Wexner Center Residency Award project
The Builders Association
HOUSE / DIVIDED
inspired by The Grapes of Wrath
Thursday-Saturday, October 6–8, 2011 at 8 PM
Thurber Theater at Drake Center/Ohio State
General public $18
Wexner Center members $15
“The Bank – or the Company – needs – wants – insists – must have – as though the Bank or the Company were a monster, with thought and feeling… But the monster is sick. Something’s happened to the monster.”—John Steinbeck from The Grapes of Wrath
The Builders Association’s multimedia theater production, HOUSE / DIVIDED, co-commissioned by the Wexner Center, is an incisive and insightful examination of the impact of the current mortgage crisis juxtaposed with passages drawn from John Steinbeck’s classic Depression-era novel The Grapes of Wrath.
Onstage, the Builders will interweave the Joads’s struggles as they make their way west from the Dust Bowl with stories from our contemporary foreclosure crisis unfolding in an accelerated, media-saturated era. These stories of today will focus on houses themselves, serving as a lens to view their various inhabitants, evictees, and squatters. The Builders will also explore the global financial webs surrounding American houses, networks that provided easy credit, created debt, speculated on and then sold that debt—triggering a runaway downward spiral of national economic and social collapse.
Throughout HOUSE / DIVIDED*, the Builders will employ their trademark digital media and video to create an assemblage of images and scenes illuminating how foreclosure has deeply affected America’s character and undermined our collective sense of identity.
The Builders Association is also incorporating a smartphone application featuring augmented reality into the show, which the audience can access during the performances, and which will expand audience members’ experience of the show’s digitally enhanced stage effects.
Ohio and Columbus have been particularly hard-hit by the last few years’ drastic economic downturn fueled by unethical mortgage practices and widespread financial malfeasance. One zip code in Columbushas the highest foreclosure rate in all of the U.S. The Builders will draw upon our local situation to inform the evolving shape of HOUSE / DIVIDED, most notably for the set design concept. As part of their extensive creative residency process at Ohio State, the Builders have dismantled and repurposed sections from arson houses and abandoned properties deemed beyond rehabilitation from near the university to re-create this house onstage. The “set” will be not a simulacrum of a place, but an artifact—evidence. The sliced-apart house onstage will be one of Columbus’s own.
This is but one of the many outgrowths of the interactions and research input from a wide variety of academic departments at Ohio State—from business to architecture to history—during the course of the series of creative residencies here over the past year. The Wex received one of six major Creative Campus Innovations grants to support this project (from a field of 140 college and university applicants), awarded to campus performing arts organizations that are forging new connections with students, faculty, and leading artists in investigating the ideas and issues of our time.
The Builders Association’s HOUSE / DIVIDED is coproduced by the Wexner Center for the Arts in association with the Department of Theatre at The Ohio State University with support provided from the Association of Performing Arts Presenters Creative Campus Innovations Grant Program. Valuable research and input for its creative development at Ohio State was generously provided by students and faculty at the Department of Theatre, Knowlton School of Architecture, Fisher College of Business,College of Humanities, Department of History, Living Culture Initiative in the Department of Art, and the Department of Entomology at Ohio State’s Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wooster.
This project is made possible in part by a grant from the Association of Performing Arts Presenters Creative Campus Innovations Grant Program, funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.
Additional support provided by National Endowment for the Arts.
Creative development of HOUSE / DIVIDED is also supported through the Wexner Center Residency Award program.
HOUSE / DIVIDED was made possible with funding by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Theater Pilot, with lead funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
The Builders Association has received additional support for HOUSE / DIVIDED from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Emma A. Sheafer Charitable Trust, Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Brooklyn Academy of Music, The MAP Fund, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and the New York State Council on the Arts. Additional residency support was provided by the Baryshnikov Arts Center and The Performing Garage.
The Grapes of Wrath (c)1939 by John Steinbeck
Copyright renewed, John Steinbeck 1967
* Previously titled ROAD TRIP