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Arts & Culture

The Aesthetic of Waste Meets AtticRep For 'A Burden of Possibility'

Photo: ESSENTIALS210, License: N/A


Libby Mattingsley as the female lead in White

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Director Rick Frederick with props

She tilts her head, then squints her eyes softly and continues.

“There’s a burden that comes with possibility ... with the ability to do more you also feel like ‘how do I fit into it?’ ‘How do I make my path significant and important?’”

“We are hitting on some sound universal ideas but we are doing it in a very opulent, expressive—sometimes goofy way,” she says.

Mattingsley’s choice of the word ‘opulent’ serves as a reminder of AtticRep’s unrivaled reputation for actualizing a visually arresting theatrical experience that many may describe as nothing short of a moving painting. Last season’s Smudge is a sound example of that.

“We get our attention to detail from working with visual artists,” says Frederick who never really stops in his tracks long enough to sit down. Instead, he chimes in occasionally. “We’ve collaborated with [visual artists] over the past couple of years because they challenge the way we think about theater.”

In the show, Mattinglsey is joined by fellow guest artists Guy Hundere, Hills Snyder, visual artist/actor Jeremiah Teutsch and singer/songwriter Rachel Ziegler.

Devoted patrons and Waste fans alike may wonder if AtticRep’s visual prowess can be woven into the fabric of this young troupe’s decidedly “aggressive” and sometimes “violent” theater.

“I’m not sure we had an expectation about what this would be,” says Frederick who admits his biggest challenge was to “stay in the process.”

When Prestigiacomo returned from Europe, he caught an early run-through. Frederick describes his response with an amusingly dead-on impression: “Oh, there’s a lot of nice things in there but where’s The Aesthetic of Waste? Make sure you don’t lose The Aesthetic of Waste.”

“It’s like taking what you do to another level,” says Frederick in response to the concern of losing the spontaneity of the troupe’s original formula.

“Do you think you’ll lose the fans who like it raw?” I ask Bishop.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a watered-down version of The Aesthetic of Waste,” she replies. “We’re not losing anything, we are growing.”

“Does Frederick understand what you guys are?” I ask. Judson Rose snaps his head towards Frederick. Then, a pause follows.

“There was definitely a learning curve for all of us,” Larson begins. “Like we would all bash on certain things ... there were things that we didn’t want to give up ... we weren’t communicating it well. But once our language—our vocabulary—met together...”

Putting on hold a discussion concerning an onstage guillotine, Frederick rejoins our conversation.

“My biggest concern is that we would have a peer difference,” he says. “[That] there would be authoritative issues ... and I don’t operate that way. It seemed we could meet each other as peers rather than deal with a generational gap.”

Frederick explains how, when they would run into a situation where they would each have the same name for two different ideas, he would patiently ask the younger set to “define” the thing in question.

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