You know your event went well when your own performers are kicked out. That’s what happened when Upstart Productions staged a confrontational, pop-up theatrical work, written and directed by Christopher Eastland, in the coffee shop/screening room of FrontRow Live. The first performance, in which actor David Jeremiah played the role of a panhandler pleading to the crowd for help, went off well-enough. During his performance the room went quiet and the tension built as attendees wondered whether or not what they were seeing was real or staged. Then, after he walked through the crowd and collected money, he turned and announced his performance. You could feel the collective exhale. It was theater in its most boiled-down, essential form — the power of a single performer over a space and a crowd.
Unfortunately, the second performance of the night didn’t quite go as planned, as some staff who were not aware of the nature of the performance (in truth, none of us knew what Upstart had planned until it happened) ushered Jeremiah out of the Dallas Contemporary after some complaints about the “panhandler.” You could say that cut the performance short, but in a way, that action became part of the performance, demolishing any notion of a barrier between actor and audience, script and reality. It also ensured that FrontRow Live was not just an event.
Indeed much about FrontRow Live felt like more than an event. Thanks to everyone who came and fueled our fantastic turnout. Upstarts’ experimental theater performance was only one of the elements of the evening, which included short films, visual art, pop locking from Rhythm Knightz, and music from Richmond Punch, The Dallas Family Band, and three DJs, DJ Sober, DJ Prince William, and Play-N-Skillz. Then there was all the food, drink, and fun had by all. It was a fantastic evening, and we hope everyone had a blast. Thanks to our sponsors, Chevy (go check out that Chevy Sonic), Michelob Ultra, EventBrite, and The Dallas Contemporary, as well as all of our other participants: Brian Gibb, The Pearl Cup, and the food trucks (Cavalli Pizza, Nammi Truck, Bomb Fried Pies, Trailercakes, and Ruthie’s Rolling Cafe).
Here are some images from the evening, and here’s a short video from the event by Robbie Curtis:
UPDATE: And our sister-blog StyleSheet has posted some great images from the event here.
Photo: The Rhythm Knightz at FrontRow Live.