“This is an expansion of the theatrical experience into much more than a single night in the theater,” says Chip Walton, Curious Theatre’s producing artistic director. “The aim is to foster a deeper connection to playwrights, to artists, to characters, and to their stories.” – 5280, March 2016
“We’re in the midst of a pretty exciting and groundbreaking programming initiative called Serial Storytelling. This is our effort to explore in the world of live theater what we’re all experiencing in television — our own equivalent of series like American Crime and Breaking Bad, featuring some of the most exciting playwrights in American theater. Our next cycle of plays is the Elliot Plays, by Quiara Alegria Hudes, starting in March, and we’ll be the first theater anywhere in the world to produce all three plays!” – Chip Walton, Westword February 2016
What is Serial Storytelling?
Serial Storytelling is three plays that are written by the same playwright and share a similar thread, character/s, or theme that connects them in some way. Seeing all three of the plays allows the audience to fully engage with the playwright on that theme, but each play is separate and distinct. Unlike a movie trilogy, there are no cliffhangers. Rather, Serial Storytelling allows a broader canvas and allows a playwright to more fully explore their work.
What are the benefits of Serial Storytelling?
From an audience perspective, Serial Storytelling allows you to go deeper into a theme or character than you can with one play. Through each linked play, you learn something you might not have seeing only one show that perhaps frames a conversation or question in a different way for you.
Curious sees the benefits go further. We are able to commit to playwrights and artists for three plays, strengthening our relationships with them and helping solidify their work.
How has Serial Storytelling worked so far?
Curious has just completed our first series- The Brother/Sister Plays by Tarell Alvin McCraney. In 2016, we begin our latest venture, The Elliot Plays by Quiara Alegría Hudes. Audiences will notice that the two cycles are vastly different in their tone and style as well as how much connection there is between the plays. We felt it was important for our audiences to fully experience Serial Storytelling two different ways before we either embrace or move on from the idea. By selecting two different types of series, we hope to show the breadth and depth this type of work can have and then engage in a discussion on the merits of Serial Storytelling.
Why is Curious Theatre Company trying Serial Storytelling?
Curious is committed to artistic excellence in a variety of forms. Serial Storytelling is just not something other theatres have tried yet. Always the trailblazer, Curious jumped at the chance to explore how this type of theatre would work. We love the idea of committing to artists (both playwrights and actors/designers) for three shows across multiple seasons. We hope you as audience members will come along for the ride and share your thoughts.