600 HIGHWAYMEN (moniker for artists Abigail Browde & Michael Silverstone) constructs expansive performances that illuminate the inherent poignancy and theatricality of people together — exploring a radical approach to making live art, and constructing events that create intimacy among strangers. Developed using creative methods ranging from the mainstream to the peculiar, their work is a rigorously tuned investigation of presence and humanity — not only in performance, but in process and aftermath.
A THOUSAND WAYS
Created by 600 HIGHWAYMEN
Executive Producer: Thomas O. Kriegsmann / ArKtype
Project Design/Dramaturg: Andrew Kircher
Line Producer: Cynthia J. Tong
“Takes a simple premise and turns it into magic.” – The New Yorker
“The piece passes many crucial tests: It’s something you’d want to do even when not in the midst of a pandemic. It sates a desire neglected during this time, which is to meet new people. Most importantly, it represents truly adventurous, assumption-busting thinking about what theater is and what it can be.” – SF Chronicle
World Premiere PART TWO: AN ENCOUNTER – Festival Theaterformen in Germany, July 2-12, 2020
World Premiere PART ONE: A PHONE CALL – On The Boards, Seattle, WA, September 2020
A piece that reimagines and reconnects live-ness, built for right now. In a time when we’re accustomed to division, when isolation is required, A THOUSAND WAYS the latest theater project by Obie Award winning 600 HIGHWAYMEN, offers a chance to experience new ways of coming together. This quietly radical experiment is a three part journey that takes place over several months, with each distinct installment presenting a new chance at making simple contact with a stranger. This is a path toward finding our way again. Something will be broken. Something will be built.
600 HIGHWAYMEN provides the instructions, the map, the recipe. All we need is you.
PART ONE: A PHONE CALL
Using a carefully crafted set of directives relayed over a simple phone call, two strangers take a journey together over the course of an hour.
PART TWO: AN ENCOUNTER
Two strangers meet on opposite ends of a table, separated by a pane of glass. Using a script and a few simple objects, a simple exercise of working together
becomes an experience of connection.
PART THREE: AN ASSEMBLY
A public convening made up of every stranger from the project’s journey. Together we follow a shared score.
This production was commissioned by The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi, Stanford Live at Stanford University, and Festival Theaterformen, and was originally commissioned and co-conceived by Temple Contemporary at Temple University, USA. Original support for the production was provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, Philadelphia.
PART ONE: A PHONE CALL was developed in partnership with On the Boards production and technical teams.
The German language premiere of PART ONE: A PHONE CALL was developed, translated and premiered in partnership with Volkstheater, Austria.
Stage: Various / Site Specific
Traveling Personnel: 4
Running time: 60 min per Act
Created by 600 HIGHWAYMEN
In conversation with and performed by Nur Aisyah, Nasra Ali, Raiza Almonte, Dimyana Angelo, Amanda Barsi, Augustin Bonane, Jeanvier Nkurunziza, and Diaaeddin Zabadani
Original Music & Sound design by Michael Costagliola
Production Design by Eric Southern & Deb O
World Premiere: October 2019
A complex portrait of 8 young Americans and their audience, who, together, explore the distance between all of us — the assumed and the real; the past and the present — and the possibilities that come about from sharing a space. Performed by eight teenagers from all over the world (DR Congo, Egypt, Malaysia, Somalia, Syria, Tanzania, and the United States) who each bring to the stage a unique story and path to this country, MANMADE EARTH digs deep into questions of belonging; who we’ll support, the ways in which we can support, and the nature of performance and spectatorship itself.
Built over a year of conversation with the ensemble, with text by Silverstone and Browde. Produced in partnership with Torn Space Theater in Buffalo, NY. World premiere at The Invisible Dog Arts Center in 2019.
Stage: Blackbox Format
Traveling Personnel: 14
Running time: 80 minutes
The Fever (premiere 2017)
The Fever tests the limits of individual and collective responsibility, and our willingness to be there for one another. Performed in complete collaboration with the audience, The Fever examines how we assemble, organize and care for the bodies around us. Who will you be when our eyes are on you? What will we see when we all look your way?
Traveling Personnel: 7
Running time: 70 minutes
Performance space: 40′ x 27′ min.
45 strangers come together for 61 minutes to show us who they are, and who they could be. Part theater, part dance, part group hallucination – vivid human assembly on an epic scale. The subject is us; the time is now.
Created in phases of collaboration with local cast and presenter.
Traveling Personnel: 7
Running time: 60 minutes
Employee of the Year
Five young girls perform one woman’s journey, from beginning to end. Intimate and arresting, Employee of the Year asks what it is to discover your own path and find your own way in life. With original songs by Obie Award-winner David Cale.
Traveling Personnel: 11
Running time: 75 minutes
A Thousand Ways
Part One: A Phone Call
Part Two: An Encounter
Part Three: An Assembly
Mar 3–12 [On the Boards](https://www.ontheboards.org/performances/a-thousand-ways-part-two-600-highwaymen), Seattle, WA (Part Three: An Assembly)
Mar 8–Apr 24 | [A2SF / UMMA](https://a2sf.org/events/a-thousand-ways-part-two-an-encounter/), Ann Arbor, MI (Part Two: An Encounter)
Mar 12–13 | [Stanford Live](https://live.stanford.edu/calendar/january-2021/600-highwaymen-thousand-ways), Stanford, CA (Part Three: An Assembly)
June 3-5 | [Carolina Performing Arts](https://carolinaperformingarts.org/events/a-thousand-ways-part-three-an-assembly/s), Chapel Hill, CA (Part Three: An Assembly)