I ran into Dead White Zombies' director/writer/overlord Thomas Riccio a few weeks back while in line at Lakewood Theater. We were waiting to watch a human suspension, but that isn't why Riccio was excited. Fresh off an educational/spiritual excursion to India, he was vibrating with creative energy. Somewhere en route between East and West he'd finalized the idea for his next production, and it's taking him (and us) into an abandoned crack house.
The group he reps, Dead White Zombies, is a performance art/theater/installation ensemble, known to inhabit unconventional spaces, then redesign them to fill their theatrical needs. Riccio said his newest show, T.N.B., would take place in an old home of nefarious connection. He already had his eyes on one Singleton Blvd. address that was in especially rough shape -- he smiled when he mentioned the human feces still marinating in certain rooms. Hazmat would need to come through, he explained, before it would be deemed Safe For Art.
That property didn't stick. There were electrical issues. The walls had been ransacked for copper. Soon he located another West Dallas "drug-stash" and has now christened it the site of his new show, T.N.B. According to this afternoon's press release, previews begin the last weekend of May and are limited to audiences of 15. Those small groups will venture through the ancient residence together.
The plot is loose and odd (in typical D.W.Z. fashion), and is described as "a world premiere site-specific performance installation inspired by indigenous healing rituals that works to exorcise the demons that haunt the African-American male."
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The show also features an "identical" twin brother, played by white guy, Ochre House actor/puppeteer, Justin Locklear.
Riccio also mentioned his hopes of using the home's old kitchen to prepare food during the show, which nobody in their right mind will dare consume. Here's the entire press release:
1 June to June 22, 2013 PREVIEWS Thursday & Friday 30 & 31 May 2013 OPENS Saturday 1 June 2013 8 PM RUN Thursday through Saturday Thursdays 8:04 PM Fridays 8:04 and 9:38 PM Saturdays 8:04 and 9:38 PM Performance Location 319 Poe Street Dallas, TX 25212
Tickets General Admission $15 Order Online www.deadwhitezombies.com
Further Info: www.deadwhitezombies.com Thomas Riccio 469.569.0970 firstname.lastname@example.org Lori McCarty 214.458.7911 email@example.com T.N.B. is a world premiere site-specific performance installation inspired by indigenous healing rituals that works to exorcise the demons that haunt the African-American male. Written and directed by Thomas Riccio Spooky, played by David Jeremiah, returns home after a botched home invasion to find his house inhabited, by ghosts both real and imagined. Laying in wait is Roosevelt Jones, played by Justin Locklear, who is Spooky's "identical" twin brother. Roosevelt is also a white "cracker" who variously supports, mocks, and challenges Spooky to consider his life, his performance of blackness and selfdestruction.
Also inhabiting the Spooky house is Charleene, played by Rhianna Mack, as the helping spirit of the African-American woman. She, like Spooky, is caught in a web of inheritances and is variously exploited, abused, and idealized. She and Spooky need to kill a part of themselves in order to heal.
Mama, played by Becki McDonald, inhabits the kitchen, and is always steady and supportive as she pushes Spooky to face his demons. The trans-historical figure of Storm Crow, played by well-known slam artist Jonathan "GNO" White, has been wandering America for 500 years and moves Spooky to his transcendence. T.N.B. places its audiences inside a former west Dallas drug stash house and each performance will be limited to 20 audience members who will inhabit the house, able to move and follow the "healing in the hood" unfold. The house is a metaphoric environ for that in which we all inhabit. Urban America.
Site-specific performance installations are an innovative and experiential interdisciplinary hybrid that weaves performance, theatre, visual, sound, and media expressions. The house for this performance is located in the transforming West Dallas arts district, which, like the performance, is shedding its inheritances, healing and becoming something new.
T.N.B. was conceived, written, and directed by Thomas Riccio, an award winning playwright, director, and scholar of indigenous and ritual performance. The design team includes Scot Gresham-Lancaster (sound), Dale Seeds (settings), Mona Kasra (video), and Annell Brodeur (costumes). Lori McCarty, producer and Michael Cleveland, production manager.
Dead White Zombies Is a Dallas-based post disciplinary performance and media group that places an emphasis on new, experimental, and collectively created work that defies categories and conventions. We simply do things the way we want to do it, where, and how because we don't know what else to do.