The pandemic might have stopped many other theaters across the county from producing work during the pandemic, but Ohio University's Tantrum Theater persevered and continues to produce work with a collective of creative artists.
“The nimbleness and creativity that already existed at Tantrum Theater—the same qualities that are foundational to theater and the arts more broadly—have allowed us to create a unusual season that truly celebrates highly collaborative works created by talented and creative problem-solving theater artists from all areas in the industry and across the globe,” says Joshua Coy, Tantrum Theater’s producing director.
Tantrum Theater was founded in fall 2015 by OHIO’s College of Fine Arts. A professional company that serves as a training ground for students in the School of Theater, Tantrum’s mission is to produce professional work and serve as a training conservatory in a partnership with OHIO’s College of Fine Arts. The name Tantrum Theater emerged from Ohio University graduate students who learned a collective name for a group of bobcats is a Tantrum, neatly reflecting OHIO’s mascot.
Within one week’s time artists at Tantrum Theater and OHIO’s Playwriting program translated, cast and performed a free stage reading on Facebook Live of Belarussian playwright Andrei Kureichik’s brand new play, Insulted.Belarus(sia). The work tells the story of the first month of the Belarusian revolution, its ups and downs on the eve of the inevitable democratization of the country after 26 years of dictatorship. Kureichik’s, who remains in hiding due to that country government’s shut down of theaters in Belarus and the continued protests by the public in opposition to the country’s recent election outcomes which named Alexander Lukashenko as its continued ruler.
“Tantrum's mission to offer culturally diverse programming that creates opportunities for intercultural exchange made this effort to assist a Belarusian playwright in the worldwide staging of his protest work an obvious programmatic choice we could get behind,” says Coy. “The comradery of taking a leap of faith for the greater good, the excitement of a tight deadline under difficult conditions, and the willingness of a team of artists to give their time and energies to an issue of basic human rights all made this project feel a little bit like being back on the stage, which was a lovely moment to share in."
Tantrum Theater also has collaborated with The NestTheatre, based in Columbus and co-founded by alumna Tara DeFrancisco, BSC, CERT ’98 and Passion Works Studio, an art studio in Athens, to conduct a six-week applied improvisation workshop with School of Theater students studying performance that will culminate in a free performance on Facebook Live on October 21. This project is funded in part by a grant from the Ohio Arts Council.
“This is a unique opportunity for our students to observe master teachers at work,” says Rebecca VerNooy, Tantrum Theater’s education director and associate professor of instruction at OHIO’s School of Theater. “They are there to support the Passion Works artists in their process of learning fundamental skills of improvisation and communication.”
Tantrum Theater’s fall season will reach its apex with the production of a new play by playwright Daria Miyeko Marinelli This Is Not What I Expected When I Imagined a Republic, directed by ameenah kaplan. A historical triptych following the development of our nation from courageous nomads to cash-strapped IKEA millennials, This Is Not What I Expected When I Imagined a Republic is part dance-theatre, part card game, and part good old kitchen drama. The play challenges the Usonian mythologies of what it means to be a republic(an), how that's changed over time, and what you should do when you discover your supposedly future life partner has just voted Republican. And you are not “a Republican.”
A work made for the virtual realm, This Is Not What I Expected When I Imagined a Republic begins streaming November 13 on tantrumtheater.org. Tickets go on sale soon. Support for Tantrum Theater’s production of This Is Not What I Expected When I Imagined a Republic comes from the Ohio Arts Council.
“Tantrum Theater’s mission is focused on creating new work and promoting intercultural exchange,” says the theater’s Artistic Director Michael Lincoln. “We were extremely lucky when School of Theater alumna Emily Penick recommended professional director ameenah kaplan. Throughout the last ten months, ameenah has pivoted with us through every twist and turn in producing during the pandemic. Ultimately, ameenah found the perfect new play to fit these times.”
Visit tantrumtheater.org and follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for updates on the free show on October 21 via Facebook Live and to purchase tickets to its virtual mainstage show.
For questions about Tantrum Theater, contact Joshua Coy, firstname.lastname@example.org.