Wild tales 

Oklahoma City Repertory Theater is giving voice to an original collaborative project for four performances this month at Oklahoma Contemporary.

click to enlarge James & Jerome - MARCUS MIDDLETON & THEO COTE
  • Marcus Middleton & Theo Cote
  • James & Jerome

Oklahoma City Repertory Theater (OKCRep) continues its spring reboot season with Piano Tales.

Following the success of their first new work of the season, An Evening with an Immigrant, Artistic Director Kelly Kerwin and company present another original work for Oklahoma City audiences.

Piano Tales is a devised piece of theatre, meaning there is no set script or choreography. The show is created via a collaborative process, and ideas are given space to breathe and develop into more intricate concepts. Devised works are created, not written. What results is a more natural, realistic, and relatable experience than the traditional play. This piece will give audiences a chance to be a part of the creation of a show, and watch it unfold as the night progresses. Devised works are fairly new to Oklahoma City, but they’re being incorporated more and working alongside traditional theatrical experiences.

New York-based artists James Harrison Monaco and Jjjjjjerome Ellis (known professionally as James and Jerome) are bringing their de- vised-concept show to OKCRep. Piano Tales is an ongoing celebration of storytelling, music and the freedom that comes from not having a plan. James and Jerome will rely on audience participation to create a new show each night. Audience members will select objects from a trunk, then James and Jerome will build the story around those selections. This unique approach to storytelling means that the story will be told differently, and in a different order, for each performance. James and Jerome will also incorporate piano into the story, making it a truly singular experience for the audience.

Piano Tales promises humor and heart, with poignant moments and levity throughout the evening. The basic plot is in place, but it’s pared down to give space for the story to unfold organically. The immediacy offered during the show will give the audience an immersive storytelling experience. Piano Tales is more than just a play or a musical, it is concept art in motion.

As an old woman lays dying, she asks the two artists and creators to tell her some stories, as she knows her life is ending. The audience will then decide the fate of the show as their selections form the timeline of the tales. Audience members become co-creators and contributors to the formation of a new story, and the artists at the helm of the journey will experience it along with them.

Piano Tales runs for four performances only, March 31 through April 2 at the Te Ata Theater, in partnership with Oklahoma Contemporary, 11 NW 11th St.
Tickets are available at okcrep.org.

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