Peninsular Place

The Magazine

August 27, 2012

The New Theater Project

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Written by: Jasmine Zweifler
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The New Theatre Project is one of the freshest and most singular additions to the Ypsilanti arts and culture scene. They’ve been growing little by little ever since their inception in 2010: they’ve found a home tucked away in MIX in downtown Ypsi, pushed boundaries and refused to bow to the status quo. At the New Theatre Project they proudly “reject the notion that the audience is a passive spectator.” I can attest to this fact – the space in the MIX studio theatre is “intimate” to say the least, and it leaves the audience nowhere to hide from the performance.

The raw drive and talent has always been there at The New Theatre Project, but it hasn’t always been a walk in the park. Financial roadblocks curbed their enthusiasm last season, but, after some serious hustling and a successful Indiegogo campaign, their third season has been christened “Reinvention.” And it will demand that previously jaded and complacent theatre goers sit up and take notice. They will not be ignored.

Lead by creative director Keith Paul Medelis, TNTP is slated to deliver four productions this season: “reinventions of two century-old plays, a complete reworking of one its most successful collaborations and a world premiere drama that takes coming of age reinvention as its theme,” according to the press release. Perhaps to brand Medelis the “leader” is a misnomer – the New    Theatre Project emphasizes collaboration and non-hierarchical creativity, placing the actors, creators, directors and audience on equal footing. This principle is at the forefront of the first piece this season “Woyzeck,” an interactive “theatrical haunted house” that opens (appropriately) this October. The theme of “Wozyeck” is an incomplete play, and each night’s audience will decide how best to complete that night’s show.

“Wozyeck” will be followed in December by “Wolf Cry Wolf,” which tackles the issue of what happens when a secret is kept or shared, of “the lies we tell ourselves to survive our shadows.” This is an entirely new production that will premiere at TNTP.

But The New Theatre Project also delights in surprising reimagining. Their production of “Edward II” is sure to be one of the most provocative they’ve done. The centuries old Marlowe play of banishment and homosexuality gets a thoroughly modern and erotic revamp, and the disclaimer “contains mature content” is sure to get my butt in a seat this winter! The season will be closed in March by a reworked version of last year’s stellar “American Crowbar Case,” a steampunk fable created by/starring local band Match by Match.

The New Theatre Project will also unveil a vibrant “basement series”: a calendar of readings and workshops of original work that serves as a valuable incubator for future New Theatre productions. The “basement series” is free and showcases works in progress. This year it will feature the first in its “educational new works series.” TNTP’s door and mind is open to nearly anyone with a desire to create works for the stage and is breathing fierce new life into the local theater scene. Even their website has been reinvented. Check it out at

About the Author

Jasmine Zweifler

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