by Frank Boyd
There are many good reasons to see 600 Highwaymen’s Employee of the Year. In fact, all of the usual good reasons are accounted for. Beautiful performances and writing. Light, set and sound design. The vibe. The event. Everything is in order. 5 stars out of 5 for real.
But I just couldn’t get over the fact that they are here. The performers. Five eleven-year-old girls. Rachel, Stella, Alice, Violet and Candela. I knew going in that the show was performed by young girls but when they appeared I had an instant lump in my throat and it never went away. I realized I always take for granted that the performers of the show I’m seeing are there. Of course they are. They’re actors or dancers and they’re here because they’re in the damn show where else would they be and I wish they would move it along so I can decide if I like this or not.
Employee of the Year was totally different. I was completely invested in the story the they were telling but I...
by Parker Matias
The words “let go,” sends five girls, ages nine and ten, into a surreal routine. What must be meticulously choreographed, seems somehow loose and reminiscent. One girl dances as if completely alone, twirling and waving her arms gracefully. The others run back and forth across the tiny stage, arms locked, unified as one. They trade giggles and grins as they jostle up and down. This scene is beautiful.
Besides the laughter, the only sounds are the slapping of bare feet on the stage floor, like rain on thick windowpane. Rows of tulips, or the gentle sway of a willow branch in the wind. A robin crossing my vision, alighting and settling. The acting is pure: intentionally unintentional. At its best, Employee of the Year achieves the delicate beauty of nature itself.
The breathless monologues of loss and discovery, tragedy and introspection, capitalized by thick silence, are gripped with tension. The story builds in familial complexity only to evaporate in an...
by Jordan Moeller
The most formative experiences of our lives are often traumatic. They can occur in the most mundane of settings, highlighting and imprinting fragments of our surroundings that would otherwise slip through the cracks of memory. These facets, these wildly unimportant details, color our memory of traumatic events like distinctive and definite pockmarks.
Such is the style of the storytelling operating in 600 Highwaymen’s Employee of the Year. It is a story of a woman and her relationship to the fleeting nature of truth and time. Fitting, then, that the story is told by five very young women who make up for what they lack in age with eloquent and profound honesty.
The players move and speak with unquestionable artistic competency. They race across the stage and strike abstract poses with precision and gusto, while projecting and articulating their extensive text like true thespians. But there is an undeniable joy that bubbles just underneath the professional...
by Tommer Peterson
I had the opportunity to participate in the workshop production of The Fever during 600 HIGHWAYMEN’s residency at On the Boards over the past three weeks. This is a new work-in-progress, so it is enough to say that it is about the bonds of human communities, and the way they respond to the unknown, the outsiders, those not part of the group. Pack animals by nature, there is an inherent tension between our imperative to come together and nurture the collective, and the presence of a stranger in our midst.
Every time we circle up and put our arms around one another in love and comradeship, we also close ranks and turn our backs on others.
We are in a time where divisiveness and polarization are increasingly the social norm, and the intellectual capacity to love and respect another, but hold different...
600 HIGHWAYMEN co-director Michael Silverstone talks with OtB Communications Director Erin Jorgensen on theater, ways of viewing theater, and the making of Employee of the Year.
EJ: Um - so - I wanted to talk a little bit about - I know you guys started, I mean you both studied theater, obviously -
EJ: - but then you worked in a prison, and worked in churches and worked in non-traditional theater spaces. And I was wondering, since now you guys have had some success in the theater circuit if you could talk a little bit about pros and cons, like what it's like working in those spaces versus the theater circuit? For you guys AND for audiences. Just like a general...
Culturebot's Jennie MaryTai Liu talks art, life, toast, inspiration, and Kelly Clarkson with Abigail Browde and Michael Silverstone from 600 HIGHWAYMEN:
Jennie MaryTai Liu: What inspires you generally? What sparks your imagination? Fantasies, images, other art pieces, performances, songs, people, and sense of needing or wanting to do something?
Michael Silverstone : I have a lot of those. I used to be inspired by a kind of frustration. About five or six years go, I was very frustrated and that really inspired me to do something different. I was really frustrated with what I was doing and seeing. I didn’t know it would transform into inspiration because it felt really awful, but I was really upset with how I was positioned in creativity. And specifically that had to do working on plays, where I was actually more of a...