Action/Adventure Theatre strives to create and craft original material specifically for a younger generation: theater for young people by young people.
Their latest production, Tomorrow!, the third in an unofficial trilogy, opened last weekend.
”All of the plays explore the idea of what it means to be young and alive at this point in history,” says Ashley Hollingshead, director of Tomorrow! and associate artist with Action/Adventure.
Tomorrow! was preceded by 2011’s The Peter Pan Project, which explored growing up and imagination, and last year’s Something Epic/Everyday, which looked at how the generation of late 20-somethings in Portland is redefining the idea of the American dream.
With Tomorrow!, the future is at the forefront.
“[Tomorrow! is] about how our generation views what tomorrow, the future, might be. What are we scared tomorrow will be like? What are we hopeful tomorrow will be like? And what do we want to do about it?” says Noah Dunham, a cast member in the show and company member at Action/Adventure.
Tomorrow! deals with both the greater concept of the future as well as the immediate. “Both personal and on a larger social scale,” says Hollingshead.
Traditionally, theaters look to outside sources — from the Greeks and Shakespeare to any contemporary playwright — for material to be performed each season. Not so with Action/Adventure.
“We have one show this season that is already a scripted play that’s been produced before,” says Dunham. “Every other show that we are producing and helping out with this year is a brand-new show that we’ve created ourselves.
Hollingshead and the cast created the script for Tomorrow! throughout the rehearsal process.
“I start with a group of performers and some themes, and we use those themes to create a show,” says Hollingshead. This collaborative process of creating a script, called “devising,” is a growing trend in theater.
Tomorrow! strays from a more traditional narrative, using a mash-up of genres and styles — original and popular music, poetry and prose, monologue and dialogue, dance and movement, and literature and pop culture — to tell the story.
“How are you supposed to get one artistic performance out of that?” asks Dunham. “For some reason, the way that we work, it all galvanizes together.”
The amalgamation of styles makes for a bold, engaging and unique experience that Action/Adventure hopes will leave audiences wanting more.
“I want Tomorrow! to inspire our fan base to see more work like this,” says Dunham.