbed ART: Mercury II.
COVID has been a transformative experience creating unprecedented uncertainty. In the inaugural Mercury Company, ART found a model to employ with confidence as the pandemic timeline continues to shift. Individual donors, along with State of Oregon distributed COVID relief grants, funded the additional round of creative work that took place during the six-week intensive process (20 projects were worked on by nearly 90 artists). A series of audio dramas and experimental short films will be released to audiences in the winter, spring, and summer of 2021. ART is planning its next Mercury Company development process which will occur in the spring of 2021.
“We are not paused and waiting for a return to pre-pandemic normal. Instead, we are fully immersed in a period of transition and transformation. We are using the time to re-imagine the way we work. At the forefront of it all is dismantling biased systems that have held theatres back from achieving the diverse, welcoming, accessible, and equitable spaces to which we aspire.”
ART Artistic Director, Dámaso Rodríguez
“For Mercury II, we solicited pitches from our community of artists, which resulted in an exceptional mix of projects that ranged from early drafts to be heard for the first time, to well-developed projects ready to be recorded. This structure, in which Mercury Company was shaped by the artists involved, yielded an eclectic group of twenty new works that are thrillingly diverse. The large number of BIPOC-driven projects, which range from the newly devised short film, See Me, to the deeply personal storytelling in Flower Joy, to the outrageous comedy of The Carlalogues, reflect a promising moment of change, which ART is wholeheartedly embracing .”
Luan Schooler, Director of New Works
“The ART: Mercury Company name was initially inspired by the legendary 1930s The Mercury Theater of the Air. The Mercury Theater (founded by Orson Welles and John Houseman) was funded during the Great Depression in part through the Federal Theatre Project and WPA (Works Progress Administration) and created ambitious plays and radio dramas like The War of the Worlds (1938). We began this program by using PPP (Payroll Protection Program) funding and have since inspired new support to ensure we continue to explore different mediums and create new ways of working.”
Managing Director, J.S. May
ART: Mercury Company II Projects
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